Death Threats Against Bosnian Journalist

Bakir Hadziomerovic, editor and journalist at the Federal Television in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has recently received another death threat from an unidentified source. Hadziomerovic is the author of the TV show ’60 minutes’ that deals with some of the most difficult issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina – organised crime and corruption.

“We strongly condemn the repeated attacks on Bakir Hadziomerovic and urge the authorities to promptly react in bringing those responsible to justice. This is not just an attack on one individual, but a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression, which has become a dangerous trend in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past couple of years,” says Natalija Bratuljevic, programme officer for Civil Rights Defenders in Bosnia.

In the past two years, Hadziomerovic has received numerous threats for his journalistic work. The threats were addressed both to him and to his family, and for that reason he has received police protection. None of the threats have been properly investigated by the authorities. There have been no arrests related to the threats, and the Public Prosecutor has not pressed charges against anyone.

After the latest death threat, the number of police officers that provide 24hours protection to Hadziomerovic and his family was increased.

The number of attacks on journalists has grown significantly in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past two years. The attacks include verbal threats and physical violence, hostage crises, murder threats by then Ombudsman, and death threats.

The reaction of the authorities is very often inadequate. A police investigation formally takes place, but no one has been arrested or brought to justice for threatening or attacking a journalist in Bosnia in the past couple of years.

“The lack of a strong and decisive reaction from the authorities when it comes to attacks on journalists makes them easy targets for anyone who is not satisfied with their reporting. Journalists are important human rights defenders, and watchdogs of their societies,” concludes Bratuljevic.