Several days ago, the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina extended the mandate to Deputy Secretary General of this institution, Dženan Selimbegović, best known by the public for insulting journalists and for the “opening ceremony of the sidewalk” in front of the B&H Presidency building. Something a smart person is ashamed of, the highest state institution obviously takes pride in and rewards it with an applause.

The scandalous confirmation that Dženan Selimbegović, Deputy Secretary General of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been re-elected for a term of five years in a civil servant position – “secretary with a special assignment, Deputy Secretary General of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, declared the resolution brought by the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was published in the Official Gazette of B&H and signed by B&H Presidency Chairman, Bakir Izetbegović.

The Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina states that the decision will come into force eight days after its publication in the Official Gazette of B&H and will be implemented from October 15th, 2018, after the general elections are held in the country. In layman’s terms, whoever wins the elections and seizes a seat in the B&H Presidency, will be welcomed by Dženan. He has secured his place!

And while the public has sporadically reacted to this decision, mostly condemning it by calling out the authorities and the SDA, especially Bakir Izetbegović, everyone forgot about a statement that was given by Izetbegović on the Federal Television’s informative show Dnevnik in December 2017, that is only few days after Dženan Selimbegović brutally and primitively insulted the author of this column and her colleague Arijana Saračević Helać.

Asked to comment on the whole case in which the deputy secretary of the B&H Presidency said that the two journalists were nothing more than “used cars,” Bakir Izetbegović replied: “This mustn’t happen again. The Secretariat of the Presidency will deal with it and I think that it will have to change some of its internal rules and tighten them. The entire public space is burdened with hate speech and rude behaviour of people, politicians, journalists and intellectuals. It will take some time before we establish communication. We will do our part in relation to this issue, ” said Bakir Izetbegović for FTV.

And he came thorugh on his promise – they did their work! Dženan Smailbegović has been rewarded. No disciplinary action has been put in motion. No sanction was given, not even a reprimand. The Agency for Gender Equality of B&H, to which the appeal was addressed, now seven months later, still hasn’t played its part because they were waiting for Smailbegović to be appointed to a new term.
The Prosecution of B&H did the same thing.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a completely legalized model has been put in place, one in which the storming on the targeted subjects, attacking and brutally insulting them, is eventually being rewarded. And all that Dženan does, at least that has become clear, is approved by the highest ranks, by the president of both the Party of Democratic Action and the B&H Presidency, Bakir Izetbegović.

So one problem is the behavior of a civil servant whose private Facebook profile serves for insulting all those who don’t think like him and the SDA, and the other issue is that all of this has an institutional state-level support from the president of the state and the collective boss of the state and the B&H Presidency. It is also being rewarded.

In a country that honors and rewards those who should be dismissed, it is quite normal to ignore public interests because … who cares what the public thinks. We are the power, we have everything in our hands, and we also have bots to strike. We can attack anyone. Whoever we want. And as much as we want.

In this public communication discourse, the link between the media and the behavior of the authorities and the ruling party is also an important one. Where is the media influence in all this? Is there a critical media awareness on these issues? Do the media in B&H have the strength and professionalism to face these issues and to analyze and unfold them to the end?

Judging by their work and what they manifest through their effects, it would be a difficult task. That is, you can count on the fingers of one hand the media that came to analyse the Dženan Smailbegović case, comprehensively informing the public that, for example, the B&H Presidency led by Bakir Izetbegović just extended the mandate to a civil servant who officially opened a sidewalk in front of the B&H Presidency, which costs more than 360 thousand KM, making it the most expensive sidewalk in the state and certainly in the region, and who knows maybe even in Europe.

Furthermore, Dženan Selimbegović is also known for insulting journalist Sanela Prašović-Gadžo and Arijana Saračević-Helać, both of which he called “used cars” on his Facebook profile, and the important thing is that the B&H Presidency never informed the citizens whether a disciplinary measure was imposed on Selimbegović for violating the Regulation of disciplinary responsibility of civil servants in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

And most importantly, as the media have written, in the investigation of the Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor’s Office, this civil servant is being connected with the employments in Elektroprivreda B&H on the basis of recommendations, that is without a public job advertisement. All this would be more than enough for a dismissal. It would also be enough for taking further steps.

The media in B&H didn’t even deal with those facts after the confirmation of the new mandate to Dženan Selimbegović. Some couldn’t deal with that because they were under control of the government, that is the SDA. And others because they were superficial.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to journalists and media freedoms in B&H. Everything is very selective, just like the relationships between journalists.

Their attitude will not depend on whether their colleague is annoyed because someone has a better hairstyle, higher editorial status, or more beautiful dresses – no, no. The relationships between colleagues depend on what editorial staff they work for.

Politics have also covered the female territory so that those from the media close to the SDA, brutally and without any reason, attack, insult or ridicule journalists, their female colleagues, over social networks. Because this now seems to be a work obligation. It must be done.

So dear ladies, it’s full monty time.

Every blow has its own background. Women’s support, solidarity, and attention have disappeared.

So we come to the question – which of today’s B&H media are independent? Or who is an independent journalist in B&H today? What journalists can freely publish their texts, without their editors correcting any mention of criticism of authority? Who today criticizes the government in B&H? Or do we even have media who criticize today’s government of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Now think fast who fits the description. Who belongs to whom … How many are there and in which media? Sort it out in your head.

Let’s move on. How many loud journalists are there in Bosnia and Herzegovina today? Those who are allowed to speak out loud about injustices?

If you’re a journalist in Bosnia and Herzegovina today, and if you’re loud, you become a state enemy. You are immediately at the target of the “services”. They don’t need to tell you, but you know they’re “listening” to you. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, if you are a freelance journalist who is not controllable by any political center, you are immediately identified as a person who needs to be compromised, whose credibility needs to be crushed, destabilized and destroyed.

With all available artillery weapons. Destruction methods are elaborated.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, if you’re a loud journalist, you will be lonely and your life will be very, very hard. You will receive punches and feel the pressure every day.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, if you’re a loud journalist who points to what isn’t right, which the rulers are not fond of, you’re also a whore, a „used car“, „uhljeb“, a slut …

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, if you’re a female journalist who speaks loudly and is being insulted for it, the Agency for Gender Equality, as well as numerous NGOs for the struggle for women’s rights, won’t protect you because … the rulers also rule over them.

The wind has been put up. There are huge fears.

In today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, the most difficult task is to be a person. A person who’s not afraid. And a person who wants to take the next step freely.

Also, in today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, the most difficult task is to be a female journalist who still believes in media freedoms.

And to live in line with that. Because … in Bosnia and Herzegovina, unfortunately, even a journalist is a journalist’s … worse enemy.