BH Journalists Association concerned over Jansa's tweet targeting BiH journalist

NEWS 04.05.2021 15:32
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Source: Jure Makovec / AFP

The Steering Committee of the BH Journalists Association sent a protest letter to Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa on Tuesday, expressing deep concern over a post on his official Twitter account announcing a "trial for several crimes" against Bosnian investigative journalist Avdo Avdic.

The association said that Jansa’s Twitter post, a retweet of a post by Slovenian journalist Luka Pers, was published by numerous media in Bosnia, “interpreting it as a direct threat and pressure on journalist Avdic because of the articles published on his portal Istraga.ba, which mention your name as well as the names of your closest associates.”

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“Without any intention to go into details about Avdic's journalistic reporting, the Steering Committee of BH Journalists, as the main journalistic organization that brings together media professionals from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, considers it inadmissible that you, as Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, publicly “call out” any journalist on Twitter, and especially that by such an act you indirectly support the criminal prosecution of journalist Avdic because of his journalistic work,” the letter said.

The association argued that it is especially worrying that the tweet emerged on Jansa’s account on May 3, the World Press Freedom Day, “when all democracies and their representatives give full support to independent, investigative and free journalism, which in modern societies is an imperative that we must never ignore”.

“Of course, you, like any other citizen, have the right to be dissatisfied with the articles published about you by the media outlets in Slovenia, BiH or anywhere else. However, we are sure that you are aware that, within the European Union, of which the Republic of Slovenia is a proud member, this kind of dissatisfaction is not resolved by criminal prosecution of journalists, but by denials of untrue allegations and possibly defamation lawsuits, which is the only democratically correct way of reacting in cases when someone is dissatisfied with the way certain journalists write,” the association said.

It stressed that “criminal prosecution of journalists for their work or just the announcement of such actions is a perfidious attempt of censorship and preventing journalists in researching topics of public importance,” adding, “we sincerely hope that the above-mentioned post by journalist Luka Pers that you shared on your Twitter account does not represent your personal position, nor attempts to exert pressure and threats against journalists and independent media in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

“At the same time, we would like you to understand our address as a legitimate means of protecting journalists on World Press Freedom Day, even those who write critically about you as a public official, and as support for free journalism and a democratic environment for all media, both in Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” it said.

“We will share this protest letter of BH Journalists with our colleagues from the Association of Journalists of Slovenia and all other journalists’ associations in the Western Balkans region, as well as with all EU institutions – including the European Parliament,” concluded the letter, signed by Secretary General of the BH Journalists Association, Borka Rudic.

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