Media and judiciary actors participating at the Inter-professional seminar organised under the joint programme of the EU and Council of Europe: “Reinforcing Judicial Expertise on Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Media in South East Europe” (JUFREX), held on 10th and 11th of February 2018 on Trebevic Mountain near Sarajevo, pointed out to the uneven practice of application of the European standards in regards to defamation in BiH courts. Having the purpose to provide the opportunity for different stakeholders interested in freedom of expression and media, the seminar enabled in-depth discussion on the topic of defamation in the context of BiH, notably on the application of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which safeguards the freedom of expression.
At the seminar, organised by Association of Journalists BiH, a JUFREX grantee, journalists, judges, lawyers and representatives of different media outlets discussed concrete libel cases against journalists in BiH. Media and media law expert, Mehmed Halilovic presented the analysis of the defamation cases against journalists, editors and publishers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, pointing to the need of upgrading the system of tracking of these cases at the national courts. The experienced media lawyer from Croatia, Vesna Alaburic shared her experience and understanding of the Council of Europe’s standards on defamatory speech and the media freedom, through presenting and commenting some cases of ECtHR. The judge of Sarajevo Municipality Court Sanela Gorusanovic-Butigan, shared some of her cases of libel, whereas number of journalists and editors presented their cases.
The seminar completed its work by concluding that there is a need for more balanced application of the European standards on freedom of expression by the courts in BiH, thus contributing to media pluralism and diversity as prerequisite for pluralistic political debates and informed electorates.
This event was implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union and the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.