Bosnian TV Editor threatening emails Over Srebrenica Symbol

Srebrenica Symbol

Marko Radoja told local media that he has received more than 200 threats via email and social media after telling presenters on the channel not to wear badges with flower symbols to commemorate the victims of Srebrenica during last week’s anniversary of the 1995 massacres.

The BHRT editor-in-chief is currently under police protection, local media reported.

The public broadcaster’s management board decided on Monday not to dismiss Radoja after the BHRT workers’ union called for his dismissal over the decision.

The management board of BHRT said it will hold a new session after all the information about the case is submitted, but cautioned that it does not have the power to sack Radoja.

“Only the TV station’s general manager can dismiss the editor-in-chief,” management board member Zoran Kesic told media after the session on Monday.

The BHRT workers’ union had argued that Radoja showed bias and breached both BHRT’s statute and the law.

“BHRT’s editor-in-chief believes neutrality is the basic principle of journalism; however, the union believes that the basic journalistic principle is objectivity, and the verdicts of international courts should be an objective attitude for any public broadcasting service,” the union said in a press release on July 13.

The Srebrenica massacres have been classified as genocide by international court verdicts. But the authorities in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity do not regard the massacres as genocide; a view shared by the Serbian authorities.

BHRT is one of three public broadcasters in the country. While BHRT operates across the whole state, each of Bosnia’s two entities have their own broadcasters - the Federation’s FTV and Republika Srpska's RTRS.

Radoja insisted that his decree was in line with professional standards.

“First of all, I must say that BHRT’s statute clearly stipulates the behaviour of news presenters and journalists of the Public Broadcasting Service. One must bear in mind that Bosnia had a rough history, the country is still in turmoil.

"It was because of this history that I made a decision, a recommendation and a plea that news presenters don’t wear the Srebrenica flower,” Radoja told media.

BIRN made several attempts to contact Radoja but received no response by the time of publication.

According to verdicts handed down by the Hague Tribunal and the Bosnian state court, more than 7,000 men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in the Srebrenica genocide in July 1995.

The Hague Tribunal and domestic courts have sentenced 45 people to 699 years in prison - plus three life sentences - for genocide, crimes against humanity and other offences against Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995.

There are still several ongoing cases, as well as cases which are not being prosecuted.