21 January 1998


Bosnian editor convicted of libel

Incident details

Senad Pecanin


legal action

(CPJ/IFEX) The editor of the independent "Dani" magazine in Sarajevo, Senad
Pecanin, was
convicted on 19 January 1998 by a municipal court of criminal libel against
the editor of the daily "Dnevni Avaz". Pecanin received a conditional
sentence of two months in prison, which he would be required to serve if he
is caught violating any law within the next year. Pecanin was sued by
Fahrudin Radoncic, editor of "Dnevni Avaz", under articles 80 and 81 of the
federal penal code for an investigative article he published in April about
Radoncic's business practices.

Pecanin said Radoncic, his newspaper and publishing house are closely linked
with the ruling SDS party of Alija Izetbegovic. Pecanin intends to appeal
his convinction. Radonic said he will file for civil damages amounting to
150,000 German marks ($83,000 US) against "Dani".

This is the first criminal libel conviction in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and CPJ
is concerned that it signals increasing limits on press freedom. In a
speech Izetbegovic gave in November, he attacked "Dani" and other
independent magazines for publishing articles on new revelations about
Muslim war crimes against Serbs in Sarajevo. Since then, "Dani" has
experienced mounting difficulties with state-owned printing facilities and
the state distribution company. "Dani" and Pecanin face two more trials on
criminal libel charges next month, one filed by
the editor of the weekly newspaper "Liljan", and the other by former Prime
Minister Hasen Muratovic.


Committee to Protect Journalists
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
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