Prijedlog zakona o kriminalizaciji klevete mora biti odbačen

Zajednička izjava Međunarodnog PEN-a i PEN Centra u BiH povodom najave kriminalizacije klevete u RS-u

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Narodna skupština Republike Srpske mora se suprotstaviti pokušajima ponovnog kriminaliziranja klevete, poručili su danas PEN International i PEN Bosne i Hercegovine, nakon što je Vlada Republike Srpske podnijela nacrt izmjena i dopuna Kaznenog zakona kojima bi se uvele oštre kazne za klevetu. PEN International i PEN Bosne i Hercegovine dodatno osuđuju prijedlog predsjednika Republike Srpske Milorada Dodika za uvođenje takozvanog zakona o ‘stranim agentima’, koji bi dodatno ugušio civilno društvo i neovisne medije.

Dana 2. marta 2023., Vlada Republike Srpske – jednog od dva entiteta Bosne i Hercegovine – podnijela je parlamentu nacrt izmjena i dopuna Kaznenog zakona kojima bi se nejasno formulirana ‘namjera nanošenja štete nečijem ugledu ili časti’ kažnjavala novčanim kaznama u rasponu od 5000 KM (oko 2.500 €) do 100.000 KM (oko 51.000 €). Predstavljen na zahtjev Milorada Dodika, zakon bi ponovno kriminalizirao klevetu 22 godine nakon što je ukinut, što je izazvalo osude brojnih domaćih i međunarodnih organizacija, uključujući PEN Bosne i Hercegovine. Novinari i aktivisti za ljudska prava protestirali su ispred Narodne skupštine u Banjoj Luci, osuđujući zastrašujući učinak koji bi nacrt zakona, ako bude usvojen, imao na slobodu izražavanja i slobodu medija.

„Moramo stati odlučno i ispravno, te prednjačiti u angažmanu protiv svih oblika ograničavanja, ukidanja i gušenja prava na slobodu govora. Bosna i Hercegovina, sa svojom deklariranom budućnošću u evropskoj porodici država, mora i praktično i doslovno pokazati i dokazati da tu pripada. Sprječavanje uvođenja ovako opasnog zakona bit će prvi dokaz da imamo budućnost kao država“, poručili su iz PEN-a Bosne i Hercegovine.

Milorad Dodik je 8. marta 2023., objavio svoju namjeru da uvede takozvani zakon o ‘stranim agentima’ kojim bi se regulirale aktivnosti organizacija civilnog društva u Republici Srpskoj. PEN International i PEN Bosne i Hercegovine osuđuju ovaj potez kao još jedan pokušaj gušenja slobode izražavanja neovisnih medija i civilnog društva u tom entitetu.

“Planovi za ponovnom kriminalizacijom klevete u Republici Srpskoj predstavljaju veliki korak unazad i moraju se hitno zaustaviti. Prijedlog za uvođenje zakona o ‘stranim agentima’ očito ima za cilj ograničiti kritične skupine i medije te je zabrinjavajući. Pomno ćemo pratiti situaciju, koja bi ozbiljno naštetila pravima na slobodu izražavanja i slobodu udruživanja u Republici Srpskoj, kazala je Ma Thida, predsjednica Odbora za pisce u zatvoru Međunarodnog PEN-a.

Dodatne informacije

Pisci i novinari u Bosni i Hercegovini suočavaju se s nizom izazova i izloženi su različitim oblicima pritiska, uključujući političke i ekonomske pritiske, verbalne napade i prijetnje, uznemiravanje na internetu i kršenje prava na pristup informacijama. Predsjednik Republike Srpske Milorad Dodik rutinski uznemirava i blati kritičke novinare u javnim prostorima, čime pridonosi atmosferi straha i nekažnjivosti verbalnih i fizičkih napada. PEN International i PEN Bosne i Hercegovine pozivaju vlasti da spriječe i zaštite od prijetnji i nasilja nad piscima i novinarima, uključujući javnu osudu svih prijetnji, temeljitu istragu svih slučajeva i stvaranje okruženja u kojem slobodna javna rasprava može napredovati.

