Amendments to the Criminal Code in Bosnia and Herzegovina. entity Republika Srpska limits freedom of speech and narrows the space for civil action, which are the foundations of a democratic society.
The Office of the High Representative (OHR) announced on Friday that the changes to the Criminal Code in Bosnia and Herzegovina. to the Republika Srpska entity, which recriminalizes defamation, represent an attack on civil liberties, which is characteristic of authoritarian regimes.
The statement states that these changes limit freedom of speech and narrow the space for civil action, which are the foundations of a democratic society, reports Fena.
“Re-criminalization of defamation in the RS gives authorities the opportunity to stifle and censor media freedoms and civil society, limit free critical thinking and silence dissenters. Even without draconian sanctions, these changes pave the way for questionable criminal proceedings and the degradation of freedom and democracy to the detriment of the citizens of the RS”, the OHR states.
A backward step on the way to EU membership
They add that these changes also represent a backward step on the way to membership in the European Union, since they are not in line with the 14 priorities from the European Commission’s opinion.
“OHR will carefully monitor this topic, with the firm belief that in a democratic society, citizens should be able to express their opinion freely, even when that opinion is not in accordance with the official policies of the government. He will also be in close contact with all relevant international actors on this issue.”
“The protection of freedom of expression and freedom of opinion, as well as the unimpeded freedom of the media to report on the facts, are fundamental aspects of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Dayton Peace Agreement,” the statement states.
Source : AL JAZEERA