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Accept and Respect the Guidelines

The Guidelines for publishing prosecutorial and court decisions on Internet pages should be accepted and respected by all representatives of judicial bodies, because they represent a balance between the right to privacy and the right to access information, participants in a meeting held in Travnik conclude.

The educational and working meeting was organized by the Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN of BiH, in Travnik on November 12. The meeting was attended by the media, as well as well as representatives of judicial and investigative bodies. It offered an opportunity to its participants to exchange experiences with the aim of accomplishing better co-operation.

The participants spoke about the practices of informing the public in that town and problems the journalists, as well as representatives of courts and prosecutions, are facing. All of them greeted the Guidelines issued by the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, HJPC, which, as they said, would ensure better work and co-operation.

According to the The Guidelines for publishing prosecutorial and court acts on Internet pages, confirmed indictments and verdicts in war crimes cases can be published without mentioning initials and anonymising other names and titles.

“We consider that full names of indictees should be published in the media from the moment when indictments against them are confirmed. Believe me it is very hard for me too to give statements using initials. Acts from the investigation phase should not be published,” said Edina Jaganjac, Spokesperson of the Cantonal Prosecution in Travnik.

She mentioned that this Prosecution had already adopted the Guidelines and its own Rulebook. Jaganjac expressed satisfaction with co-operation with journalists, who “have never misused” any of her statements.

The journalists said that courts should be more prompt when dealing with the media in order to ensure mutual co-operation.

“I would like to ask representatives of courts and prosecutions to simplify the information they send to journalists, so they could understand them and convey them to the public as adequately as possible,” said Vitez Radio journalist Dragana Sivonjic.

This journalist pointed out that the Ministry of Internal Affairs offered information to the media most promptly.

Zuhdija Cosic, judge with the Cantonal Court in Travnik, called for mutual understanding between the media and representatives of judicial bodies, saying that wrongly interpreted statements presented in the public were to the detriment of the Court.

“The Guidelines were made by highly professional people, who dealt with all segments and laws. They are not obligatory, because that is what the international standards say at the moment, but I have nothing to add. All the rights have been embedded in them. They should be respected. My recommendation is not to assess the value of the Guidelines any more, but adopt them,” Cosic said.

At this meeting it was concluded that representatives of the media should respect the professional and ethical standards in order not to violate the rights of any of the parties to proceedings.

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