Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Transitional Justice Project Launched in Bosnia

IWPR trainees to cover topics intended to help country come to terms with its past.
By Merdijana Sadović
  • Trainees at the Sarajevo workshop on transitional justice reporting held by IWPR and its local partners, 10-12 Jan 2011. (Photo: IWPR)
    Trainees at the Sarajevo workshop on transitional justice reporting held by IWPR and its local partners, 10-12 Jan 2011. (Photo: IWPR)

Young journalists are being equipped with the skills for reporting transitional justice issues as part of a project run by IWPR and its local partners in Bosnia.

Tales of Transition is a year-long project aimed at raising awareness about transitional justice processes in Bosnia-Hercegovina through training a number of journalists to report professionally and objectively about related issues.

The reports they will produce over the coming year will then help to inform the general public about transitional justice.

Launched last December, the project, carried out by IWPR and its partners Center for Contemporary Art, SCCA/Proba, EFM Radio and the Center for Justice and Reconciliation, is funded by the Dutch government.

“People in Bosnia, including journalists, don't really know much about transitional justice,” Dejan Petrovic, a law student and aspiring journlaist from Srebrenica, following a three-day multimedia workshop on January 10-12 in Sarajevo.

“This is why this project is so useful. It will help young reporters understand this concept better and will allow them to report on these issues in a fair and balanced way.”

Following this initial workshop, 15 reporters and aspiring journalists will take part in the production of 10 print and 20 radio reports on issues related to transitional justice, and will help produce six television documentaries. Print reports will be posted on IWPR’s website, while radio reports will be broadcast on EFM Radio and Radio Free Europe.

The documentaries will be broadcast on national television, BHT1, and a number of local stations, followed by a series of round table discussions.

“The trainers from IWPR, EFM Radio and Proba taught us a lot and gave us some very good guidelines about reporting for print, radio and TV,” participant Amina Milic, a journalism student from Sarajevo, said.

“I don’t think any of the participants of this workshop had an opportunity to take part in a multimedia training before, which I found to be very useful. Most importantly, we learned a lot about transitional justice and why reporting professionally on these issues is so important for Bosnia.”

Selma Boracic, a reporter with Radio Free Europe, added, “We have some very challenging tasks ahead of us, such as producing a number of radio and print reports and TV documentaries on transitional justice, so this workshop was a very good starting point for us all.”

Elna Kurtovic, a young reporter from Sarajevo, was particularly pleased with the combination of theoretical and practical work the project will include.

“I think this is a very efficient way of teaching young journalists to report on transitional justice,” she said. “I believe we will produce some very good reports, which will, hopefully, have some effect on society.”

Bosnia is currently developing a national strategy on transitional justice and there is a great need for objective and professional reporting on these issues, which remain unfamiliar to many people but which are important for efforts to help the country face its past.

IWPR is recognised in the region as an organisation with significant experience in the field of transitional justice. In addition to regular reporting on war crimes trials at the Hague tribunal and local courts, IWPR has extensively covered issues related to transitional justice – including memorials, minority returns, reparations and institutional reforms.

“This whole project is very exciting and most participants are looking forward to taking part in the production of television documentaries on transitional justice, because that is not something we would normally be in a position to do,” Milic said.

The Sarajevo journalism student continued, “In addition to being able to learn a lot about transitional justice and professional reporting, I hope that our reports will inspire other journalists to write more about these issues and help the country face its past.”

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s Hague tribunal manager.

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