BiH2.0 PERCEPCIJE PERCEPTIONS

SESIJA #4

Poticanje društvene saradnje i saradnje među zajednicama

Saradnja između tri konstitutivna naroda je prioritet za sve međunarodne aktere u BiH.Međutim, nije napredovala kako se nadalo. Ni mediji ni civilni sektor nisu bili jaki i dovoljno nezavisni da povedu ovaj proces. Međunarodna strategija bila je nuđenje fondova u zamjenu za saradnju.Ovo nije bio dovoljan podsticaj. Za razliku od odnosa u domaćem poslovanju gdje ljudi treba da sarađuju iz lične finansijske potrebe, društvena komunikacija i saradnja nisu napredovali . Spomenuto je nekoliko razloga. Jedan je fizička podjela tri “konstitutivna naroda” na dvije – ali de facto tri – teritorijalne jedinice. S obzirom na slabu infrastrukturu i multiplikaciju institucija, kontakt među zajednicama je bio veoma nizak i težak na nekim mjestima (ruralna područja, Mostar, Banjaluka, podijeljeno Sarajevo).

Zajednice ostaju veoma podijeljene duž etničkih i vjerskih linija, psihološki koliko i fizički.Pismo iz Dejtona je uzeto kao ad absurdum po stvaranju etničkih ključeva čak i u institucijama gdje takvi aranžmani nikad prije nisu viđeni (primjer je Konkurencijsko vijeće, koje sada traži dva Bošnjaka, dva bosanska Hrvata i dva bosanska Srbina). Vanjsko insistiranje na stvaranju jednoobraznog bosanskog građanskog identiteta naišlo je na snažan otpor iznutra, što znači da su u nekim slučajevima etno-nacionalni identiteti ustvari ojačani. Kad izgleda da su partikularni identiteti u opasnosti zbog šireg inkluzivnog identiteta, ljudi su skloni da stoje uz njih.U bosanskom slučaju etno-nacionalni identiteti su direktno povezani s religijom, što ih čini sve moćnijim. Religija može da ima i ulogu razdvajanja – što se vidjelo tokom rata u 1990-im – ali i ujedinjenja naglašavajući univerzalne vrijednosti i principe.

Bosanska medijska scena, koja bi mogla imati ključnu ulogu u široj komunikaciji, daleko od toga da je slobodna. U posljednje vrijeme sve je više izvještaja o fizičkim napadima na novinare. U isto vrijeme, političari zloupotrebljavaju zakone o kleveti protiv novinara.Novinari trenutno imaju ograničen podsticaj da bi se bavili istraživačkim novinarstvom. Njihove plate su veoma niske a istraživačko novinarstvo suviše opasno. Tu su i dodatni ekonomski pritisci.Kao i drugi stanovnici i novinari se plaše za svoja radna mjesta.Sve to čini istraživanje slučajeva političke korumpiranosti i javne potrošnje suviše opasnim. Stoga praktikuju autocenzuru ili se ograničavaju na informativno izvještavanje. Glavne medijske kuće su direktno povezane (ili su u vlasništvu) s vodećim političkim strankama. Nema dovoljno pritiska da bi se inicirale javne sveobuhvatne reforme, što posebno zabrinjava pošto televizija i dalje privlači najširu publiku i tako je najmoćniji medij. Fokusiranje na medije – posebno na TV i online portale – treba da bude u središtu međunarodne pažnje.

Medijski sektor može biti mobilisan da bude ili partner za reforme ili, alternativno, “partner u zločinu”, što su pokazali protesti u februaru 2014. i udruženi medijski spin. Uprkos ocjeni o letargiji društva u BiH, protesti su pokazali da je mobilizacija javnosti moguća i da se čak i političke elite plaše masovne publike, iako su još uvijek u stanju da preusmjere strah ka publici traumatizovanoj ratom. Jedna lekcija iz protesta bila je da su upozorenja na stvarne opasnosti od povratka u nasilje efikasna strategija za smanjenje nivoa i žestine javnog gnjeva, ma koliko bio opravdan: bosanski političari takođe mogu koristiti krize kao mogućnosti. Neophodno je uključenje javnosti i pobjeda argumenta za put u EU-NATO da bi se prevazišao otpor partijskih elita.

