The inability of certain individuals and institutions to understand and accept Bosnia and Herzegovina in all her identity, worldview and political differences has recently been leading towards ever dangerous and open hate speech in public and media space. The fact that such practices are more and more often coming from Sarajevo, which as the capital city should be a positive example of tolerance and coexistence of all our differences and particularities, is especially worrying. Therefore, the Departement for culture, sport, media and information of the Main council of the HNS BiH sends a clear message to all spheres of Bosnian-Herzegovinian public that it firmly stands and supports the fact that building an integrated society and a stable and functional state is done through accepting and harmonizing our plurality, rather than negating and rejecting our particularities, including national, political, religious, worldview, ideological, gender or any other particularity of any nature.
Sadly, there has been constructed a public narrative for many years which serves the interest of one political option of one of the peoples and creates a social atmosphere in which it is entirely legitimate to denounce everyone who does not agree with that narrative as aggressors, fascists, criminals and to enable a public and media lynch against them. Such public, societal and political atmosphere, after some time, inevitably leads towards an increase in hate speech in the public space and towards ever more crude and brutal attacks not only on the social and professional integrity of a specific person, but also on their physical integrity and their very life.
These days, we are witnesses of such attacks on the journalist of the news-portal Dnevnik.ba from Mostar, Gloria Lujanović. Therefore, with this statement, the Departement for culture, sport, media and information of the Main council of the HNS BiH expresses support to Ms. Lujanović and to all journalists, as well as to all public workers in BiH which are victims of the hate speech, pressure and threats of any kind just because they are conscientiously and responsibly doing their job. All public workers, as well as any person which works in the public sphere and gives public statements, can and should be a subject of public reaction and judgements of their activities, but no one has the right to use hate speech and threat with violence while doing so.
In democratic societies, the freedom of speech is one of the basic human rights, and free media serves as a crucial correction of all societal deviations and a tool of building a societal trust and solidarity. It is equally harmful for any democratic society to limit the media freedom, to attack and threat the journalist, but as well, to abuse the media and spread hate speech in the public space in the name of journalistic and media freedom. Maturity and democracy level of one society is reflected in, among other things, finding the right balance between affirming media freedom and limiting media manipulations. Still, one thing that must be undisputed and towards which all citizens and all institutions in this country must have a zero-tolerance policy is public hate speech and any form of public threats and calls for violence.
Therefore, the Departement for culture, sport, media and information of the Main council of the HNS BiH calls all relevant state bodies and authorities, including the police, to take all legal actions in order to as soon as possible limit and suppress the hate speech which we are witnessing in public and media space. Furthermore, we call all spheres of public, as well as all institutions, non-governmental organizations and representatives of the international community in BiH to actively take part in the process of condemning and preventing hate speech in public and media space, no matter where it comes from and from whom it comes from.
Ivan Vukoja, Head of the Departement for culture, sport, media and information of the Main council of the HNS BiH