Journalist Under Investigation by the State Prosecution
Kodeks za štampu
26 November 2009For the first time since war-crimes trials began in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the State Prosecution opens an investigation against a journalist for disclosing the identity of a protected witness.
The first investigation has been opened after four years in which tens of protected witnesses, whose identity was intentionally or otherwise disclosed by the media, were examined at about 70 war-crimes trials.
BIRN - Justice Report has learned that the investigation is being conducted against a reporter working with a bi-weekly magazine, who disclosed the identity of a witness - a victim of a multiple rape, who testified at a hearing closed to the public.
"The newspaper published various kinds of things about me, wounding and humiliating me even more. A criminal proceeding is now being conducted against the journalist and the newspaper editorial team. (...) I have received support from the Prosecution and protection from the police, but the pain I feel inside me and the humiliation are getting bigger and bigger every day," the witness whose identity was disclosed told BIRN - Justice Report. She does not live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but has permanent protection. .......................
Disclosing a protected witness' identity is against the law; it also represents a violation of professional ethics. In December 2006, the Press Council, VZS, and the Association of Court Reporters, AIS, jointly amended the existing Press Code, adding an article referring to "respecting protected witnesses' identity", and calling for information that could endanger the safety or lives of such people not to be published.