» (E) Armed SFOR soldiers raid the HTV Mostar and Croatian Radio Mostar premises
|(E) Armed SFOR soldiers raid the HTV Mostar and Croatian Radio Mostar premises
|By Nenad N. Bach |
(E) Armed SFOR soldiers raid the HTV Mostar and Croatian Radio Mostar premises
|HEADLINES, Thursday, November 15, 2001 |
Source: Dnevni List, November 14, 2001
Armed SFOR soldiers raid the HTV Mostar and Croat Radio Mostar premises
Yesterday at 10 o'clock, members of the SFOR unit of a mixed composition
raided into the premises of the Croat Radio Mostar and HTV Mostar. Allegedly,
according to them, it is about an inspection, which was announced earlier and
which is a part of the mandate of the SFOR Mission in BiH. French and Spanish
soldiers were armed with Heckler rifles, and they were communicating through
The appearance of armed SFOR members frightened the personel of two media
outlets and introduced considerable unrest among Croatian journalists. All
of this reminded of the earlier military actions taken against EROTEL,
Hercegovacka Banka, Mostar's Municipal Councli, and others. However, this
time SFOR's target was the Croatian media and journalists, whose rights were
trampled on in the most brutal was by the 'Peace Stabilization Forces'.
According to one of the officers, who were standing at the entrance of the
building and who wanted to remain anonymous, SFOR conducted the 'inspection'
in accordance with the order from the CRA from Sarajevo and in coordination
with their commanding officer in the Ortijes military base near Mostar.
According to Josef Macrey, the SFOR Spokesperson in Sarajevo, this is about
"a routine, announced control, whose purpose is to verify whether the
communication equipment of these media outlets is in accordance with the
Dayton Peace Agreement". To our question whether he is aware of the fact
that the Dayton Peace agreement was signed six years ago whether he is aware
of the fact that the DPA was signed 6 years ago, we did not get a
satisfactory answer, except that obligations from the Agreement are being
The CRA is responsible?!
We contacted the CRA and received an answer from Amela Odobasic, who told us,
after checking, that the CRA did not issue any order for the raid of these
two media outlets. However, according to well-informed sources, close to the
CRA, it is claimed that the CRA, "after a series of gathered information from
viewers, and others, the CRA decided to suggest to SFOR to conduct an
inspection, which is part of the SFOR mandate for BiH, in which they can also
execute unannounced inspections
Fear and uneasiness
To our question whether the CRA will protect the Croat electronic media, Mrs.
Odobasic told us that the CRA can only suggest to SFOR not to be violent
towards the staff and journalists, but that SFOR inspections are a part of
We received a few statements, from journalists who requested to remain
anonymous, which stated that the SFOR soldiers were not violent, they were
polite, but their showing up fully armed scared and disturbed them, because
that isn't an appropriate manner for conducting any sort of inspection.
According to Vlatko Menix, the Head of the HTV Mostar, the SFOR officers
behaved decently and the inspection was executed successfully. Tomislav
Mazal, the Head of the Croat Radio Mostar, stated that the inspection in his
media outlet was executed without any problems and the SFOR soldiers behaved
SFOR breached Dayton?
Many people believe that the DPA was severely violated by this raid of
military forces into premises of the media outlets, and that this case should
be examined exclusively because of such behavior of the SFOR. Also, a few
International Charters on Rights and Freedom of Media have been violated and
nothing, including the SFOR and its mandate, can justify this. One TV
technician told us: "'At the moment, when I was working on a TV report, an
armed solder showed up at the door and I was so scared that I did not know
how to behave. I was only thinking as to how to leave the premises, but I was
not allowed to, at first. Later on they allowed me to leave the room." A
journalist, who wanted to remain anonymous, stated: "I have never
experienced such violent act and if the price of freedom is my life, then I
will pay the price.'
From foreign press office: firstname.lastname@example.org
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