Freedom of the Press - Bosnia-Herzegovina (2004)

Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 9
Political Influences: 20
Economic Pressures: 19
Total Score: 48

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 68
Religious Groups: Muslim (40 percent), Orthodox (31 percent), Roman Catholic (15 percent), Protestant (4 percent) other (10 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Serb (37 percent), Bosniak (48 percent), Croat (14 percent), other (1 percent)
Capital: Sarajevo

Freedom of expression is a key feature of both the constitution and the Human Rights Annex to the Dayton Peace Accords. However, the media landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina remains complex: Ruling political structures put pressure on the media; the ethnic division of the country poses an obstacle to the free flow of information; local and foreign investment in the media is insufficient; and press laws and media regulations are still being developed. Although defamation and slander were decriminalized in 2003, many individuals and institutions file civil defamation suits against media outlets asking for excessive compensation. Print media are characterized by strong divisions along ethnic and ideological lines. Currently 7 dailies are published, and more than 30 TV stations, of which 12 are public, are broadcasting. Most of the 97 private and 46 public radio stations are local, despite the existence of some nationwide stations. While some local radio stations carry independent news programming, most either limit their broadcasts to entertainment or focus on local political and ethnic interests. Although some cases of verbal harassment of journalists occurred in 2003, physical attacks on journalists were less frequent than in previous years. There is no official censorship body, but a regional court indirectly censored the media by imposing a temporary measure forbidding the top-rated daily Dnevni Avaz to write about Hilmo Selimovic, the director and major shareholder of the Sarajevo Brewery. A similar measure prevented the daily Dani from writing about Fahrudin Radoncic, owner of Avaz. Authorities continue to direct advertising revenue from government-owned companies away from critical news outlets.

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