UNESCO has just released a new publication on the media landscape in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), making it a unique reference guide for national stakeholders in addressing challenges towards a free, independent and professional media environment.
The publication, Assessment of Media Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the result of a two-year intensive study conducted by the Center for Media Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CML) Sarajevo and the Faculty of Law of the University of Zenica, with the support of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
Structured around UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs), the publication examines the current media environment in BiH in five main areas: legal and regulatory framework; pluralism and diversity; the role of the media as a platform for democratic discourse; professional training and technical infrastructure to support independent and pluralistic media.
According to Kristina Ćendić, project coordinator of the CML, the release of the publication is more important than ever, especially during this time when there is an increased debate on how digital media are increasingly taking the role of legacy media in the country.
“The recommendations proposed in the study could in the long-term mitigate the risks of a lack of digital literacy that affects public opinion and allows for instant spread of inaccurate information and propaganda,” said Ćendić, who is also one of the authors of the publication.
Launched on 29 November 2019 at the Law Faculty of University of Zenica, the publication has been widely disseminated among concerned institutions in the country. Since then, “the publication has been regarded as the only publication of its kind in the country, which can have an important impact on the curriculum and education of young journalists and lawyers, as well as on the judiciary”, says Ćendić.
“It is hoped that the publication will become part of the curriculum for the Law Faculty, as a first step towards developing an exclusive course on media law and policy.”
Following the initial launch, a series of promotional activities have been taking place to ensure the outreach of the study, including the organization of launching events in several major cities in BiH and the establishment of cooperation agreements with different institutions.
“We expect that the relevant government authorities, representatives of the civil society, academia, technical communities and private sector will respond to the recommendations from their respective areas of expertise and will contribute to building a solid media landscape that serves all people in the country without exceptions,” Ćendić said.
UNESCO’s MDIs were developed and endorsed by the Intergovernmental Council of IPDC in 2008. Since then, they have become one of IPDC’s flagship initiatives and have been applied in nearly 40 countries.