Regulatory and self-regulatory framework against hate speech and disinformation in BiH

This factsheet indicates the main characteristics of the national regulatory and self-regulatory framework against hate speech and disinformation and offers an insight into the adequacy of legal regulation in preventing hate speech and disinformation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The prohibition of hate speech in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not fully regulated or aligned with international standards. The criminal legislation criminalizes public incitement to national, racial and religious hatred, discord and hostility.

The legislative framework for the regulation of hate speech in BiH is fragmented and unaligned with European standards, and there are few cases of its processing. Ways to combat disinformation mainly rely on self-regulatory frameworks and fact-checking platforms, and there are no comprehensive strategies to combat disinformation. Given the large presence of hate speech and disinformation, especially in the online sphere, which can affect the democratic processes in the country, it is necessary to improve the legislative, regulatory and self-regulatory frameworks and ways of their application. Bosnia and Herzegovina is obliged to adopt appropriate solutions in accordance with international conventions, recommendations of international bodies and standards of the European Court of Human Rights.

Cases of hate speech processing in Bosnia and Herzegovina are rare. From 2004 to 2019, 27 judgements were reached in BiH for criminal offences of inciting national, racial and religious hatred, discord and intolerance against 26 persons, of which in 12 cases the person was found guilty, and in 14 cases the accused were acquitted of charges.

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This publication was produced within Resilience: Civil Society for Media Free of Hate and Disinformation, a regional project financially supported by the European Union and implemented in the Western Balkans and Turkey by a consortium of media development organizations led by SEENPM. It is part of a series of publications on the same general topic researched in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey (all publications are available on the SEENPM website).

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Funded by the European Union

The regional program RESILIENCE: Civil society action to reaffirm media freedom and counter disinformation and hateful propaganda in Western Balkans and Turkey’ is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by partner organizations SEENPMAlbanian Media InstituteMediacentar Sarajevo, Kosovo 2.0Montenegrin Media InstituteMacedonian Institute for MediaNovi Sad School of JournalismPeace Institute and Bianet.

This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of SEENPM and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.