Physical attacks on journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina are ongoing and are, unfortunately, nothing new. Namely, last week journalist of the Radio Television Visoko, Ismar Imamović, was beat up by a masked man after the pre-election debate show was broadcast, organised within the framework of the campaign for the local elections of 2016 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The attacker knocked the journalist to the ground and caused him head, face, neck and back injuries. The whole case was reported to the Police Station (PS) in Visoko; the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Zenica-Doboj Canton is also familiar with this case. The police is intensively searching for the perpetrator.
For Fairpress, Imamović referred on the attack itself, emphasising that physical attacks on journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not new news and that every act of arrogance and attack on a journalist is surely an attack on citizens.
I think that dealing with local journalism is a bit more complicated than journalism in “big” media houses. It’s true that the access to information is easier, but at the same time it is much harder to be impartial considering that all of the citizens as well as participants in the social and political life are in fact close people from the surrounding whom you see on a daily basis. If the line between love and hate is thin, then the line between favourite and least favourite media and journalist in small communities is also thin. The pre-election campaign period is specific in itself – brothers don’t talk to each other as well as neighbours, due to certain
views and principles; media workers are always at the centre of the event and under constant citizen “supervision”. Since the beginning of my professional engagement I have had extremely correct relations with all the actors of the political scene in Visoko and I have no doubt that any one of them is involved in this unfortunate event. The attack was condemned by all of the political subjects, OSCE representative on Freedom of the Media, numerous BiH media as well as the Board of managers of the Association “BH Journalists” and the Free Media Help Line. I don’t want to think about the motives of the attack and let the attack on me be the last bad thing that’ll happen up until the end of the pre-election campaign in Visoko, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In expressing their full solidarity with journalist Imamović, the attack was condemned by the Board of Managers of the Association of BH Journalists and the Free Media Help Line, which demanded of the competent police authorities an urgent investigation regarding this case as well as public disclosure of the motive of the attack and the name of the person who endangered the life of the journalist and brought into question his right to perform journalistic tasks freely and with dignity. They also called upon the Central Election Commission of BiH and the Communications Regulatory Agency to take effective action regarding this case, to protect the journalist himself, but also RTV Visoko. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, also reacted on this event; she condemned the attack stressing that violence against journalists is unacceptable and mustn’t be tolerated. In July this year Mijatović already warned that the constant intimation and violence against journalists in BiH is unacceptable and that it could further weaken media freedoms and freedom of expression in Bosnia and Herzegovina.