Civilno društvo u Bosni treba da bude drugi aktivni učesnik u reformskoj agendi.Međutim, do sada je to bilo isparčano ne samo duž etničkih linija nego i unutar-etnički. Vlada jaka konkurencija za međunarodne fondove i odvojeni pogledi na ciljeve: čak ni udruženja žrtava nisu u stanju da se slože oko zajedničkih ciljeva i prioriteta. Poznato je da nevladin sektor ima lošu reputaciju. Kako je jedan učesnik primijetio, na nevladin sektor se gledalo kroz prizmu humanitarne pomoći više nego kao na građanski angažman. Njihov glavni cilj nije bio aktivirati građane nego raspodjela robe.Poslijeratni brz rast projekata NVO rezultirao je niskim poštovanjem njihovih aktivnosti . Mnogi NVO i projekti postavljeni su sa političkom agendum, a njihovi menadžeri su se obogatili u procesu. Civilno društvo, mediji i intelektualci često iznose iste stavove i prave greške kao političari.

Stoga međunarodni pristup treba da bude podržati samo one organizacije čiji su projekti propisno ocijenjeni i da su se pokazali kao apolitični: iako spremni da se angažuju u politici i tako imaju pravi uticaj. Neki učesnici su uočili da iako je pozdravljeno usmjeravanje međunarodne podrške za NVO, tako i ohrabrenje novoformiranih inicijativa, posebno od strane mladih, treba da aktivira bosansku javnost. Podržati transformaciju plenuma u političke pokrete koji su u stanju da ustanu protiv postojećih političkih elita, jedan je od puteva naprijed da bi se ohrabrilo i ojačalo civilno društvo. Drugi su uočili da je ovo donijelo mnoge političke rizike. Naveden je primjer nove političke partije Vetévendosje (“Samoopredjeljenje”) na Kosovu, koja je nastala iz pokreta civilnog društva, a koja je postala jedan od glavnih ometača dijaloga Priština-Beograd pod međunarodnom kapom. I pored toga potrebna je akcija i mobilizacija bosanskog stanovništva: jačanje individualnih i socijalnih elemenata na račun etničkih. Neaktivnost može imati ozbiljne posljedice za sigurnost.Ali može i akcija u zemlji kao što je BiH, gdje uvijek postoji izvjestan nivo rizika – i sigurnosnog i političkog.Naglašeno je da je nivo nasilja u Mostaru u februaru 2014.bio zabrinjavajuće blizu povratku u oružani sukob.

Ova sesija je pokazala da komunikacija kroz društvo, angažman i aktiviranje bosanske javnosti njihovim uključivanjem u političke debate može da bude potencijalan put naprijed. Bosanske političke elite su krajnje nervozne zbog stava javnosti.Ovo bi trebalo iskoristiti u interesu promicanja reformi i gradnje političke volje potrebne da se one ostvare.

SESSION #4

Enhancing societal and inter-communal cooperation

Cooperation between the three constituent peoples is the over-arching priority of all international actors in BiH. However, it has not progressed as hoped. Neither the media nor the civil sector have been strong and independent enough to lead this process. The international strategy has been to offer funding in exchange for cooperation. This has not been a sufficient incentive. Unlike in domestic business relations, where people need to cooperate out of personal financial need, societal communication and cooperation have not been advancing . Several causes were discussed. One is the physical division of the three “constituent peoples” into two – but de facto three – territorial units. Given the poor state of infrastructure, and multiplication of institutions, cross-community contact has been very low and difficult in some places (rural areas, Mostar, Banja Luka, divided Sarajevo).

