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Media Reports about Karadzic Trial

Media in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the region and the World have not shown much interest in reporting on testimonies at Radovan Karadzic's trial before the Hague Tribunal – this is a conclusion of an analysis done by the Balkans Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BIRN BiH.

On Thursday BIRN BiH organized a presentation of publication titled “History Overshadowed by Trivia 2”, which analyzes the way in which print media and news agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the region and the world have followed Karadzic's trial over the course of the first year.

“I am not surprised by the result of the publication. It shows that the media are not much interested in substance of trials. In most cases, they follow indictees' initial appearances and some other significant moments, but they poorly cover witnesses' statements, which are of essential importance,” said Faida Rahmanovic, Editor of the publication.

The analysis has further demonstrated that media reports contain considerable amount of journalists' comments and reporting is often biased.

“Journalists tend to give their personal comments. This draws attention away from the substance and leaves facts in the background,” said Rahmanovic, SENSE Agency journalist, who reports from trials held before the Hague Tribunal.

Radosa Milutinovic, journalist with BETA agency, who has followed trials conducted before the Tribunal since 2002, said that a few journalists monitored trials when they entered evidence presentation phase, adding that, in some instances media cover parts of trials only.

“Nevertheless, we should not blame all this on the media. They reflect the situation in the society. They cannot jump out of their skin because of their financial dependency,” Milutinovic said.

Nerma Jelacic, Spokesperson of the Hague Tribunal, too noticed that the media superficially followed trials and always gave priority to banality over facts.

“The media are looking for sensations in court proceedings, but the responsibility does not always rest with the media only, but also the persons who give out such information,” Jelacic said.

Anisa Suceska-Vekic, Director of BIRN, reminded the participants that the agency had published an analysis of media reports on Karadzic arrest in the previous year. She mentioned that, in addition to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the countries in this region, this year's publication also covered the most important world media agencies.

The publication was published in cooperation with the “Konrad Adenauer Stiftung” Foundation, which recognized the importance of the facing the past concept.

“The facing the past concept means that, if crimes were committed, the responsible persons should be processed and facts determined. Sensations and drawing attention away certainly do not contribute to that,” said Erdin Kadunic of the “Konrad Adenauer Stiftung” Foundation.

Representatives of judicial institutions, NGOs and the media attended the launch of the publication.

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