A journalist reporting for "EuroBlic" and "Srpskainfo" portal, Nikola Moraca was interrogated at the Banja Luka Police Department as a suspect for allegedly violating the confidentiality of the investigation.
According to Banja Luka media, the journalist became a suspect after he refused to reveal the source of his information regarding the text he published about the rape of an 18-year-old girl that happened recently in Banja Luka.
He was invited to an informative interview regarding the information published in the text about the arrests in this case. The police allegedly asked the long-time journalist for information about his sources, promising him the status of a witness, and after he refused to reveal his informants, he received the status of a suspect.
Requesting information about the source of information is against the journalistic code. After he refused to provide the requested information at the hearing, the journalist's mobile phone was confiscated, which should be sent for expert examination.
Milana Stojanovic, the spokeswoman for the Banja Luka Police Department, neither confirmed nor denied these claims.
“For all information, you will have to contact the District Public Prosecutor's Office of Banja Luka”, she said in a short telephone conversation.
Maja Djakovic-Vidovic, the spokeswoman of the Banja Luka District Public Prosecutor's Office did not answer N1’s phone calls, after which we sent an inquiry to the District Public Prosecutor's Office.
Banja Luka-based Nezavisne daily wrote that police investigators “linked” his text with the texts of other media, as well as statements from social networks, which cannot be attributed to him as the author of the text.
The daily also states that the police questioned other journalists but they do not get the status of suspects.
All activities were carried out under the supervision of the Banjaluka District Public Prosecutor's Office.
The Banja Luka Journalists’ Club requests an urgent statement from the Republika Srpska (RS) entity interior Ministry and the competent prosecutor regarding the manner in which the “Euroblic” and “Srpskainfo” journalist was interrogated.
“A journalist is not obliged to reveal the source of information, and any attempt to extort that information from a journalist can be considered an attack on media freedom. The fact that his phone was taken from him is particularly worrying, which can threaten the privacy of journalists and sources,” they said.