Police raided the country’s most popular news website Klix after it published a recording on which it alleged that the Bosnian Serb prime minister spoke about ‘buying’ electoral support.
Officers from Bosnia’s Serb-led entity Republika Srpska assisted by local Sarajevo police raided the Klix newsroom in the capital on Monday in an attempt to discover the origins of the allegedly incriminating audio recording.
Monday’s raid of the offices in Sarajevo took about seven hours, and the portal said on its website that police confiscated laptops, hard drives from all computers, the private mobile phones of the editor and owner, USB sticks and CDs. During the raid three Klix.ba workers were held inside. One of those employees glued a paper on an office window saying “Journalism is not a crime.”
The raid follows last month’s questioning of Klix’s editors and journalists about a recording that the website posted online in mid-November, after the Bosnian general elections.
In an October election, the governing Independent Social Democrats narrowly maintained their majority in the parliament of the Bosnian Serb autonomous region. Prior to the vote, the portal Klix.ba posted a recording of a conversation during which Zeljka Cvijanovic, a top Independent Social Democrats official, allegedly said her party had paid two opposition lawmakers to ensure its majority.
Cvijanovic, who narrowly became regional prime minister after that election, claims the recording is a fabrication.
English translation of the recording
Cvijanović: Don’t wory
Other person: It must be those two cloven hoof/idiots?
Cvijanović: Yes. They are from Šukalo’s party (Adam Šukalo, president of Napredna Srpska Pary). But that’s why we bribed two more, and we will see if we have bribed them well. If they betray us, we have other two. There it is.
Other person: I wanted to ask you if we can force this story to go… We have already recruited Miloš Kovačević (doctor of linguistic science) to go with this story about Bosnian language.
Cvijanović: Of course. Make something about it. It’s about academic community to talk about that and to make a documentary or something.
After this, other persons are included in conversation and are talking about those who want to be directors of public companies and Cvijanović replies that those persons are “insecure“.
“This is a blatant attack on media,” Dario Novalic, the head of the Press Council in Bosnia, a self-regulatory body for print and online media, said Monday. He said the portal ‘Klix’ is being accused of unauthorized phone tapping.
Bosnia’s Journalist Union said in a statement the police raid is “the most brutal attack on freedom of speech and journalist rights ever recorded in Bosnia,” and is designed to scare journalists of this portal as well as all other media.
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović urged the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina today to do their utmost to stop persecuting journalists and to respect their right to protect their sources, following a raid by the police on the offices of Klix.ba in Sarajevo and subsequent detention of key staff.
“This is a grave and disproportionate intrusion into the journalists’ right to report about public interest issues,” Mijatović said. ”While fully recognizing the importance of rule of law, I consider this case to constitute unacceptable treatment of the media in a democratic society.”
Video below show’s Police officer’s from MUP RS (Ministry of interior affairs of Republika Srpska) leaving the offices of Klix, seemingly in shame with their faces covered. One of them hiding his identity strikes a reporter who is trying to capture a photo of his face. FUP (Federal police) officials reacted to the news with a statement on their website stating that they were not involved and even unaware of the raid and that officers from MUP RS can not legally perform such a search and seizure operation in Sarajevo.