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    REACTION OF THE PRESS COUNCIL BiH on the physical attack and endangering the security of Dnevni avaz journalist - Meliha Smajkić from Mostar, and verbal threats to journalists of the portal Klix and Bljesak

    The Management Board of the Press Council in BiH, the self-regulatory body for print and online media, with great disapproval and concern reacts to yesterday's physical attack and endangering the security of the journalist of Dnevni avaz, Meliha Smajkić from Mostar, and the verbal threats addressed to journalists of the portal Klix and Bljesak.

    The attack took place yesterday, June 5th 2019, in Mostar, while journalists collected materials for reporting on the explosive device that was detonated at the family house and business facility of the Husić family. On this occasion, the owners of the Husić butcher, alongside with verbal threats to the media teams, seized the phone from the journalist Meliha Smajkić illegally and forced her to erase the recorded material.

    Our colleagues from Bljesak told us that their journalist went to take photographs of the scene, when one of the victims in the explosion approached him and threatened him, even though a police officer was present, that he would "break his fingers if some photos were published". Despite the presence of a police officer who did not respond, as well as the fact that the journalist of Bljesak was on public surface, outside the yellow ribbon, as he told the attacker. After this event, a frightening number of threatening comments and comments containing hate speech were posted against journalists on the Facebook page of Bljesak.

    Media freedom, which also implies the freedom of media coverage, is guaranteed in democratic countries, and the foundation of a free and healthy society. Making threats and intimidation, in particular physical attacks and preventing media employees from carrying out journalistic work in the public interest, are punishable and have to be treated in accordance with BiH criminal laws.

    By protecting the democratic rights of journalists to report freely and safely in the public interest, the Management Board of the Press Council calls on the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecution to take all possible steps to investigate and sanction this act of violence and interference to the work of media professionals.

    We would also like to reaffirm that journalists and photo-reporters have the right to record events of public importance, including criminal attacks on the property of citizens and businesses.

    The Press Council in BiH encourages all fellow journalists to report every kind of threats and attempts to interfere with the free and safe performance of their professional tasks.

    Management Board of the Press and Online Media Council in BiH

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