Role of media in post-conflict societies

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BIRN BiH participated at the Peace Academy for ten Ukrainian journalists and activists in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), organized by Do No Harm: Fostering Conflict – Sensitivity in Southern and Eastern Ukraine programme.

Mirna Buljugic, acting director of BIRN BiH, Slobodanka Dekic, project co-ordinator at Mediacentar Sarajevo, and Velma Saric, a journalist of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and founder of the Post Conflict Research Centre, introduced the post-conflict situation in BiH with an accent on conflict-sensitive journalism.

Slobodanka Dekic explained the importance of the lustration process among the journalists who were spreading hatred. “When the conflict has ended, politicians will try to marginalise all the crimes. Ownership of the media has a great role in editorial politics, but today the Internet makes it harder to hide information and truth,” Dekic said.

Velma Saric pointed that it is especially difficult to report from the war crime trials, since a journalist has to learn how to put emotions aside and to tell the facts only. “Journalist have to be aware of their tasks, they have to change wrong perceptions and present concrete solutions how the sides in conflict can go towards reconciliation.”

Mirna Buljugic talked about the importance of objective reporting, focusing on presenting war crime trials. “With the presentation of adequate and objective facts, you can have a huge impact on judicial institutions. After our documentary ‘Silent Scream’, a Prosecutor reacted to one of the victim’s stories and an investigation was launched. This is a practical example of how you can make changes with unbiased writing and storytelling,” Buljugic said.