August 18, 2023

18.08.2023 – SEEMO Condemns Threats and Intimidation by President Milorad Dodik Against Journalist in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina

On Saturday 12 August 2023 in a press conference in Banja Luka, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik accused several media outlets of orchestrating an environment of persecution against the entity and its political leadership. He alleged that these actions were fueled by financial support from Great Britain. Dodik singled out “media from Sarajevo”, as also from Republika Srpska BN TV, Buka ( ) and Capital ( ) portals, accusing them of working against the interests of Republika Srpska with foreign backing. Additional Dodik verbaly attacked N1 correspondent Mladen Vujinović.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns the recent threats and intimidation directed at journalists and media outlets in Republika Srpska. The accusations made by President Milorad Dodik, are deeply concerning.

SEEMO believes in the vital role of journalists and media in democracy is ensuring the free flow of information. Any attempts to silence, threaten, or intimidate journalists undermine these fundamental principles. The safety and freedom of journalists are paramount, and any attack on their well-being is an attack on press freedom itself.

SEEMO supports the joint statement by the four attacked media. According to this statement “Labelling these four media as “enemies of the Serb people” and “destroyers of the Republika Srpska”, Milorad Dodik gave a signal to tens of thousands of his voters, followers, members of his SNSD (note by SEEMO: Savez nezavisnih socijaldemokrata – Alliance of Independent Social Democrats) party, and coalition partners, but also to the institutions he controls to mistreat employees of N1, BNTV, and in any way… The fabrications regarding millions paid to these media to work on destroying Republika Srpska is not even worth commenting on, because it represents a classic diversion of attention from the real problems in the country, which these four newsrooms, as before, will continue to report professionally, regardless of the constant attacks, insults, incitement and efforts to create an environment in which it is desirable to attack a journalist, which according to the latest poll, as much as 74 percent of the citizens of Republika Srpska consider acceptable.”

SEEMO calls President Dodik and other public figures to respect the role of media in society and refrain from actions that endanger the lives and professional integrity of journalists. SEEMO also calls the authorities in Republika Srpska including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, judiciary and public prosecutor to investigate this case.

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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