Reporting from Local Communities

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On April 27 and 28 the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, in collaboration with USAID’s Judicial Sector Development Programme, continued a training course for journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina reporting on war-crimes trials conducted before cantonal and district courts.

In the second week of the training course Mehmed Halilovic, former Ombudsman for Media, explained how journalists can obtain necessary information in accordance with the Law on Free Access to Information, while Boris Grubesic, Spokesperson of the State Prosecution, explained what type of information can be provided by the institution, also describing the criminal prosecution process.

Ljiljana Zurovac, Director of the Press Council, spoke about the ethics codex, which includes recommendations for court reporters.

At this training session, lecturers drew the journalists’ attention to the most frequent mistakes made in war-crimes trials reporting. Participants were then asked to prepare news on the basis of verdicts, indictments and judicial institutions’ announcements, avoiding potential mistakes.

On the second day, participants were presented with cases in which journalists were charged or convicted for contempt of court or denial of facts determined by verdicts. Ways of avoiding such situations were discussed.

The training course continues on May 27 and 28. These sessions will focus on the importance of information provided by judicial institutions, for the country and the region.

The goal of the course is to train journalists in reporting war-crimes trials conducted before courts in their local communities, as the transfer of “less sensitive cases” for further processing by cantonal and district courts and Brcko District Court has now begun.