Serbian journalist receives death threats after being verbally attacked by Republika Srpska president

September 1, 2018

Milorad Dodik, president of the autonomous B-H entity of Republika Srpska, has accused Dino Jahić and the Belgrade-based Centre for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS), of which Jahić is editor-in-chief, of running “a centre that destroys political structures in the region with money from international organisations.”

Some of the largest media companies in Republika Srpska, including Radio-Television Republika Srpska, reported earlier that same day on a pamphlet containing an abundance of defamatory statements, some of which Dodik repeated at a press conference.

In this text, Jahić is accused, without any evidence, of – among other things – having at his disposal “funds of the UK, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia” worth 38 million dollars “for destroying governments at the will of powerful sponsors”.

Jahić dismissed all these charges, dubbing them untrue and offensive. He noted that since Dodik made his accusations he has received numerous threats via social networks, including death threats, which he reported to the police in Serbia.

Dodik’s shameful attack was condemned by journalist and media associations from Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the entire region, who also sought police protection for Jahić. They also noted that the CINS had received eight renowned domestic and international awards for journalism during the course of 2017, including one of the world’s top awards for investigative journalism – the European Press Prize.

Veran Matić, president of the Commission for Investigating Murders of Journalists, recalled that investigative journalists are the most exposed to drastic threats because they deal with research into local, regional and global crime and corruption.

He recalled investigative journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia from Malta and Ján Kuciak from Slovakia, who were both killed to prevent them investigating further.

“We are obliged to do everything we can to prevent something similar happening in our country and this region,” said Matić.

Just a few days later, in the Republika Srpska capital of Banja Luka, BN TV journalist Vladimir Kovačević was attacked in front of the building in which he lives by two unidentified assailants armed with metal rods.

Kovačević previously received a large number of serious threats on social networks that he regularly reported to the police, but the authorities failed to react.

This was the 11th physical attack of a journalist in the Western Balkans this year – the largest number of them have occurred in Serbia (4) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (3).