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Snežana Mitrović, journalist of N1: The harsh words of politicians can encourage someone to attack journalists verbally, even physically, which is a dangerous sphere

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On December 28 last year, the President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, insulted N1 journalist Snežana Mitrović and prevented her from posing the question about expectations in 2017; he called N1 a “part of the revolution” and an “enemy television”.

N1 journalist, Snežana Mitrović, commented Dodik’s behaviour for Fairpress and this attack, another one in a series of attacks, on N1 and on the journalists of that television.

It’s hard to say anything when a public figure, the most influential one in Republika Srpska, calls a journalist an enemy and the media house I’m working for an enemy one. Since I do know that mister Dodik is one of the most well-read politicians, I would recommend him to review the teaching materials of Albert Camus. Specifically the part regarding free journalism. Out of Camus’s four postulates, I go by “perseverance”. And I would ask the same questions again, specific, current, direct. Therefore, prohibitions, insults, accusations directed at my work and the media in general are part of the profession. However, they are certainly not harmless. The harsh words of politicians can encourage someone to attack journalists verbally, even physically, which is a dangerous sphere, Mitrović told us.

Namely, Mitrović asked Dodik about whether he expects 2017 to be a year of social turmoil and tensions, this was followed by a verbal attack from Dodik who responded to the journalist the following: “Your television will ensure that it will be so. You are a

part of the revolution. You are revolutionists. Your time has passed, you will try, but you won’t succeed. The cloak you’re hiding that you’re an objective television that works for public interest, you are working for the interest of destabilisation and this nation has to know that N1 is an enemy television and that you are an enemy”.

The Association of BH Journalists condemned Dodik’s attack on the journalist emphasising in a statement that “the behaviour of the President of Republika Srpska towards the media and journalists, the violent and uncivilised addressing, the use of inappropriate speech, have long ago gone out of the scope of normal and polite communication in the public space, and deserve the harshest condemnation and legal measures taken by the competent judicial authorities of Republika Srpska”. They also emphasised that “what is particularly worrying is the fact that the most common targets of Dodik’s attacks are female journalists who have, in the last ten years, been victims of the president’s insults, harassments and intimidation 17 times, just because they are journalists”.

This is just one in a series of reactions of politicians on tricky questions that have resulted in an attack on journalists. Namely, as N1 wrote, on September 30, 2015, Dodik attacked a N1 (female) journalist who asked him whether any investigative or judicial institution called him in for a conversation about the scandal “Olegovo zlato”. Then in February last year in Serbia, he reacted violently to a question of N1 journalist Jelena Mirković about the investigation against Slobodan Pavlović. You can watch all of Dodik’s attacks on journalists in the video report prepared by N1 television.

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