05 Sep 2018 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 24 Aug 2018 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Republika Srpska President Accuses Journalist of “Destroying Regional Political Structures"

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
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On 21 August 2018, Milorad Dodik, president of Republika Srpska, one of the two semi-autonomous regions that comprise Bosnia and Herzegovina, accused Dino Jahić, editor-in-chief of Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS), of “destroying regional political structures with money from international organisations," South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) reported.

Dodik's accusations were made at a press conference in Banja Luka after he was asked by reporters about the CINS database containing real estate records of properties owned by Bosnian politicians, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) said.

SEENPM reported that the real estate records research was conducted by Bosnia's Center for Investigative Journalism, and not the Serbia CINS, where Jahić is editor. The published data showed that Dodik and his family members own 13 properties, including four apartments, two houses and a total of 260,000 sqaure metres of land.

Dodik’s press conference was followed by a campaign from several government-aligned news outlets that sought to undermine and smear CINS and Jahić, SEENPM said. A defamatory article -- “Dirty affairs of Soros’s instructor” -- first appeared on the news website Infosrpska.ba. Later, it was republished by the more influential Radio Televizija Republike Srpske, official Republika Srpska news agency SRNA and Banja Luka-based Alternativna televizija.

SEENPM said all the article stated a range of lies about Jahić: "He instructs Hungarian students to be against the country's prime minister, Viktor Orban, and that has $38 million from international sources".

"By stating incorrect information and putting them in a wrong context, Dodik directly jeopardised the safety of Jahić, other newsroom members, and their families," CINS said in its written reaction published on their website.

"It is shameful and very detrimental that media outlets, especially those financed from taxpayers’ money, use this manner to label individuals and turn them into targets," SEENPM said.

CINS said on its website that, in consultation with lawyers, they will take legal actions against Dodik and will inform all relevant domestic and international institutions about the latest developments.
Updates
New 05 Sep 2018
Dino Jahić has been facing insults and death threats for around two weeks on social networks. According to the Independent Journalists' Associations of Serbia, the threats appeared right after a statement issued on 21 August 2018 by the President of the Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik. The verbal attacks took the form of disparaging comments but also hate speech regarding Jahić's origin, as well as explicit death threats, such as "someone should make a hole in his skull". Some of the journalist's colleagues were also targeted.
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