Civil Rights Defenders Supports Association of BH Journalists

In a press release on 19 July, Civil Rights Defenders’ partner, the Association of BH Journalists, stated that politician Salmir Kaplan, accompanied with a group of his social media supporters, has initiated a public smear campaign against the Association of BH Journalists and Borka Rudić, the General Secretary of the association. The campaign spreads false information concerning Mrs. Rudić’s work, jeopardizing her safety and public credibility

On Monday 18 July, the smear campaign escalated from its original shape, when Mrs. Rudić was verbally attacked in Sarajevo. The attack had been preceded by an outburst of hate speech on Facebook, where Mrs. Rudić was accused of being a lobbyist for the Gullen movement and a supporter of chetniks (extreme radicals).

Civil Rights Defenders condemns the statements and reaction by MP to the Federal Parliament, Salmir Kaplan, which we see as hate speech directed at Association of BH Journalists.

The Executive board of Association of BH Journalists and Free Media Help Line has requested that the Prosecutors Offices in Sarajevo Canton and the Federal police of Bosnia and Herzegovina should urgently investigate the attacks against Mrs. Rudić and take legal measures.

The case has also been reported to the Central Election Commission, which is in charge of verifying and accepting candidates for elections, as Mr. Kaplan is a candidate in the Local Elections, scheduled to be held on 2 October 2016.

Civil Rights Defenders condemns all attacks against journalists and free media and encourages the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to investigate this and other attacks against journalists and media workers urgently.