OSCE condemns attacks on Bosnian independent media

SARAJEVO, Jun 16, 2000 -- (Reuters) The European security organization's mission in Bosnia on Thursday condemned an attack on a journalist in Sarajevo and expressed concern about the safety of newsmen in the Balkan country.

"We are becoming increasingly concerned about the stepped-up attacks on media representatives and consider the environment to be more and more perilous for journalists in Bosnia," said Tanya Domi, a spokeswoman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Domi said Edin Avdic, a journalist with the independent Slobodna Bosnia magazine, approached the OSCE for assistance after he was verbally threatened by a Moslem party official and then physically assaulted by two unknown men last weekend.

In a statement submitted to the OSCE's Freemedia Helpline, Avdic alleged that the official of the ruling nationalist Moslem Party of Democratic Action (SDA) publicly threatened him last Sunday over his reporting of party affairs.

Avdic said he was assaulted several hours later at the entrance to his home by two men who warned him he would be killed the next time.

The attack on Avdic was the latest in a number of incidents involving local media and the authorities.

Last week the tax police raided the premises of the daily Dnevni Avaz, previously considered close to the SDA, without an explanation or a court order. "It had an intimidating and chilling effect on the press," the OSCE said in a statement.

That attack followed an assault on a Dnevni Avaz journalist by a driver of Prime Minister Edhem Bicakcic of Bosnia's Moslem-Croat federation, who is also an SDA deputy president.

The SDA, which lost control of major towns including the capital Sarajevo to the multi-ethnic Social Democratic party (SDP) in April local elections, has repeatedly accused local media for its poor showing.

The status of independent media in Bosnia's other region, the Serb republic, is similar to that in the federation.

The Bosnian Serb intelligence service said this week it would sue the Banja Luka-based independent weekly Reporter over its reports on eavesdropping of politicians and other public figures.

Original article