The communities remain highly divided along ethnic and religious lines, psychologically as well as physically. The letter of Dayton has been taken ad absurdum by the creation of ethnic keys even in institutions where such arrangements were never foreseen (an example is the Competition Council, which now requires two Bosniaks, two Bosnian Croats, and two Bosnian Serbs). External insistence on the creation of an all-encompassing Bosnian civic identity met with strong resistance from within, meaning that in some cases ethno-national identities have in fact been strengthened. When particularistic identities seem to be in danger because of broader inclusive identities, people have a tendency to cling to them. In the Bosnian case, ethno-national identities are directly linked to religion, which makes them all the more powerful. Religion can have both a divisive role – as exemplified during the 1990s war – but also a unifying role by stressing universal values and principles.

The Bosnian media scene, which could play a crucial role in enhanced communication, is far from free. Reports of physical attacks on journalists have been growing recently. At the same time, politicians have been misusing defamation laws against journalists. Journalists have currently only limited incentives to pursue investigative journalism. Their salaries are very low and investigative reporting is too risky. There are additional economic pressures. Like the rest of the Bosnian population, journalists fear for their jobs. All this makes investigations of political corruption cases and public procurement too dangerous. They therefore practice self-censorship or limit themselves to informative reporting. The main media houses are directly linked to (or owned by) the leading political parties. There has not been sufficient pressure to initiate public broadcasting reforms, which is particularly alarming since television still attracts the highest audience and is thus the most powerful medium. Focusing on the media – especially the TV and online portals – should be at the centre of international attention.

The media sector can be mobilized to be either a partner for reform or, alternatively, a “partner in crime”, as exemplified during the February 2014 protests and the associated media spin. Despite assessment of societal lethargy in BiH, the protests demonstrated that public mobilization is possible and that even political elites are scared of the mass public, though they are still able to re-direct the fear back at the war-traumatized public. One lesson from the protests was that warnings of the real dangers of a relapse into violence were an effective strategy for reducing the level and vehemence of public anger, however justified: Bosnian politicians can also use crises as opportunities. Involving the public and winning the argument for the EU-NATO path is indispensable if the resistance of the party elites is to be overcome.

Civil society in Bosnia should be another active participant in the reform agenda. However, until now it has been highly fragmented not only along ethnic lines, but also intra-ethnically. There is strong competition for international funding and divergent views on goals; even victim associations have been incapable of agreeing on common objectives and sets of priorities. Publicly, the NGO sector has a bad reputation. As one participant noted, after the war NGOs were viewed only through the prism of humanitarian aid rather than civic engagement. Their main aim had not been to activate citizens but to distribute goods. The post-war rapid proliferation of NGO projects resulted in low esteem for their activities . Many NGOs and projects had also been set up with a political agenda, whereby their managers enriched themselves in the process. Civil society, the media and intellectuals often exhibit the same attitudes and faults as the politicians.

The international approach should thus be to support only those organizations whose projects have been properly evaluated and which have proven themselves to be apolitical: though ready to engage in politics and thus have a real impact. Some participants noted that although streamlining international support for NGOs is welcomed, so is encouraging newly formed initiatives, especially by the youth, to activate the Bosnian public. Supporting the transformation of the plena into political movements capable of standing against the existing political elites was suggested as one way forward to encourage and empower civil society. Others noted that this bore many political risks. There is the example of the new political party Vetëvendosje (‘Self-Determination’) in Kosovo, established from civil society movements, which has become one of the main spoilers of the internationally led Pristina-Belgrade dialogue. Nonetheless, action and mobilization of the Bosnian population are needed: strengthening individual and social elements at the expense of the ethnic. Inaction can have serious security consequences. But so can action in a country like BiH, where there is always a certain level of risk – both security and political. It was stressed that the level of violence in Mostar in February 2014 came worryingly close to a relapse into armed conflict.

This session showed that cross-society communication, engagement, and activation of the Bosnian public by involving them in the political debates might be a potential way forward. Bosnian political elites are ultimately nervous about the public view. This should be used in the interest of promoting reforms, and building the political will necessary to achieve them.
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