June 18, 2024

18.06.2024 – Journalist Nataša Miljanović-Zubac Faces Ongoing Threats

In Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, journalist Nataša Miljanović-Zubac continues to endure a harrowing ordeal marked by threats and intimidation, prompting widespread concern over press freedom and safety in Republika Srpska, which is is one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Miljanović-Zubac who is associated with Radio Television of Republika Srpska (Radio Televizija Republike Srpske – https://www.rtrs.tv/) has been subjected to a relentless campaign aimed at silencing her investigative reporting.

The saga began in the night from 14 to 15 June 2022 when her car was allegedly deliberately set afire in front of her home in Trebinje, an incident that remains unresolved. One year earlier, a Serbian politician, publicly insulted her a morning program, broadcasted on a TV channel in Serbia in February 2021.

Since then, the threats have escalated, with disturbing acts including the targeting of her home with infrared rays, verbal harassment by local figures, and even the placement of a doll with a severed head in front of her door.

Despite her appeals for protection and justice, Miljanović-Zubac has faced constant challenges. Authorities have been criticized for their inadequate response, failing to apprehend perpetrators or provide adequate security measures.

Efforts to seek justice have been complicated by alleged interference and delays in the investigative process. Miljanović-Zubac’s outspokenness on social media about alleged local criminal activities and the alleged involvement of certain individuals has further heightened tensions and risks to her safety.

In response to international scrutiny and calls for action, local authorities have pledged periodic surveillance of her residence, but these measures have not effectively curtailed the threats. Concerns over the adequacy of protective measures persist, with critics questioning the authorities’ commitment to upholding press freedom and ensuring the safety of journalists under threat.

Miljanović-Zubac’s imminent return to her journalistic duties at RTRS in Trebinje after more than 20 months on leave for health reasons underscores her determination to continue her work despite the risks. However, the unresolved threats and ongoing harassment highlight broader concerns about the climate for press freedom and safety in Republika Srpska.

The situation facing Miljanović-Zubac serves as a stark reminder of the challenges journalists often face in their pursuit of truth and accountability. As calls for justice grow louder, the need for effective measures to protect journalists and uphold press freedom in Republika Srpska remains urgent.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is closely monitoring the case of journalist Nataša Miljanović-Zubac. The threats and harassment she has endured are deeply concerning, reflecting broader challenges to press freedom and journalist safety in Bosnia and Herzegovina. SEEMO stands committed to advocating for her protection and ensuring that authorities uphold their responsibilities to safeguard journalists and uphold the principles of free speech and investigative journalism. SEEMO will continue to follow developments closely and advocate for justice in this troubling situation.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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