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Republika Srpska plans to criminalize defamation again



Just because of the report, the police could close the newsrooms during investigations

The Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina has adopted a plan to amend the criminal code, which, among other things, will once again criminalize defamation, which critics see as restricting freedom of speech.

The change plan was adopted despite the protests of the opposition, journalists, several organizations, groups of citizens and the international community, he reported for Radio Slovenia Boštjan Anžin.

The United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the Venice Commission are expressing concern about the recriminalization of defamation and the plan of the law, according to which non-profit organizations that are also financed from abroad would be declared foreign agents, following the Russian example. European Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhely it speaks of a step in the wrong direction and pressure on freedom of expression and the media.

“Every society strives to develop and progress, but we are taking a step back with this law, and this is a defeat for the entire society,” warns the journalist Vlado Šušak.

Fines of up to 60,000 euros are foreseen for defamation and insulting one’s good name and honor, including for posts on social networks, conversations in bars, disputes between neighbors, and publication of private and family information. Just because of the report, the police could close newsrooms during investigations, employers could sue workers who pointed out alleged violations of the law, activists, for example, against small hydroelectric plants, investors could sue.

“We should all protect the authorities from the public word, which is a disaster. There was already little criticism, now there will be even less.” warns the editor Aleksandar Trifunović.

Source: Rtvslo

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