Friday, September 14, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 14,2007) - The survey that the OSCE Mission to Bosnia conducted among Bosnian citizens in 12 municipalities indicates that most citizens believe that cooperation between themselves and the local media is almost impossible.

That survey also represents the first stage of the OSCE project “Media in My Community”, which has been initiated as part of mission’s continuing support to develop an informed and engaged civil society in Bosnia.

Aida Lipa, the OSCE Media Advisor, says that the survey results will be presented at round tables to be organised throughout September in Siroki Brijeg, Jablanica, Livno and Trebinje.

“There will be discussions regarding the level of information (related to events and development in local communities) provided to citizens by local governments and media”, Lipa stated.

The topics of round tables that are part of the “Media in my Community” project will tackle the questions on: to what extent media does focus on local issues; do media believe that citizens have enough information about local issues; which part of written municipal communication strategies is applied in reality; what is co-operation among local authorities, media and citizens like at the local community level; did media and local authorities ask and accept citizens’ opinion and could that opinion be useful for the work of authorities and media. Representatives of local authorities, local media, reporters, NGOs, as well as representatives of local communities from municipalities Siroki Brijeg, Grude, Capljina, Posusje, Livno, Tomislavgrad, Trebinje, Bileca, Nevesinje, Jablanica, Konjic and Prozor-Rama will participate in the work of round tables,she said.

The idea emerged after the OSCE conducted a pool in several Bosnian municipalities in order to find out to what extent local journalists serve the interests of the local community; do citizens believe they can co-operate with media, demanding reporting on certain issues and will citizens present their opinions on certain issues in local communities using the media.

The majority of Bosnian citizens were not satisfied with the manner in which local media covered local issues, with the number of contact shows and they believed there was too much coverage of issues not directly related to their communities.

When it comes to co-operation of media and citizens, i.e. the role of media as a voice of citizens, the opinions were mostly negative. Citizens do not think that their contacting media can change anything. Some of them are even afraid to do that, but most of them believe media are owned by politicians and that they cannot make any significant change.

The “Media in my Community” project focuses on two issues: civic-oriented journalism with the focus on local media as the basic way to inform citizens about local issues and citizens writing/reporting to local media, express their opinions, thus communicating with local authorities.

One of the topics at the round tables will also discuss setting up mechanisms that will enable better information flow between the local authorities and citizens, and the contribution media can give. Most of municipalities do have a communication strategy document and we will try to ask local authorities to include some of round tables’ conclusions in those strategies and to implement them through their plans and activities.

On the other hand, media will have the opportunity to receive opinions directly from citizens about media work in their local communities. During the previous round tables, citizens expressed their wish that media focus more on daily problems and conduct more research in the field. Also, the Bosnian citizens believe media should have a more active role in informing citizens, that is, media should encourage citizens to show more interest towards new topics and to contribute to them.

Finally, citizens should consider increased participation in their communities and local media could be of a great help in doing that. The poll showed there is a room for co-operation but people usually do not know how to make the first step. We hope that after those conclusions better co-operation will emerge between local media and citizens; that media will pay more attention to local issues; and that citizens will play a more active role in media coverage of issues related to their communities,the OSCE stated.

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