BIRN BiH Brings Media and Judiciary Together

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The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Bosnia and Herzegovina started its annual countrywide round of meetings with representatives of the media and judiciary in Zenica on Wednesday.

The meeting brought together journalists and officials from the Cantonal Court, Prosecutor’s Office and Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Journalists who attended the meeting said the biggest obstacle to cooperation with the authorities was not having a spokesperson at the court who is able to provide timely information about trials and trial schedules.

“Although judges hold briefings every week, they should not be the main point of communication for journalists. A spokesperson is needed in order to avoid building personal relationships with judges,” said Elmedin Basic from Nasa rijec.

Recently, Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) issued a set of guidelines regulating the publishing of indictments and verdicts on the internet. Although the new guidelines that should replace the practice of anonymization are not binding, court secretary Jasminka Ibrakovic said they will be implemented. 

“The court in Zenica plans to adopt the new guidelines into its official rulebook. We hope there will be no resistance to adopting the new rules and regulations at other courts. It is in our interest to maintain open and good relations with the media,” she added.

Another issue raised at the meeting was unavailability of spokespersons after working hours. “Many of them are not ready to release anything to the public until their supervisor approves it,” says Aldina Alimic from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

Participants called for more harmonised working practices and a systematic approach to public relations at institutions in the Zenica-Doboj Canton.

In the future period BIRN BiH will hold meetings with representatives in Travnik, Banja Luka, Brcko, and Sarajevo.