Bosnia’s journalist association BH Journalists the Free Media Help Line have asked the Interior Ministry of the Sarajevo Canton, the State Police and the Prosecutor’s Office to take action to protect journalists from the news website ‘Zurnal’ after a man living in the Netherlands sent them a threatening video message to the journalists.
The video message was sent by a man named Mirza Gacanin, who threatened the journalists and their children, most of all editor Avdo Avdic. Referring to Avdic, Gacanin said “they will search for him in ditches.”
The threats came after Zurnal published a series of stories about an alleged case of money laundering and illegal drug distribution.
“BH Journalists and the Free Media Help Line consider this a serious threat to the security and lives of Zurnal journalists, most of all Avdo Avdic, the author of a series of articles after which he and all others in the newsroom of this media outlet who are engaged in investigating topics connected to crime were threatened” the association said.
Threatening and jeopardising the security of journalists are criminal acts and may not be a tool for conflict with journalists and for expressing dissatisfaction with the way they report on certain people or topics, it said.
“This is why we decisively demand from competent police bodies and prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to use their legal competencies and measures to protect the security of journalists and to ask police in the Netherlands to cooperate with them in order to sanction the person who sent the threatening video message,” BH Journalists said.
It added that it will inform international media freedom organisations of the threat and ask them to react to it so the case becomes known internationally.