Toby Vogel :

Sloboda medija i integritet na Zapadnom Balkanu: Najnoviji razvoj

Ovo je važan uvid za vlade, međunarodne organizacije, savjetodavne skupine i strane donatore da traže jačanje slobodnih medija na Zapadnom Balkanu. U nesavršenom svijetu gdje je vladavina prava rutinski ugrožena uskim interesima, novi zakoni i odredbe su samo jedna dimenzija jačanja sloboda. Traži se duboki angažman politike zemlje da razumije i promijeni, kulturu gledanja na medije kao pijuna u visokim ulozima i kulturu nekažnjavanja onih koji su u vlasti.

28.04.2015.

Toby Vogel :

Media freedom and integrity in the Western Balkans: Recent developments

This is an important insight for governments, international organisations, advocacy groups and foreign donors seeking to strengthen the free media in the Western Balkans. In an imperfect world where the rule of law is routinely challenged by entrenched interests, rewriting laws and regulations is but one dimension of strengthening freedom. A deep engagement with a country’s politics is required to understand, and change, a culture of viewing media as a pawn in a high-stakes game, and a culture of impunity for those in power.

28.04.2015.

Sažetak

Tokom posljednjih nekoliko mjeseci sloboda medija u Bosni i Hercegovini, Makedoniji i Srbiji je u oštrom padu. Dokaz o ovome je nekoliko izrazitih slučajeva. U decembru 2014, u Bosni, policija je upala na internet portal nakon objave snimka koji je bio neugodan za vladajuću partiju bosanskih Srba. U Makedoniji, niz snimljenih razgovora koje je ove godine objavila opozicija doveo je vladu u pitanje pošto traži odbacivanje dokaza da je rutinski pratila i vršila pritisak na novinare i urednike. A u Srbiji, premijer Aleksandar Vučić javno je osudio publikacije čije mu se pisanje na dopada, napadajući zvaničnike EU da stoje iza reportaža.

Osim posebnih slučajeva pritisaka od strane vlada ili drugih političkih aktera, novinari na Zapadnom Balkanu suočeni su i sa veoma teškim ekonomskim uslovima u kojima trka za rijetkim oglasima - uglavnom od javnih ustanova – stavlja medije u ovisnički položaj. Direktna i indirektna umiješanost vlasti u izvještavanje je svakodnevna pojava.

U situaciji gdje je izborna politika često žestoko konkurentna a vladavina prava nepotpuna, iskušenje je veliko za one na vlasti ili one koji traže vlast, da izvrše pritisak na medije zbog svoje političke agende. Informacija se tretira kao valuta u igri nulte sume. Vrijednosti slobode medija i slobode izražavanja ostaće beznačajni osim ako se propisno ne ugrade u domaće pravo i primjenjuju pravedno i nepristrasno. Otud i hitna potreba za boljim zakonima i regulativama da bi se novinari i urednici zaštitili od nepriličnog uticaja.

Odgovornost direktno pada na vlade Zapadnog Balkana i one – prije svega Evropsku uniju – koji obezbjeđuju pomoć.

U isto vrijeme, vlade, EU i strani donatori moraju razmišljati kako da odu iza pravno-institucionalnog pristupa prema slobodi medija i razviju inovativne načine podrške nezavisnim medijima.

Executive Summary

Media freedom has declined sharply in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia over the past several months. Several high-profile cases are evidence of this decline. In Bosnia in December 2014, police raided an internet portal after the publication of a recording that embarrassed the Bosnian Serb ruling party. In Macedonia, a series of wiretapped conversations released by the opposition this year has put the government on the defensive as it seeks to dismiss evidence that it has routinely monitored and pressured reporters and editors. And in Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, the prime minister, has been publicly denouncing publications whose coverage displeases him, and attacking EU officials who he claims are behind the coverage.

In addition to particular cases of harassment by governments or other political actors, journalists in the Western Balkans are also facing increasingly difficult economic conditions in which competition for scarce advertising - notably from public bodies - puts media in a position of dependence. Direct and indirect interference by the authorities in everyday coverage is commonplace.

In a situation where electoral politics is often fiercely competitive but the rule of law incomplete, the temptation is great for those in power, or those seeking power, to pressure the media in pursuit of their political agendas. Information is treated as currency in a zero-sum game. Values of media freedom and freedom of expression will remain meaningless unless properly enacted in domestic law and enforced fairly and impartially. Hence, there is a pressing need for better laws and regulation to shield reporters and editors from undue influence.

