BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: SEEMO condemns new law in Republika Srpska

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, 06/02/2015

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is expressing great concern regarding the new law adopted by the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, an entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The new law, entitled Public Peace and Order criminalizes, among other, posts on social media that are seen as disturbing, offensive or insulting because they contain symbols, images, drawings or text. This is regulated by law’s articles 7 and 8. Posting any type of content that is deemed as disturbing can be fined financially, and content which threatens other people faces a higher fine, or a 30-day prison term.

“Imposing a law like this that can threaten the freedom of speech. Parts of the law are unclear and are opening door for self-interpretation by the authorities. State authorities may be left to interpret what is believed to be disturbing or offensive As result of the new law we can have in the future self-censorship between online journalists and other internet users. SEEMO calls on the authorities in Republika Srpska and members of the Parliament to immediately revoke this law. Freedom of expression cannot be taken away in such a crude and obvious manner. Internet should be regulated by self-regulation and over editors of web-portals, but not with legal regulations like this law. Legal steps are only acceptable in cases of direct motivation of violence.” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic has stated.

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