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Political polarisation, ethnic divisions hurt Bosnia's press freedom - RSF

Political polarisation, ethnic divisions hurt Bosnia's press freedom - RSF Media freedom

SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina), April 18 (SeeNews) - Bosnia has fallen 1 position to 63rd spot in the latest freedom of press ranking compiled by Reporters Without Borders, the international non-governmental organisation said on Thursday.

"The polarised political climate, marked by constant verbal attacks and nationalist rhetoric, has created a hostile environment for press freedom," Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its 2019 World Press Freedom Index report.

Editorial policies reflecting ethnic divisions and hate speech are ever more evident, RSF noted, adding that journalists are attacked for their ethnic origins as well as for what they write.

"Defamation suits by politicians often serve to intimidate journalists and deter them from pursuing their work," RSF pointed out.

Media ownership concentration is a source of concern, especially as ownership is not transparent. Employment conditions for journalists are precarious: they are hired on short contracts and are paid little, according to RSF.

"Reporting was recently obstructed in the city of Banja Luka in connection with protests over the unexplained death of a young man, David Dragicevic, which have continued for months".

The authorities have been restricting both the freedom to demonstrate and coverage of the demonstrations, RSF noted.

Published by RSF annually since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries using the following criteria – pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.

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