Journalists Rally to Support Assaulted Colleague

Dozens of Sarajevo media workers came to a central city square on Tuesday to raise voice against the attack on a Banja Luka colleague.

Television reporter Vladimir Kovačević was assaulted by two unknown persons this weekend while returning home from work. The Banja Luka prosecutor is investigating the incident as an attempted murder. Kovačević works for a private Bijeljina-based television station.

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Journalist Senka Kurt, who attended the Sarajevo rally, told Klix that Bosnian journalists’ rights are constantly violated and that they have become “punching bags” recently.

“Some organizations are trying to protect journalists, but (journalists) aren’t educated about their rights,” she said.

Amir Sužanj, an editor at the national public radio, said that the increase in violence against journalists is the blame of politicians.

“This rally should be a message for the government institutions: sanction the persons who attack journalists. I hope they will act accordingly,” he said.

In Mostar, southern Bosnia, journalists organized a protest walk in support to Kovačević.

“Many (attacks against journalists) aren’t even noticed, because some of the colleagues have no strength to report them. It is a problem that is escalating, not only in the country, but also in the region. I am afraid of all the things that might happen during the (October 2018) election campaign,” said Faruk Kajtaz, head of the Mostar Club of Journalists organization.

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Husein Oručević

Journalist Husein Oručević said that the media situation in Bosnia is fairly bad, which corresponds to the media situation in central and eastern Europe.

“The financial situation of journalists and the media is very bad, and that was efficiently utilized by politicians. We need to raise our voice, especially because there were 41 cases of attacks and harassment of media workers,” he said.

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