Five journalists from the Balkans issued the publication “Invisible Violence: Stories from The Newsroom” which brings stories about the real possibilities for doing journalism in Balkan newsrooms and the (dis)respect of journalists’ labour rights.
The study is based on interviews with fellow journalists in five countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia. Fifty interviews with journalists working in the public, commercial and non-profit sectors (civil society media) were conducted from January to May 2018,
Under open political pressures and threats, often denounced at press conferences of the countries’ leading persons, while in conflict with editors over the issues to be covered, and finally in a precarious labour position, journalists are doing their job amidst insecurity, discrimination, censorship and open pressures, finally resulting in self-censorship, the study states.
Many journalists refused to speak for the study or they insisted to stay anonymous, the authors say, due to the fear of losing their jobs or being prevented from finding one in the future, or due to the feeling of embarrassment for having succumbed to pressures.
“While the atmosphere in each society influences the way journalists do their work, our interlocutors have one thing in common and that is fear; and societies where journalists are afraid are not free societies”, the authors say in the study which shows that as many as 70% of the interviewed journalists in the Western Balkan region state they would change their jobs or the newsroom they are working in, citing as the main reason low salaries,followed by censorship inside the newsroom.
The study authors are journalists Biljana Sekulovska, Una Hajdari, Nidžara Ahmetašević, Milica Bogdanović and Žarka Radoja. The author of the introduction is Viktor Ivančić, founder of the cult newspaper “Feral Tribune” based in Split and columnist for the weekly “Novosti”.
The article was translated from Media.ba, a SEENPM member organization, with permission.