Court Orders Return of Confiscated Equipment in Raid on Bosnian News Portal

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Council of Municipality Court in Sarajevo has ordered return of all confiscated equipment, including smartphones and hard drives, to news portal klix.ba, taken from it in the recent police raid in search for the source of the video in which one politician talks about buying electoral support.

Police has raided one of the most popular Bosnian portals on 29th of December because they have earlier in the month published recorded conversation between Prime minister of Bosnian entity Republika Srpska (RS) Željka Cvijanović and unknown persons in which Cvijanović talks about buying electoral support in the Assembly of RS.

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One employee of Klix posted sign “Journalism is not a crime!” on the window during the raid

After the raid, representatives of international  community in Bosnia, some politicians and fellow journalists condemned the raid as an attempt to control media. While there were no repercussions for Željka Cvijanović, although there is clear evidence that she participated in bribing representatives in the Assembly – hence  breaking  the law.

Legal representatives of klix.ba filed an appeal which was accepted by the Court and has ordered return of the confiscated equipment in three days, while the prosecutor has a right to appeal on this decision.

At the same time, new prosecutor Dalida Burzić, which has taken office on the day of the raid, has announced that her office is investigating legality of the raid.

Raid was illegal

Many from the jurisdiction system of Bosnia and Herzegovina have confirmed that the raid was in contradiction to several laws, including Law on Freedom of press & speech and Shield Law that protects the sources of Journalists.

These laws are in the European Convention on Human Rights, which is incorporated in the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Journalists in Banja Luka holding signs “Don’t let them break you”, “Freedom of press” and “Not like this”(Foto: klix.ba)

In Banja Luka, capital of RS, around 50 journalists gathered yesterday to protest against the raid and other attempts of state control over media, including a ban on BN television journalists from attending events in Presidency palace of RS, an office held by Cvijanović party colleague Milorad Dodik.

“Since year 2006 there have been 400 cases of endangering journalist freedoms, and from that number, around 60 wore death threats. The court has issued a judgment on only 15 percent of those cases. This is an atmosphere in which it is normal to hunt down journalists”, said Siniša Vukelić from the Club of journalist in Banja Luka.

Similar gathering happened today in Sarajevo.

Editor of tacno.net attacked

Meanwhile, main editor of other Bosnian news portal tacno.net Štefica Galić has been verbally attacked by a group of men, along with her colleague Amer Bahtijar.

Portal tacno.net is known for its anti-fascist and anti-nationalist stand in a country where nationalism caused a war in the end of the last century resulting in more than 100.000 human deaths.

By the account of Galić, they notified police immediately, but the group continued to insult editor while the police was “just standing there”.

“They said that if we continue to report as we do, we will experience what Slavo Kukić experienced”, said Galić.

Kukić is a well respected university professor who was beaten several months ago because he condemned presence of several Bosnian Croat politicians on the welcoming party for war criminal Dario Kordić.

Kordić served 16 and a half years in prison for killing of 116 civilians in the village Ahmići on 16th April 1993. Among murdered, 32 wore women and 11 children, youngest being three months old baby, and oldest 81 year old woman.

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Štefica Galić, editor or news portal tacno.net was beaten up in 2012

“We experience threats and attacks almost every day now, but we will continue to do as we did until now”, said Štefica Galić.

This isn’t first attack on Galić, who was beaten up two years ago after a documentary was shown about her late husband whose brave actions saved numerous Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in town Ljubuški from going to concentration camps during the Bosnian war.

About Author

Agan Uzunović is a journalist from Bosnia and Herzegovina writing for Revolution News and Bosnian media. Follow him on Twitter @AganU8.