Joint statement: Journalists and political analysts in Bosnia and Herzegovina must be able to do their job without pressure and intimidation

The OSCE Mission to BiH and the Swedish Embassy in BiH on behalf of the OSCE 2021 Swedish Chairpersonship, the OHR, the EU Delegation to BiH/EUSR, the German Embassy in BiH, the U.S. Embassy to BiH, and the British Embassy to BiH strongly condemn the latest attacks on the personal and professional integrity of Banja Luka-based political analyst and journalist Tanja Topić by the Chairman of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik.

Threats and intimidation, as well as any kind of pressure, are absolutely unacceptable especially when expressed by high ranking political figures. Public officials are expected to set an example and serve as role models for respectful and accountable behaviour, and we use this opportunity to recall this obligation. Threats, insults, and misogynistic comments against media professionals which we have seen taking place across Bosnia and Herzegovina represent an attack on freedom of expression and on the democratic values of a society.

Such threats must cease immediately, and we expect the relevant authorities to guarantee freedom of the press and freedom of opinion, which constitute core values of the OSCE and the European Union and remain preconditions for any country that aspires to join the EU. The safety of journalists, analysts and media representatives must be ensured at all times.

We are encouraged that 11 non-governmental organisations have spoken out about the use of threats and intimidation and welcome efforts in BiH to speak out in protection of democratic values.