Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday’s police raid on the Sarajevo headquarters of the Klix.ba news website as an unacceptable violation of the confidentiality of journalists sources.
Local media said Republika Srpska anti-corruption police and regular police carried out the search with the aim of identifying the source of a recording in which a woman, said to be Republika Srpska Prime Minister Željka Cvijanović, is heard acknowledging vote-buying during recent elections. Klix.ba posted the recording on its site in mid-November. According to the local media, the police copied data from computers in Klix.ba’s newsroom and confiscated journalistic material and documents. Le Courrier des Balkans reported that a police officer hit two of the website’s photographers during the raid. The police questioned editor Jasmin Hadžiahmetović, directors Dario Šimić and Mario Šimić and reporter Edita Gorjanac while the rest of the staff were forced to leave the premises. The police had questioned several of the website’s journalists about the recording in the past few days. “This raid is grave violation of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources and endangers investigative journalism,” Reporters Without Borders programme director Lucie Morillon said. “Bosnia and Herzegovina’s membership of the Council of Europe makes it all the more intolerable. The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly stressed that the protection of journalists’ sources is one of the cornerstones of media freedom.” The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatović, described the raid as a “grave and disproportionate intrusion into the journalists’ right to report about public interest issues.” Bosnia and Herzegovina, of which Republika Srpska is one of the component entities, is ranked 66th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.