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The project "Listen to Minority Languages" shows what is needed and how it could be done

Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 November 2021
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The project

Media rights of national minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are not respected in accordance with international standards, so the project "Listen to Minority Languages" is worthy of all the praise. This project was implemented in Tuzla and Prnjavor by the Italian Association "Rino Zandonai" in partnership with the Association of Poles “Bolesławiec” and it was supported by the European Union and the Council of Europe.

Through this inter-entity project, which lasted for twelve months, 18 radio shows were created and broadcast on two radio stations, and a film festival was organised showing eight films in the languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina's national minorities.

So far, no one has done this, in Bosnia and Herzegovina no public broadcaster has a show in the languages of national minorities, which is the obligation of both Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entities”, said project manager Tihomir Knežiček.

He emphasises that BiH has recommendations from the Council of Europe that it must improve the use of minority languages and that this project contributes to the implementation of these recommendations, especially the part related to the representation of minority languages in the media. He appreciates that in the time of globalisation and domination of certain languages, the need to preserve minority languages is extremely present.

Films in the languages of the minorities from Bosnia and Herzegovina were shown during June, on Saturday afternoons, in the Chamber Stage of the Youth Center in Tuzla.

Partner organisations in this project were the Association of Macedonians from Tuzla, the Association of Roma "Roma Girl-Romani Cej" and the Association of Ukrainians UKPD "Taras Shevchenko" from Prnjavor.

According to the Report "Media and National Minorities" published in 2020 by the European Union and the Council of Europe, minorities are generally insufficiently present in the media, often presented on the basis of stereotypes, i.e., sensationally presented as a problem in the context of news and current affairs. The media also do not properly respect structural inequalities and discrimination to which minorities are often exposed.

Although BiH has an international obligation to provide media content in minority languages and minority rights, the only media fully dedicated to the rights of national minorities and the protection of minority languages is the Roma portal Udar which is an additional proof that both institutions in the system of government and the media in BiH should invest more effort and strive to preserve the languages of minority peoples in BiH as part of the cultural and traditional heritage of this country.

The Rino Zandonai Association is a beneficiary of the joint programme of the European Union and the Council of Europe "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022". The views expressed in this text are the responsibility of the author and do not represent the official views of the European Union and the Council of Europe.