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    Media and Public Credibility: Society is Limited without Transparency of Media Ownership

    MEDIA AND PUBLIC CREDIBILITY: Society is Limited without Transparency of Media Ownership

    We do not know who the owners of many media in BiH are, and this especially regards online media

    In view of the number and kinds of media, BiH leaves an impression of democracy, however according to Marko Divkovic, President of the BH Journalist association, when we consider the structure of information we see chaos:

    “Media owners or their financiers, take it upon themselves to determine what and how to feed to the public regardless of whether it is in the public interest or not,” says Divkovic.

    Without transparency of media ownership, there can be no responsibility, which creates a limited society. The media lack information important to the citizens; there are no investigative stories, while the media are often the extended hand of political parties.

    “When ownership is transparent, we can attempt to understand the position in which journalists find themselves, as well as the wider picture of ownership concentration. Through the manner of financing we can see if there are subtle pressures on the media”, regards Edin Ibrahimefendic from the Ombudsman’s office.

    The Project “Media and Public Credibility” was initiated in BiH with the aim of establishing a law on transparency of media ownership, media financing and advertising. This project focuses on the preparation of the legislative framework for the regulation of this area, which is of special importance for the freedom of expression, protection of journalists and prevention of pressure, with political connotations, against the media and journalists. It is financed by the EU in BiH, and implemented by a consortium comprised of the Media Center Sarajevo Foundation, the Press Council in BiH, the JaBiHEU NGO, and the BH Journalists Association.

    “I hope that there will be pressure from the citizens to know more about who stands behind the media and that it will automatically make the citizens believe the media more, and thus the responsibility circle will be closed”, notes Maja Hadziosmanovic Popovic from the Mediacenter Sarajevo

    The adoption of the mentioned laws is also important for journalists who are according to the opinion of Elvir Halilovic from RTV Vogosca amongst the most endangered with regards to political and economic pressure, which therefore resort to self-censorship.

    The project is also supported by Jasna Durakovic, representative of the FBiH Parliament, who says that we have a good legislative framework through 14 laws, but adds that it is necessary to include sanctions which are as of now non-existent. Special value of the adoption of the Law on transparency of media ownership will be reflected in the fact that it would regulate the chaos in the online media, where the rule of having to have a site notice, i.e. public data on the contact, ownership, editorial staff and its composition, is completely disregarded, with some exceptions. Currently, this lack is a cause of many problems with regards to sanctioning hate speech, violations of copyrights or breaches of other ethical professional standards foreseen by the Press Code of BiH.

    (Ernad Metaj)

    The Project “Media and Public Credibility” is supported by the EU Delegation in BiH, however, the Delegation is not responsible for the content of this article.


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