Berlin, April 2, 2019 – Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina should quickly and thoroughly investigate the attack and harassment of journalist Adi Kebo by Sarajevo politician Huso Ćesir, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Ćesir, the head of the municipal council of Novi Grad, a municipality of the capital Sarajevo, shoved and verbally harassed Kebo, a cameraman at the online newsmagazine Žurnal, on March 28 while the journalist was filming in Novi Grad as part of an investigation into the politician’s business dealings, according to a report by Žurnal, footage of the incident the journalist uploaded to YouTube, and news reports.
“The public expects journalists to put their leaders under scrutiny. A politician who shoves a reporter and pushes away the reporter’s camera is only indicating that he has something to hide,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said in New York. “We call on Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate the attack on Žurnal cameraman Adi Kebo and to speak out forcefully against attempts to intimidate the media.”
Ćesir approached Kebo and threatened to smash his camera; when Kebo said he had the right to film in a public place, the politician repeatedly shoved him and reached for his camera, according to a translation of the video by local news station N1 TV. Ćesir’s son joined his father and also harassed Kebo, briefly taking his camera away and then returning it, as seen in the video.
In a statement to the press on April 1, Ćesir denied that he had any physical contact with Kebo and said that he only tried to stop him from filming, according to local news portal RadioSarajevo.
CPJ emailed a request for comment on the incident to Ćesir and did not receive a response.
Kebo’s employer filed a police report following the incident, and Ćesir filed a criminal complaint against the reporter for alleged unauthorized filming, according to news reports.
CPJ’s emails to the Interior Ministry of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Novi Grad police also did not receive a reply.