Dozens of media workers gathered on Tuesday in Banja Luka, in front of the entity parliament building, expressing their discontent over the law changes that the members of National Assembly of Bosnia's Republika Srpska were set to discuss in their Tuesday session, which, if adopted, would reintroduce the criminalisation of defamation.
Some of the participants of the protest put a duct tape on their mouth as a sign of protest, while they left their pens in front of the building, conveying a message that the proposed law provisions would “suppress the journalism.”
They asked the MPs to return the proposed draft law to the Government of Republika Srpska.
“News writing will be mission impossible, investigative journalism will no longer exist and every citizen will feel that on their skin, and that's why we are leaving these pens here today so that any of them who vote in favour of this draft law should start doing journalism,” said head of the Banja Luka Association of Journalism Sinisa Vukelic.
Novinari ispred NSRS u trenutku početka redovne sjednice na kojoj će poslanici i o kriminalizaciji klevete i uvrede. Trakama preko usta poručuju da vlast planira ućutkati novinarstvo. @N1infoSA pic.twitter.com/6iY5viwNL5
— Mladen Vujinović (@M_Vujinovic) March 14, 2023
He warned that adoption of this law would also mean the suppression of freedom of speech, a peril for citizens who will undergo proceeding for everything they might say even in private gatherings.