13 Oct 2017 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 11 Jul 2017 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Al Jazeera Columnist Flees Following Death Threats

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner Index AEJ EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner Index AEJ EFJ/IFJ RSF
Dragan Bursac, a columnist for regional private broadcaster Al Jazeera Balkans (AJB), received a series of death threats via Facebook after publishing on 8 July 2017 a piece in which he condemned the gathering in the city of Banja Luka in support of Ratko Mladic. The piece, entitled: "Is Banja Luka Celebrating Srebrenica Genocide?", refers to Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb military leader accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

As a result of numerous threats on social media, Bursac had to flee Banja Luka and, as regional broadcaster N1 reported, he is currently living in an undisclosed location in Bosnia. In the comment section of Bursac’s piece, which was published on AJB’s Facebook page, an unknown person nicknamed “Caruga Stanisavljevic” wrote that “a penalty shot has been issued” and that the journalist "should be careful”. The incident was reported to the police.

In a written reaction published on their website, the BH Journalists Association strongly condemned the threats, urging the police to conduct an efficient investigation.
Updates
13 Oct 2017
On 7 August 2017 Dragan Bursac was again the victim of death threats on social media. The police arrested a suspect and criminal charges were filed against him. On 13 October 2017 the preliminary hearing for this second case of threats began.
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