What are obligations of public media regarding reporting about national minorities in BiH?

Prijedor 24 September 2018
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What are obligations of public media regarding reporting about national minorities in BiH?

Are media In BiH fulfilling these obligations? What are the challenges in reporting about national minorities? These were some of the questions that representatives of public media, councils of national minorities on BiH and entity levels, Communications Regulatory Agency of BiH, Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees BiH, Brčko Government BiH, CSO and Council of Europe discussed on 21 September 2018 in Prijedor.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss the importance and obligations of public media reporting about the existence, roles and rights of national minorities, including minority languages. One of the conclusions was that public media should follow legal obligations on the state and entity levels when it comes to the national minorities and have continuous programmes about these marginalised groups in BiH.

Želimir Lalić, Head of Sector for Protection of Human Rights and Co-operation with National Minorities and other Minorities, Religious Communities and CSOs, Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees BiH, underlined that the Law on the Protection of National Minorities BiH clearly states that public media has the obligation to have programmes about national minorities once a week. He pointed out: “This is unfortunately not the case. Introduction of programmes about national minorities has also been one of the recommendations by the Council of Europe‘s monitoring bodies of the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities and European Charter on Regional or Minority languages that BiH ratified.”

So far there is only one public media in BiH, Republik Srpska Radio and their show “Korjeni” that has continuous bi-weekly show reporting about national minorities. Radmila Karanović, Editor of the show, shared her experiences from her daily work. Željka Mandić, Editor of programme “Multikultura” from the Croatian radio television (HRT), said: “I believe that today a large part of Croatian citizens and society in general recognises the value of multicultural heritage and the importance of its preservation. From the position of awareness about multiculturalism, the better acquaintance with the differences in the community, we are slowly coming to the point of interculturality. In this way, a healthy social is created that values diversity.”

Tihomir Knežićek, Chairman of the Council of National Minorities in BiH, stated that “different European reports state that there is not enough co-operation between national minorities and media. Adequate and sufficient material needed for different programmes can be reached through closer cooperation with Councils of national minorities on all levels and media. Also, media can use national minority associations and a complementary report written by the Council of National Minorities in BiH on associations for this purpose.”

Both, Pejka Medić, Director of BH radio and Tvrtko Milović, Editor of Documentary-Contemporary BHT1 Program stated that they are planning to start programmes, which was met with great enthusiasm among participants.

This discussion was organised within the project "Strengthening the protection of national minorities in BiH" that is funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and is implemented by the Council of Europe. It is part of the joint programme “Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey”.