In an effort to enable open discussion with media professionals on the most urgent pressures they face, the EU Info Centre, as part of the campaign EU for Your Rights, organised the first of three discussions today in Sarajevo.
„Media freedom is not an issue only in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, but within the European Union as well. Free and independent media is a condition for joining the EU. The country will be judged on its ability to guarantee free and independent media and, for the European Union, it will continue to be a focus for us during the accession process,“ remarked Khaldoun Sinno, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Media professionals are exposed to constant financial, political and institutional pressures, which results in serious violations of the rights to freedom of information and expression. Conversely, media and journalists often violate the rights of other BiH citizens, failing to respect the rights of vulnerable categories, by using hate speech, violating the journalist’s code of ethics and professional standards.
„If the rights of journalists are being violated, human rights are also being violated. We are failing to respect the concept of human rights and we do not support the culture of human rights through media content. We all must take responsibility for this,“ said Borka Rudić, General Secretary of the BH Journalists Association, adding that the rights of female journalists are being increasingly violated through enforcement of stereotypes in various media content.
During the discussion, the panellists reflected on the responsibility and role of civil society organisations, media and institutions in the sector of promotion and protection of human rights of journalists, in line with standards and policies of the European Union in the area of human rights and democracy. Panellists and participants agreed that media professionals and the wider society cannot keep turning a blind eye to attacks on journalists and threats to journalistic ethics and professionalism due to their long-term harmful effects on objective, transparent and credible media reporting, which is the backbone of democracy.