US Embassy and the OSCE Mission to Bosnia both condemned the brutal attack against BN TV’s journalist Vladimir Kovacevic, calling the attack a direct attack against democracy and society’s right to be informed.
In a tweet on their official Twitter account, the US Embassy said:
“Recent physical attacks against journalists @corbapas, @klixba, @AJBalkans, @MultimedijaBHRT are unacceptable. We strongly defend the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. When journalists are silenced, society suffers.”
Recent physical attacks against journalists @corbapas, @klixba, @AJBalkans, @MultimedijaBHRT are unacceptable. We strongly defend the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. When journalists are silenced, society suffers. #ProtectJournalists#EndImpunity
— US Embassy Sarajevo (@USEmbassySJJ) August 27, 2018
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir and Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina Bruce G. Berton strongly condemned the severe beating of journalist Vladimir Kovacevic that took place in Banjaluka, Sunday night.
“I strongly condemn the brutal assault against journalist Kovacevic. The negative rhetoric being used against the media must end, in order to prevent further such attacks against journalists. I urge the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to swiftly investigate this attack and bring its perpetrators to justice,” Desir said.
Bijeljina based BN TV journalist Vladimir Kovacevic was severely beaten, Sunday night, in the city of Banjaluka, when two men with hoods over their heads started beating Kovacevic with expandable batons. After the attack, Kovacevic was admitted to hospital where they treated his injuries.
“The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina has spoken often about the negative rhetoric and atmosphere in BiH, especially in an election year, which creates unfavourable conditions for journalists to perform their crucial function, as evidenced by this series of recent attacks,” said Berton.
They call for the authorities to ensure that journalists enjoy safe working conditions. Berton stressed that journalists must be able to do their job in an environment free of intimidation and threats, either verbal or physical.
“It is of the utmost importance that the authorities increase their efforts to ensure the safety of journalists,” Representative Désir said. “Any attack on the media is an attack on democratic values as well as citizens’ right to be informed.”
Freedom of the press and freedom of expression of opinion are the basic democratic values and it is unacceptable that media and journalists should be under any kind of pressure, threats and different forms of intimidation and prevention of work, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights said.
They added that the Serb-dominated, semi-autonomous, Republika Srpska entity and Bosnia and Herzegovina need to ensure the right to investigative work to all journalists and media in accordance with the highest international standards.
The Committee warned that the attack is just the outcome of the previous verbal attacks and humiliation against certain journalists and media outlets by the authorities, and the general humiliation of the journalistic profession as well as the unacceptable division of media outlets into “acceptable” and “unacceptable” ones.