Bosnia's association of journalists 'BH Novinari' asked the City Council of Mostar to allow media representatives follow the Council session and vote for the Mostar Mayor directly at the location and not virtually, stressing that this event is of exceptional importance not only for Mostar citizens but for the whole country.
“Election of the Mostar Mayor is of exceptional importance for all citizens of Mostar and entire BiH. Excluding the public and media from that process is a harsh attack on the freedom of expression and the right of citizens to be informed through media about the voting process, political harmonisation and responsible behaviour of councillors whom they voted in the recent election,” the association said, adding that the media should be allowed access in line with international standards of media freedom.
The association's steering board finds it unacceptable to have “political and institutional censorship” being imposed on media in Mostar, which is explained as “a lack of the room for media crews at the City Council of Mostar because of the scheduled wedding ceremony.”
“Inappropriate and arrogant behaviour of the current City Administration staff and newly elected councillors is an example no one should follow, especially not the authorities elected by the will of citizens. ‘BH Novinari’ association reminds the City Council of Mostar that the transparency of work of the local authorities and enabling a free access to events and public information to all journalists and media outlets are fundamental values of European, democratic societies, and are a part of of the right to freedom of expression and dignified work of reporters,” the association said.
The newly elected City of Council is set to elect the Mayor in the second round of vote on Friday after two candidates were eliminated in the first round.
The first attempt to elect the Mayor last week was annulled as the international community's High Representative, who is the final interpreter of Bosnia's Constitution, pointed out the vote should be secret not public.
All 35 councillors unanimously adopted the High Representative's request.