The BH Journalists Association said on Thursday that it was “professionally unacceptable” that top officials of Bosnia’s highest judicial institution denied to provide information about their work to journalists at a session the day before.
The information journalists sought was in public interest and denying it “represents a direct breach of social and legal norms on the transparent work” of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), the journalist association said.
The HJPC is in charge of naming judges and prosecutors and disciplining them.
“Withholding information from the media is an inadmissible demonstration of institutional and judicial power over journalists, undertaken with the intention to restrict the right to freedom of expression and impede access to public information held by the HJPC,” the association said.
It also said its board members were “left stunned by the vocabulary, qualifications and insults” which HJPC head Milan Tegeltija and deputy head Ruzica Jukic expressed “about journalists and media” on social media and in texts they wrote.
BH Journalists pointed out that journalists from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) were only the latest targets of the judicial officials, “while before them those were journalists from ‘Zurnal’ and ‘Oslobodjenje’, ‘FTV’, as well as numerous other media.”
“We will, out of decency, not repeat at this time the attributes you have used while talking to journalists directly, via Facebook and Twitter or through traditional media,” the association said, adding that such language “doesn’t have a place in serious public communication.”
It demanded that Jukic and Tegeltija remove such texts from the internet and “resolve their personal misunderstandings or professional complaints about the media through legitimate means.”