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Roundtable discussed political responsibilities of media during elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina

12-10-2010 (Sarajevo)
Roundtable discussed political responsibilities of media during elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnian newspapers
© Lela Kadric and Michael Mehen
During election campaigns, when political and economic pressures on the media are most evident, the role of the Press Council is of high importance. This was among the main conclusions of the roundtable dedicated to self-regulation of the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized by UNESCO on 22 September 2010 in Sarajevo.
The roundtable, entitled “Political responsibilities and self-regulation of the media during the election period“, is part of the activities within the ongoing UNESCO - European Commission regional project, Alignment to International Standards in the Media Sector of South-East European Countries. The event was also supported by OSCE.



Ognian Zlatev, UNESCO consultant, and Ian Mayes, veteran British journalist and former readers’ editor of The Guardian, discussed the role of the Press Council during elections and self regulation initiatives of news agencies with the representatives of print media and Ljiljana Zurovac, the Executive Director of the Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

One of the problems of the Press Council in the country, according to Vildana Selimbegović, Editor-in-Chief of Oslobođenje, is the fact that only a few media outlets accept its decisions.

During this year’s election campaign, the Council received 14 complaints related to print-media reporting. “The dominating topics were reporting on pre-election statements, followed by the economy, the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina and national issues, which are expressed more in the Republika Srpska and the part of the Federation that has a majority of Croats,” said Borka Rudić, Secretary General of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Journalists’ Association, which has made an analysis of the media coverage of the first two weeks of the election campaign. Ms Rudić added that the influence of various political and economic lobbies on editorial policies of the media had lead to the “installation of standards of journalism as incitement, instead of journalism based on the existential needs of the citizens”.

On the emerging issue of self regulation among news agencies, Zoran Ilić, the editor of the news agency Fena said: “Unlike electronic and print media, news agencies are not subject to the regulations of the Press Council. So we need to work on individual self-regulations for each agency. The leaders of all three agencies have never held a meeting to discuss rules of conduct, so we find ourselves in a situation where the editor has to set rules”. Ilić also stated that the portals could contribute to a decrease in competition between agencies since “they steal the news without permission, they do not mention the source and there is nobody to complain to”.

Exactly because the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region are still very much influenced by current politics and the economy, Ian Mayes underlined that the steps leading towards self-regulation, undertook by the Press Council, were very important, and he noted with satisfaction that they had also been successful.
Roundtable discussed political responsibilities of media during elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ognian Zlatev
© Lela Kadric and Michael Mehen

Roundtable discussed political responsibilities of media during elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ian Mayes
© Lela Kadric and Michael Mehen
Related themes/countries

      · Europe and North America
      · Bosnia and Herzegovina
      · Professional Journalistic Standards in Europe
      · Professional Journalistic Standards and Code of Ethics
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