Zlatan Music is the Press Officer at the OSCE Mission to BIH where he heads the Media Freedom portfolio within the Human Rights Sections. In a conversation with CMFE board member Dragana Jovanovic about the effects of COVID-19, he among others stressed the urgent and much needed support to community media in BiH:
“Media at the local level are the most vulnerable and the most exposed, bearing in mind that the media market is underdeveloped, still with a lot of different media. COVID-19 has had a great economic impact on the media sector. A lot of journalists lost their jobs, free- lancers did not get extension of their contracts, marketing and advertising options decreased. Economic vulnerability is obvious, as well as the fact that access to information is unequal.”
And he continued: “We at the OSCE consider the media sector as a whole. We cooperate with public service broadcasters, the commercial sector and we cooperate – and want to cooperate even more – with the community radio stations. Community media is a fabulous concept that need to be supported and nourished.
What we have done so far is monitoring the situation of media workers, identifying economic, legal and political issues faced. In the following period we will establish better communication with the community media sector, which needs to get more support.
The community media sector is extremely important for its contribution to media pluralism and needs to be developed by democratic societies.”