for development of media literacy, free and professional journalism in BiH



Baring in mind very successful and efficient co-operation and achieved results in implementation of joint projects, the Press Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina, has for the fourth time in sequence, received a significant help from the German Embassy in Sarajevo, through the Stability Pact means from the Federal German Foreign Office, in order to improve important activities of the self-regulatory body, the Press Council in BiH, in this year:

• Certification of the Press Council in BiH and its Trainings by the EU Quality standard certificate ISO 9001:2008 in order to become a certified self-regulatory body with international quality management standard certificate;

• Establishment of e-Trainings on the new web-portal of the Press Council in BiH, providing a new interactive online training component for stakeholders;

• Educational program for graduate students of Faculties of Law in BiH, providing to 40 participants in 1x2 day educational workshop specified knowledge on Media Self-regulation, Defamation Laws, Human Rights, Mediation and Law for Free Access of information.

• „Media School of Ethics“ for students of four Faculties of Journalism in BiH, through 1x5 day long Media School of Ethics specified knowledge on professional Media Ethics, which is not given at the universities curricula.

• Cooperation with self-regulation bodies from the region at the Alliance of Independent Press Councils-AIPCE Annual Assembly, that will take place in Moscow this year, to make an annual report on work and efforts in achieving European standards of media self-regulation.

While signing the Agreement, ambassador of FR Germany in Sarajevo, H.E. Joachim Schmidt, emphasized that the Press Council in BiH works under the same principles and quality as the German Press Council, but with one difference: the German Press Council is supported from the state budget with 49% of total annual sum, without state interfering in its independent work. Ambassador Schmidt expressed his hopes that the BH government will recognize significant work of the Press Council in BiH, since it performs an important role in democracy development, fulfilling one of the important EU access conditions. Ambassador Schmidt, moreover, emphasized the further support of German Embassy to the Press Council in BiH.

In the past three years, the Press Council in BiH has, owing to financial support from the German Embassy in Sarajevo, realized numerous activities aimed to raise consciousness of different social groups on freedom of media, media reporting and mechanisms of protection from unprofessional media reporting. Media literacy program was specially developed. Numerous seminars with journalists and students of journalism, judges and law students, high school pupils and professors, PR and Info-meetings with citizens and different professional groups, promotional campaign of the Press Council in BiH via radio jingles and cinema advertisement, are only part of activities the Council conducted in this period, with support of the German Embassy in Sarajevo.

The Press Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina is self-regulatory body for print and on-line media, standing for application of professional media ethics and promotion of fast, truth and balanced informing. Providing an opportunity for citizens to submit complaints on contents published in print and on-line media, the Press Council in BiH enables the right on truth, at the same time protecting professional media standards and promoting the Press Code as ethical guideline for journalist and editors.

In past year, the Press Council in BiH has made significant positive steps forward in terms of professionalization of media, implementing relevant EU standards, such as Resolution 1636 of the Council of Europe which recommends establishment of self-regulation in on-line media for member countries. As of December 2010 the Press Council in BiH has extended its mandate of self-regulatory body to on-line media as well, also, enabling citizens to file complaint on contest of news portals.

The fact that in last year the Press Council received 400% more complaints than in first year of its work, is indicator that citizens use their right to complain, that they seek for the Press Council's mediation for publishing of their denial or reaction, i.e. they seek for moral satisfaction which is often more important than fines based on the Defamation Law.

Owing to help of the German Embassy in Sarajevo, more than 150 students of journalism from four Universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, participants of the Press Council’s School of Media Ethics, had an opportunity to take part in educational program based on practical work and training with national and international experts in field of media self-regulation.

Significant changes the Press Council in BiH achieved in field of media –courts relations, organizing, with financial support of the German Embassy in Sarajevo, different educational programs for judges, prosecutors or senior law students. The Press Code is now additional tool for judges in making verdicts in the defamation lawsuits. Also, educational program of the Press Council in BiH, upon request of very judges, was included in program of FBiH Center for Education of Judges and Prosecutors, as part of obligatory program that judges and prosecutors must go through during the year.

Dženat Dreković