Mirza Dervisevic, a journalist from Brcko and owner of the Times.ba news portal was attacked and beaten last night. Dervišević has been living in Doha (Qatar) for several years, and he arrived in Brcko on vacation a few days ago to visit his family.
His news portal, Times.ba, is known for publishing articles about affairs and malfeasance in the Brcko District, for which he received both threats and “well-intentioned” advice.
Mirza was attacked last night around 10 pm while he returned from a cafe with his mother when a man with a yellow ski mask on his head came up behind him and started hitting him on the head with a knuckleduster. His mother immediately started calling for help and experienced great stress.
When the attacker who was around 1.80 m tall, with a muscular build, hit him, he started to run away.
Dervisevic said he started running after him and managed to fight back at the attacker’s car. However, because of the closed eye and the bleeding, he lost strength. The assailant fled, but witnesses remembered the car's model and license plate number.
Brcko Health Center doctors found injuries in the area of the arcade, the back of the head and the knees. They also stated that Dervisevic collapsed after standing up.
The journalist told N1 that he received nine stitches on the arcade.
“I still feel nauseous, but it's fine. Today I will give a statement to the police. I have written about many people and published documents as evidence. I have my suspicions about who could be the mastermind behind this, but also who attacked me. I hope the police will find them,” Dervisevic told N1.
This is not the first attack on journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina who expose wrongdoing by officials in public companies and authorities. For almost two decades, there has been a helpline for journalists in BiH, which maintains a database on attacks and threats to journalists, violations of their rights and media freedoms.
In the first 15 years of its work, between 45 and 65 cases per year were recorded, with an additional 200-250 different requests and calls from the media and journalists for legal advice, consultation and other types of professional support. Over the past five years, the number of reported attacks, open death threats, hate speech, and gender-based violence against journalists has increased, especially in the online sphere.
From 2019 to date, the Line recorded 340 attacks on journalists.