The need for citizens to be informed is now important more than ever and journalists must be free to do their job and work for the interests of the citizens, officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina said on Saturday, congratulating World Press Freedom Day.
“At a time when the entire world is fighting the crisis which the coronavirus pandemic has caused, you have, together with doctors, police officers and other heroes shown professionalism, responsibility and fearlessness in doing your work,” said the Deputy Chairman of Bosnia’s House of Representatives, Denis Zvizdic, addressing the media.
He argued that freedom of expression and providing citizens with information is valued “more than ever before” due to the crisis and that “only free media'' can guarantee full democracy and serves as a truly corrective factor in society.
The Speaker of the National Assembly of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) region, Nedeljko Cubrilovic, praised the work the media is doing during the crisis and thanked journalists for informing citizens of the measures authorities have introduced to fight the virus and the importance of implementing them.
With this, journalists have “provided an immeasurable contribution to educating the population and to the fight for preventing the spread of the virus,” he said.
He also expressed hope that institutions will make sure to help the media survive and to save jobs.
“I hope that the media, as well as all of society, will manage to overcome this crisis and that the media in Republika Srpska will remain objective and professional in their work for the interest of the citizens,” he said.
The Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, also congratulated, saying that Bosnia has made significant progress in media freedom according to the latest report by Reporters Without Borders and that it is "the best-ranked country in the region on the media freedom index."
"This must be a motive for us to continue to build an atmosphere where free media will realise its role in society for the well-being of every citizen," he said.