Appeal to the media and journalists in BH
11th February 2014
This text originally appeared here http://www.bhnovinari.ba
The Association of Bosnia-Herzegovina Journalists calls on all journalists, editors and media professionals all over Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide an objective, fair and balanced reporting of protests organized across the country, as well as other events related to the civil unrests.
The Association of BH Journalists regrets the unprofessional reporting of the majority of BH media, including its public services, as well as the manipulation through media of the protests, the participants and their demands . Instead of being at the service of citizens, putting their needs for comprehensive and objective information, the media has placed itself uncritically again into the service of individual interests of the politicians, national leaders, senior officials and/or unaccountable public employees. Such actions have betrayed the ethical principles and values of professional journalism, which has resulted in the confusion of citizens and in fear mongering, but also in a serious deterioration of the quality and credibility of journalistic profession.
The Association of BH Journalists reminds editors and journalists of their obligation to comply with ethical standards of the profession in the most difficult circumstances, in a manner as defined in the guidelines of the Council of Europe dedicated to journalists who work in times of crises. These Guidelines state: Media professionals need to adhere, especially in times of crisis, to the highest professional and ethical standards, having regard to their special responsibility in crisis situations to make available to the public timely, factual, accurate and comprehensive information while being attentive to the rights of other people, their special sensitivities and their possible feeling of uncertainty and fear.
The Association of BH Journalists therefore draws attention and calls on all editors and journalists from across the country, when reporting on the citizen’s protests to adhere to the professional principles, which include but are not limited to:
1) obligation of the media professionals to report on events and unequivocally established facts, and not to give media coverage to individuals for spreading lies, manipulative political attitudes and unfounded assessments;
2) necessary verification of any information from multiple independent sources before its publication, especially when it comes to information about the injured, or destructive and criminal acts;
3) avoiding a negative selection of information or taking the focus onto less important details away from the essence of citizens’ social unrest;
4) in the need to respond quickly to live events and extraordinary circumstances media professionals need to be extremely careful and act responsibly so that they do not publish misinformation instead of truths and become mouthpieces of the politicians, police or the criminals;
5) the obligation of the media professionals is to be on the side of the weak and disenfranchised such as the citizens of this country, which is why they should never forget their own responsibility to the citizens regardless of which part of BiH they live in.
The Association of BH Journalists reminds the entire media community BiH to fight for the right to freedom of expression, media independence and security of journalists. This fight also includes the responsibility of the media to the public and the respect of citizens as consumers of information and other media content. Therefore, the Association of BH Journalists reiterates that the respect and trust of citizens is acquired and maintained long-term only through professional reporting.
Board of Directors of the Association of BH Journalists