Regional TAIEX workshop “The judiciary, society and the media” held in Sarajevo

A two-day workshop on “The Judiciary, Society and the Media”, concluded in Sarajevo on 12 April 2016. The workshop was organised by the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC BiH) in cooperation with the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX).

The aim of the workshop was to present the importance of public relations and its influence in creating public opinion on the judiciary, to improve communication and cooperation with the media and the court users as well as to increase access to justice and the transparency of the judiciary in BiH. Another important component of the workshop was to establish cooperation and exchange experiences with the member states of the European Union.

The workshop was opened by Milan Tegeltija, the President of the HJPC BiH who stated that activities performed by the HJPC BiH in this field serve to ensure better citizen understanding of the way the judicial institutions operate, also to make the citizens aware of the challenges faced by the judiciary. President Tegeltija said: “I am convinced that through open disclosure to the public we can gain their understanding and support for our efforts aimed at reforms and improving the performance of judicial institutions. And ultimately, we want to establish a higher level of strategic communication and support for the courts and prosecutors offices to improve their capacity to better manage public relations and media cooperation.

The first day of the workshop was dedicated to topics on transparency and accountability of the judiciary, access to justice from the perspective of the media and improving communication channels between the judiciary and the media.

Day two saw the presentation of practical examples from European countries regarding the relationship between the judiciary and the media as well as discussion on communication-related stereotypes. The participants had the opportunity to participate practically in the workshop and give proposals and suggestions to improve relations with the media and increase transparency of the judicial institutions and their work.

The conference was attended by renowned experts from the judiciary and members of the academia of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Norway, Sweden, Italy, The Netherlands and Slovenia.

The following conclusions were reached at the workshop:
1.    It is necessary for the HJPC BiH to develop and adopt a new communication strategy establishing standards for media appearances by the representatives of judicial institutions;
2.    It is necessary to continue working towards improving communication between the judiciary and the media, where the judiciary needs to take a proactive approach, and the media needs to take interest in the rule of law. Public confidence in the judiciary can be enhanced through joint action;
3.    It is necessary to enable regular meetings between the representatives of the judiciary and the media and to consider developing guidelines governing their mutual relations;
4.    It is necessary to train media representatives on the judiciary-related topics, as well as the representatives of the legal community on the needs of the media and their modus operandi;
5.    The public appearance of representatives of judicial institutions, as well as media reporting should be in accordance with the highest ethical and professional standards;
6.    Judicial institutions need to build trust in the relationship with the media so as to promote the principles of transparency and accountability in their daily work.

TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument) is the technical/advisory assistance and information exchange Instrument of the EC DG NEAR which is used to assist countries in the harmonisation, adoption and application of EU legislation. For additional information please visit http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/taiex