History of Dodik’s “Media Freedoms”

DodikFive months ago, in the midst of the pre-election campaign, Milorad Dodik reacted furiosly to the insults directed towards Željka Cvijanović in SDS’s pre-election gathering. As he then stated, he was appaled by “primitivism” of his political rivals, calleing it an attack on “all the women which they consider unworthy, because they are not with them (SDS)”. He stated that “that kind of incident never happened at a SNSD gathering, nor were such vulgar and primitive statements ever heard”, which is untrue. At a public debate organized by SNSD in March 2014, Dodik brutally insulted a female journalist from BN television (using, also, the same speech to curse the OHR and state that he is “the main man in Republika Srpska”):

What are you doing, I don’t understand? You’re not at all attractive enough for me to look at you for that long, f*ck. (…) Listen, I’m not the man for you, got it?

Dodik’s condemnations of public attacks have always been reserved only for the cases when his associates were under fire. When Mirjana Kusmuk, then editor of “Glas Srpske”, was called in for questioning by the Special Attourney’s Office of Republika Srpska, Dodik sent them an open letter in which he accused them for jeopardizing the freedom of the media, as one of the basic democratic achievements. However, when journalists from “Klix” were called for questioning by MUP RS (for publishing the recording of Željka Cvijanović in the case of “buying” parliamentary representatives), he openly supported this action and accused the journalists of promoting themselves by fabricating stories of media repression in RS.

Dodik’s recent attack on Oslobodjenje’s journalist Gordana Katana is the latest example of his inconsistency and support only to the “freedom” of complient media, while lashing out against journalists who ask unpleseant questions – especially female journalists. Katana asked Dodik to comment on Nada Tesanović’s participation in Croatian People Assembly (HNS) and Mile Radišić fleeing from the country when he was supposed to start serving his prison sentence. What followed was a series of chauvinist insults:

When I look at you, I understand why you are constantly negative. Nothing positive can come from you anyway. (…)

The fact you are forcing this issue is indicative. You come from a media outlet that is like that, and, of course, from an ethincity which is like that. You’re doing it on purpose.

Sexist, racist and chauvinistic insults, curses and threats have long been Dodik’s “trademark” in communicating with the media and his public appearances in general. These are some of the things which RS President has said on numerous occasions:

Treating gentlemen gentlemanly, and Gypsies like Gypsies.

/

– It’s Arijana Saracevic, mr. Dodik, from “60 minutes”.

– I don’t give a f*ck.

/

Are you from “60 minutes”? That is some kind of sh*t of a show. A total vomit. (…) I can see you are decent. Although you’re not pretty. What?! That’s decent, what’s the problem?!

/

I did it just to get on the nerves of you from the Federation and you mr. Vidović, you particularly, so it really pisses you off. I wish you’d get hypertension and your heart stops because I made this building. (…) In regards to Federal TV, f*ck them.

(Milorad Dodik, 2011)

Let us be clear now – this lady here is a liar and she is sending false information. She, for instance, sent the story about building the government building via Beta agency. She has no shame and she comes here…she never apologized after court proceedings. Why are you lying? And don’t come here anymore, is that clear? Scram!

(Milorad Dodik, to the journalist of Beta agency, 2.6.2012.)

Get out of here! Get out! Because you’re rude, you’re following me, who gave you the right to follow me?

(Milorad Dodik, to the journalist of BN TV, 17.5.2014.)

Go f*ck you mother! What’s not okay? Record me, you motherf*cker, and play it on the news! I’ll f*ck your mother, is that clear?

 (Milorad Dodik, to the director of BN TV 31.1.2013.)

Dodik and his party’s attitude towards critically oriented media was also demonstrated in 2013, when SNSD announced it’s boycott of BN TV, on account that this TV station is “conducting a campaign against SNSD”. At the time, SNSD has also publicly stated that it has prohibited contact with BN TV to all the government officials coming from this party, regardless the fact that institutions shouldn’t be run by party directives.

After Dodik’s latest outburst, journalists’ associations have, once again, condemned this kind of behaviour. That, unfortunately, has thus far never prompted him to change his ways.  It has also never stopped him from making unbeliveable claims about “undisturbed media freedoms” in Republika Srpska and his selective defenses of dignity of media and persons he cooperates with, while insulting and humiliating those he perceives as political enemies.

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