Bosnian Serbs to Sue Media for ‘Inflaming’ Population

Several Bosnian Serb MPs have said they will media outlets for 'inflaming the population against Serbs' in connection with the street protests over the lack of a law on ID numbers.

Drago Kalabic, an MP in the Bosnian Parliament and member of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, said his party and colleagues from the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, planned to sue several media outlets for “inflaming people against Serb parliamentarians and disabling the work and movement of lawmakers”.

The Serb officials referred primarily to the Bosnian state-level public television, BHT, the Federation entity public broadcaster, FTV and the Sarajevo-based news portal, Klix.

“There will be lawsuits against all of those who disabled the work of institutions, freedom of movement and tried to present Serbs as the main culprits [for the failure to adopt a law on ID numbers],” Kalabic said on July 10.

“First we will gather all data and send it to the parliamentary commission on security and defence, and if no one is willing to file appropriate lawsuits, we from the SNSD and SDS will have to sue all who are responsible for what has been done,” Kalabic said.

He added that the two parties have enough arguments to successfully sue the backers and organizers of the street protests,which the Serbs said were designed to intimidate them..

“The creators of the protests don’t plan to give up and they have the support of many media in Federation, such as the news portal Klix, which sent us thousand of emails and created a lynch atmosphere, and BHT, whose live broadcasts called upon people to go out into the streets, as well as FTV,” he added.

Parliament’s failure to adopt a new law on ID numbers sparked mass protests on June 5, following media reports that a baby was unable to leave the country for a life-saving operation in Germany due to lack of personal documents.

These documents, including passports, can only be accessed if the recipient has an ID number, which is normally given out at birth.

The protests trapped around 1,500 lawmakers, staff and foreign guests in the parliament building until 4am on June 7, after the the international community’s High Representative, Valentin Inzko, promised to intervene to help resolve the issue.

Bosnian Serb MPs meantime withdrew from Sarajevo, deeming it unsafe to work in the capital.

The Serbs’ boycott continued for a month until they returned on Monday for a parliamentary session.