Responsibility falls squarely on the governments of the Western Balkans and on those - primarily the European Union - that provide assistance.

At the same time, governments, the EU and foreign donors must think of ways to go beyond a legal-institutional approach to freedom of media and to develop innovative ways to support independent media.

Uvod

Čak i letimičan pogled na nedavne izvještaje iz Bosne i Hercegovine, Makedonije i Srbije pokazaće da je tokom protekle godine sloboda medija u regionu izrazito opala. Na cijelom Zapadnom Balkanu pojačale su se političke borbe koje uveliko ugrožavaju slobodu medija. Vlasnici medija, njihove publikacije i novinari koji rade za njih su došli pod ogroman pritisak političkih aktera koji osjećaju da su upali u igru nulte sume. Depresivno ekonomsko okruženje pojačalo je osjećaj da su mediji pod opsadom, pošto trka za malim oglasnim budžetom postaje oštrija. Ovaj izvještaj, dobijen iz materijala dostupnih javnosti, nudi snimak nedavnih otkrića koji su pogodili slobodu medija širom regiona. To nije sistematska studija trendova tokom vremena.

Međutim, prikupljeni pouzdani dokazi i izvještaji pojedinih novinara, lokalnih i međunarodnih savjetodavnih grupa, i Organizacije za sigurnost i saradnju u Evropi kao i Evropske komisije govore o regulatornom, političkom i ekonomskom okruženju koje sve više otežava rad slobodnih medija u regionu.

Ovaj pregled takođe naglašava da pravno-institucionalni pogled na slobodu medija ne uspijeva shvatiti pravo stanje stvari u okruženju gdje je vladavina prava samo djelimično osigurana. Iako su važna dobra pravila, ostaju beznačajna sve dok ih tužitelji, sudije i policija primjenjuju selektivno a političari znaju da mogu proći ako ih krše. Većina zemalja na Zapadnom Balkanu ima pravne mehanizme koji bi trebali da zaštite slobodu medija – ali u praksi, mnoge odredbe ostaju mrtvo slovo na papiru pošto se u njihovu primjenu upliću politički interesi.

Uzmimo primjer Bosne i Hercegovine, koja ima neke od najstrožijih zakona i institucija u regionu koje štite slobodu medija, donesenih uz međunardnu podršku (i povremeni pritisak). Ipak, to je grubo i izazovno okruženje za novinare koji svoj posao prihvataju ozbiljno – baš kao u susjednim zemljama sa manje strogim odredbama. “Iako je ideja o samoregulisanju (medija) duboko ukorijenjena u Bosni i Hercegovini, u okruženju gdje se zakoni implementiraju u skladu sa političkim interesima, efekat je ograničen”, pišu autori “Pitanja integriteta medija”, studiji iz 2014. koju je provelo Društvo za praćenje medija u jugoistočnoj Evropi. Jednaki argumenti, u različitom stepenu, mogu se primijeniti za sve zemlje u regionu.

Ovo je važan uvid za vlade, međunarodne organizacije, savjetodavne skupine i strane donatore da traže jačanje slobodnih medija na Zapadnom Balkanu. U nesavršenom svijetu gdje je vladavina prava rutinski ugrožena uskim interesima, novi zakoni i odredbe su samo jedna dimenzija jačanja sloboda. Traži se duboki angažman politike zemlje da razumije i promijeni, kulturu gledanja na medije kao pijuna u visokim ulozima i kulturu nekažnjavanja onih koji su u vlasti.

Ovaj izvještaj fokusira se na tri zemlje u kojima je pitanje slobode medija najakutnije i u kojima se posljednjih mjeseci stanje pogoršalo: Bosna i Hercegovina, Makedonija i Srbija. A sve tri su u potpunoj demokratiji – demokratski sistemi bez vladavine prava. Makedonijom i Srbijom vladaju silnici koji zatežu stisak na institucije države iako pokazuju znake demokratije. Bosna i Hercegovina, zahvaljujući svom iskomadanom političkom ustrojstvu, nudi više prostora za slobodu izražavanja, ali tu je ta sloboda sve više uskraćena.