PEN International se protivi kriminalizaciji klevete u svim slučajevima i aktivno vodi kampanju za ukidanje krivičnih zakona o kleveti širom svijeta. Kriminalizacija klevete, bilo javnih ličnosti ili privatnih lica, predstavlja nesrazmjeran i nepotreban odgovor na potrebu zaštite ugleda. Ima zastrašujući efekat i podriva slobodu izražavanja. Pitanja ugleda trebaju se rješavati kao pitanja građanskog prava u kojima vlada nema nikakvu ulogu.

U isto vrijeme, PEN International također se protivi korištenju Strateških tužbi protiv javnog sudjelovanja (SLAPPs), tužbi moćnih pojedinaca i kompanija kao sredstva za ućutkivanje kritičkog izražavanja.


Bosnia and Herzegovina: Criminal defamation bill must be dropped

The parliament in Republika Srpska must oppose attempts to re-criminalise defamation, PEN International and PEN Bosnia and Herzegovina said today, after the government of Republika Srpska submitted draft amendments to the Criminal Code that would introduce harsh penalties for defamation. PEN International and PEN Bosnia and Herzegovina further condemn a proposal by Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik to introduce a so-called ‘foreign agents’ law, which would further stifle civil society and independent media.

On 2 March 2023, the government of Republika Srpska – one of two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina – submitted draft amendments of the Criminal Code to its parliament that would punish the vaguely-worded ‘intent to incur damage to someone’s reputation or honour’ with fines ranging between 5000 BAM (approximately € 2,500) to 100,000 BAM (approximately € 51,000). Introduced at the behest of Milorad Dodik, the bill would re-criminalise defamation 22 years after it was abrogated, drawing condemnation from scores of national and international organisations, including PEN Bosnia and Herzegovina. Journalists and rights activists have been protesting outside parliament in Banja Luka, denouncing the chilling effect the draft law, if adopted, would have on freedom of expression and media freedom.

‘We must stand resolutely and correctly, and be at the forefront of engagement against all forms of restriction, abolition and suppression of the right to freedom of speech. Bosnia and Herzegovina, with its declared future within the European family of states, must both practically and literally show and prove that it belongs there. Preventing the introduction of such a dangerous legislation will be the first proof that we have a future as a country’, said PEN Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On 8 March 2023, Milorad Dodik announced his intention to introduce a so-called ‘foreign agents’ law to regulate the activities of civil society organisations in Republika Srpska. PEN International and PEN Bosnia and Herzegovina condemn the move as yet another attempt to muzzle independent media and civil society in the entity.

‘Plans to re-criminalise defamation in Republika Srpska constitute a huge step backward and must be urgently stopped. The proposal to introduce a ‘foreign agents’ law is clearly intended to restrict critical groups and media and is of the utmost concern. We will closely monitor the situation, which would seriously harm the rights to freedom of expression and to freedom of association in Republika Srpska, said Ma Thida, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.

Additional information

Writers and journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina face a range of challenges and are subjected to diverse forms of pressure, including political and economic pressure, verbal attacks and threats, online harassment, and violations of their right to access information. Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik routinely harasses and smears critical journalists in public fora, thereby contributing to an atmosphere of fear and impunity for verbal and physical attacks. PEN International and PEN Bosnia and Herzegovina call on the authorities to prevent and protect against threats and violence against writers and journalists, including by publicly condemning all threats, thoroughly investigating all cases, and creating an environment in which free public debate can thrive.

PEN International opposes criminal defamation in all cases and actively campaigns for the repeal of criminal defamation laws around the globe. Criminalizing defamation, whether of public figures or private individuals, is a disproportionate and unnecessary response to the need to protect reputation. It has a chilling effect and undermines freedom of expression. Issues of reputation should be addressed as civil law matters where the government has no role. At the same time, PEN International also opposes the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), abusive lawsuits filed by powerful individuals and companies as a means of silencing critical expression.

Pen International i PEN Centar u BiH
Foto credit:Unsplash

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