RSF condemns proposed public order law in the Republika Srpska

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called on the parliament of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reject proposed amendments to a public order law that would penalise journalists who disrupt police operations.

Under the proposed amendments, reporters could be fined up to 750 euros and jailed for up to 60 days if, without prior permission, they photograph or film police officers or other public officials performing official duties.

“We call on the Republika Srpska’s national assembly to reject these amendments, which violate international standards and pose a serious threat to reporting freedom,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s European Union and Balkans desk. “The role of journalists all over the world is to provide public interest reporting without the need for prior consent from the police or any other public body.”

According to the MP that proposed the amendments, the aim is to simply to establish more precise penalties for violations of the public order law, but RSF is concerned about the vagueness of the proposals, and the government’s failure to provide any explanation of what constitutes “disrupting and obstructing the work of officials”.