Ovo, međutim, ne znači da su pitanja naglašena u ovom izvještaju nevažna za Albaniju, Kosovo i Crnu Goru. I one su suočene sa posebnom mješavinom haotične deregulacije i opresivne vlade, malog i iskomadanog tržišta, što medije čini ranjivijim pod ekonomski pritiskom a pristup pobjednik uzima sve u demokratskoj konkurenciji koja nastoji da ušutka političkog protivnika.

Introduction

Even the most cursory glance at recent reports from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia would suggest that media freedom in the region has declined quite sharply over the past year. Across the Western Balkans, the political battles that are most likely to compromise media freedom have intensified. Media owners, their publications and the journalists who work for them have come under massive pressure from political actors who feel that they are joined in a zero-sum game. The depressed economic environment has sharpened a sense that the media are under siege, as competition for scarce advertising budgets gets fiercer. This report, compiled from open-source materials, provides a snapshot of recent developments affecting media freedom across the region. It is not a systematic study of trends over time.

However, accumulated anecdotal evidence and reports from individual journalists, from local and international advocacy groups, and from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Commission suggest a regulatory, political and economic environment that is making the work of free media increasingly difficult across the region.

What this snapshot also highlights, however, is that a legal-institutional view of media freedom will fail to capture the real state of affairs in an environment where the rule of law is at best only partially assured. While good rules are important, they remain meaningless as long as prosecutors, judges and the police apply them selectively and politicians know they can get away with reaching them. Most countries in the Western Balkans have decent legal mechanisms that should ensure a free media - but in practice, many provisions remain dead letter as political interests interfere with their application.

Take the example of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has some of the region’s strongest laws and institutions protecting media freedom, passed with international support (and occasional pressure). Nevertheless, it is a tough and challenging environment for journalists who take their job seriously - just like in neighbouring countries with less stringent regulation. “Although the idea of [media] self-regulation has taken the deepest root in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the environment where the laws are implemented in accordance with political interests its effect is restricted in scope,” write the authors of “Media Integrity Matters”, a 2014 study conducted by the South East European Media Observatory. Equal arguments could be made about all the countries in the region, to varying degrees.

This is an important insight for governments, international organisations, advocacy groups and foreign donors seeking to strengthen the free media in the Western Balkans. In an imperfect world where the rule of law is routinely challenged by entrenched interests, rewriting laws and regulations is but one dimension of strengthening freedom. A deep engagement with a country’s politics is required to understand, and change, a culture of viewing media as a pawn in a high-stakes game, and a culture of impunity for those in power.

This report focuses on the three countries where issues of media freedom appear most acute and where there has been the most pronounced deterioration in recent months: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia. All three are in complete democracies—democratic systems without the rule of law. Macedonia and Serbia are governed by strongmen who are tightening their grip on the institutions of the state while preserving the outward trappings of democracy. Bosnia-Herzegovina, thanks to its fragmented political set-up, provides more space for freedom of expression, but there, too, this freedom is increasingly being curtailed.

This does not, however, mean that the issues touched upon in this report are irrelevant to Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. They, too, are faced with a peculiar mixture of chaotic de-regulation and overbearing governments, small and fragmented markets that make media more vulnerable to economic pressure, and a winner-takes-all approach to democratic competition that seeks to silence political opponent.

Toby Vogel je pisac o međunarodnim pitanjima sa sjedištem u Briselu. U periodu 2007-14. bio je član redakcije European Voice, a prethodno saradnik i urednik u Transitions Online u Sarajevu. Radio je za Open Society Institute, International Rescue Committee i United Nations Development Programme u Beču, Njujorku i na Balkanu. On je viši saradnik Democratization Policy Council (Vašington, D.C, i Berlin) a 2003.saradnik Andrew W. Mellon za pitanja sigurnosti i humanitarna pitanja na City University New York.

Toby Vogel is a writer on international affairs based in Brussels. In 2007-14, he was a staff writer with European Voice, and previously an associate editor with Transitions Online based in Sarajevo. He has worked for the Open Society Institute, the International Rescue Committee and the United Nations Development Programme in Vienna, New York, and in the Balkans. He is a senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council (Washington, D.C., and Berlin) and a 2003 Andrew W. Mellon fellow in security and humanitarian affairs at City University New York.

Izvještaj je objavljen na European Fund for the Balkans web stranici (mart 2015.)

Prevod: Dijalog BiH2.0

This report was published on the European Fund for the Balkans website (March 2015).

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