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Insufficient Cooperation between Courts and the Media

Journalists, who follow trials before courts in Brcko District, say that access to information from courts is difficult for them, so they cannot always make reports in a timely manner.

Participants in a meeting of the Association of Court Reporters, AIS, held in Brcko on December 5 pointed out that the co-operation between the media on one hand and police and the Prosecution on the other was good, but it was difficult for them to access information from courts.

“When cases are taken over by the Court, journalists must contrive ways of obtaining information, as we do not know when hearings are held, when and why they are postponed, when they will be continued and so on…Sometimes we obtain information through private connections,” said Mirsad Arnautovic, reporter with Brcko Radio.

The participants pointed out that courts did not keep their webpages up to date and that the Appellate Court did not even inform the public when it pronounced a verdict.

Although they were invited, representatives of courts did not appear at this meeting.

Another topic covered by the meeting participants was anonymisation, i.e. mentioning initial letters instead of first and last names, in judicial documents, which was applied by some judicial institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Samir Beganovic, Secretary of the Brcko District Prosecution, said that the Agency for Protection of Personal Data of Bosnia and Herzegovina, requested the Prosecution to anonymise documents, so they did it.

He said that the Prosecution would consider the decision again, adding that, in case other judicial institutions decided not to implement it, the Brcko District Prosecution would do the same.

“We are now waiting for a critical majority of institutions to agree on the issue. We shall then decide how to act regarding this issue,” Beganovic said, adding that he did not know about a conclusion by the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to which it was no longer obligatory to apply anonymisation.

Other meeting participants included representatives of police, as well as the OSCE Missions from Brcko and Bijeljina.

It was pointed out that the co-operation between police and the Prosecution was extremely good. Representatives of police praised the good collaboration with the media as well.

This meeting is one in a series of meetings organized by AIS in collaboration with the Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, with the aim of improving collaboration between the media and judicial institutions and achieving transparency of judicial institutions and responsibility of the media.

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