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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
January 26, 2010


WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), today expressed concern with the current media climate in Bosnia and Herzegovina following a series of events indicating increasing political pressure on public broadcasting there.

In December Mehmed Agovic was removed from his position as Director-General at Bosnian-Herzegovinian Radio-Television, the statewide public broadcaster. This month managers removed Duska Jurisic from her job as head of political programming at Federation Radio-Television, one of the two entity public broadcasters; and last week the other entity broadcaster, Serb Republic Radio-Television, rebuffed Bosnia-Herzegovina’s communications regulator and refused to pay a fine leveled against it by the Communications Regulatory Authority.

“A free and independent media, both public and private, is a requirement for any properly functioning democracy,” Chairman Cardin said. “The current trends in Bosnia-Herzegovina would be worrying at any time, but they are a particular concern now on the eve of parliamentary elections.”

The Co-Chairmen called on all political actors in Bosnia-Herzegovina to strive to protect freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the independence of the public broadcast media.

“This year’s elections could be crucial to determining whether Bosnia-Herzegovina will continue its progress toward multi-ethnic democracy, a market economy undergirded by the rule of law, and full membership in Euro-Atlantic institutions,” said Co-Chairman Hastings. “The media in Bosnia-Herzegovina must be unencumbered so that it can contribute positively to the debate during the forthcoming campaign and beyond.”
Media Contact: Neil Simon
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Chairman Chris Smith (L), Bill Browder, author of Red Notice, and David Kramer, Senior Director for Human Rights and Human Freedom at the McCain Institute. Courtesy of The McCain Institute for International Leadership. (Feb. 2015)