Media Help Line Supports Threatened Journalists

The number of threats and attacks on journalists have increased in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past years. In 2009 Civil Rights Defenders and the Association of Journalists established a Free Media Help Line, which provides legal aid and counselling to people working in media organisations.

Our project objective is to ensure a sustainable legal service for the protection of journalists’ rights, in the form of a free of charge Media Help Line. This will diminish the power of groups who try to misuse the media for their own political purposes. Moreover, we are working to improve the professional standards of journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During 2010, the Media Help Line provided legal advice to more than 50 journalists and managed to solve 44 cases of violation of journalists rights.

In 2010, the existing system of legal protection and professional training was expanded to include a holistic Early Warning System to report on the growing number of attacks on journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Association of Journalists is now able to react promptly and target both national and international media and the general public in their outreach activities; systematically follow attacks on media and create a unique database with information about the cases. This makes it possible to work strategically for improvements of journalists’ rights.

We assist The Association in identifying media specialists and in providing additional training for the existing ones. We will organise a special training by the end of the year for the lawyers within the network as well as for new lawyers interested in media law.