The Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina has called on media outlets to pay maximum attention when making editorial decisions about the contents of their reporting on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The Agency warned that media have to avoid spread of misinformation which might cause panic and fear among citizens, and possibly even endanger their health and security.

CRA reminded of regulations and obligations of media outlets, according to which media services providers are responsible for the content they provide. Furthermore, the Agency underlined that media outlets must not be manipulated with, and they themselves must not use superstition, fears and gullibility for manipulations of their own.

“Every violation of privacy has to be justified by proven public interest, especially when it comes to minors”, the CRA stated.

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir and Head of OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina Kathleen Kavalec expressed concern over the announcement of introduction of new measures against spreading of panic and fake news in the country.

Limitations to freedom of expression are not helpful and can undermine trust in institutions”, said Kavalec, adding that the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina has not been informed about the details of new measures.