The Steering Committee of the BH Journalists Association and the Free Media Help Line (FMHL) urged the Interior Ministry of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity and the competent prosecutor’s office to urgently investigate the physical attack on BN Television journalist, Aleksandar Gluvic.
BN reported that Gluvic was physically attacked on Thursday evening in Banja Luka, while he was filming an illegally parked vehicle bearing the symbols of the ruling party in the RS, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD).
“The owner and driver of the truck first threatened the BN journalist and warned him not to take photos, and after the journalist ignored his threats, he called for the help of his son who physically attacked Gluvic, grabbing him by the neck”, the BH Journalists association said.
As BN reports, the entire incident was recorded by a surveillance camera at a nearby cafe.
“The Steering Committee of BH Journalists and the Free Media Help Line consider it unacceptable to prevent journalists from performing their professional tasks, especially by threats, intimidation and jeopardizing their physical safety. The attack on the journalist of BN Television in Banja Luka is a criminal act that requires a thorough police investigation, as well as taking legal measures against those who illegally threatened the right to freedom of expression and the dignified work of journalists and the media,” the association said.
“Any form of intimidation or endangering the safety of those who report to the public about events and phenomena in society, especially violent behaviour towards journalists, is absolutely reprehensible. Of particular concern is the fact that the journalist was attacked by activists and members of a political party, which in this pre-election period is also a kind of message to the public that it is allowed to “fight” with journalists and the media,” it said.
The Steering Committee of BH Journalists called on BiH’s Council of Ministers to submit amendments to the Criminal Code, which will treat attacks on journalists as a special criminal offence, to the parliamentary procedure as soon as possible, based on the initiative adopted in the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of BH in June this year.
“We call upon the National Assembly of Republika Srpska and the Parliament of the Federation of BiH to also adopt amendments to the Criminal Code that will enable more effective protection of journalists and media freedoms”, it said.