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Bosnian Serb Leader’s ‘threatening’ Attack on N1 Journalist Condemned

Following Milorad Dodik’s most recent attack on the N1 journalist Snezana Mitrovic, the Media Freedom Rapid Response consortium joined Bosnian media organisations in condemning the “insulting and threatening behaviour of the President of Republika Srpska.”

“We call on the politician to publicly apologise and end all intimidating practices against all media,” the Europe-wide mechanism which tracks and responds to violations of media freedom in EU Member States, Candidate Countries, and Ukraine, stated on Wednesday.

“Our organisations further warn that this aggressive rhetoric towards a member of the media, and indications of state monitoring of media, are the latest examples in a decades-long list of pressure by Dodik against journalists and independent media in the Republika Srpska,” MFRR added. 

Mitrovic, a reporter with N1 television, was attacked by Dodik at a November 16 press conference when she questioned him over ties to individuals arrested in a drug-trafficking operation. 

Dodik accused N1 of spreading falsehoods, promoting an “anti-Serb narrative,” and attempting to harm Republika Srpska, which is one of two entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He forcefully tried to take away the microphone from Mitrovic, threatening the N1 team by implying surveillance, telling them: “Do you think we don’t have a service that follows what you are doing?”

Afterwards, Dodik called Mitrovic on her private phone, berating her over N1’s coverage of the press conference.

This was not Dodik’s first outburst against media and journalists, MFRR noted.

“Unfortunately, this type of behaviour has continued with impunity for years. Dodik has repeatedly labelled critical journalists as traitors and enemies of the state, and made threats against them, including multiple verbal attacks on female journalists,” MFRR said. 

A recent mission to the country facilitated by the MFRR concluded that the antagonism shown towards critical journalists in Republika Srpska, especially by Dodik, jeopardises media freedom and fosters a sense of insecurity within the journalistic community.

The MFRR added that the claim about government surveillance of N1, and possibly other independent media in the entity, warrants a “potential investigation of utmost seriousness.”

Source: Balkan Insight