Exclusive! In the next ten days, the premises of our newsroom will be visited by the Cantonal Inspection, which will check our operations. As we learn, the inspectors act on the basis of an anonymous report signed as "citizen/collaborator". We also learn that the application was barely literate and completely superficial, without any indications or evidence, only alleged suspicions of illegal business of the concerned "citizen/collaborator". Nevertheless, the inspectors decided to act quickly.
But, if we may add, our operations are regularly and thoroughly checked by authorized auditing companies, which have never found a single irregularity. Therefore, we reject all allegations from the application, which will certainly be rejected by the announced inspection. But, we repeat, let them check, we have nothing against it.
WHY WE ARE PUBLISHING THIS NEWS
So why are we publishing this "exclusive" news?
Because we know for sure that this is just another attempt to discredit Žurnal. Namely, for some time we have noticed interesting activities on social networks, on the profiles of party activists known for defending the actors of the "Respiratori" Affair and owners of fake diplomas, directors. Also, from the same places comes the thesis that every anti-corruption fight is an attempt to divert attention from large-state projects in the neighbourhood. In their calls to fight against Žurnal, they did not specify what they were accusing us of, but instructed citizens that it was enough to write "suspicious business". In this way, they hope, an eventual inspection check will be able to be presented as a result of "public pressure".
In the next phase of their plan, the relevant media will receive information about the inspection's entry into our newsroom, and appropriate commentators are already ready to start a hunt on social networks. In this way, they hope, another media that stands in their way will be successfully discredited.
Among other things, this is also why we decided to inform the public first, in order to deny those media at least the pleasure of publishing "exclusive" information.
The same anonymous note was sent to the Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor's Office, which is an attempt to criminalize Žurnal. This is just a consequence of the old thesis of our rulers - those who write about crime should be questioned, why do they do it, on whose orders and who pays them for it? In this way, attention has been successfully diverted from the criminals for years, to the extent that the prosecutors themselves are confused because of this, they have never led to a verdict in a single case of high corruption.
So, we are entering the new 2023 year with a new type of pressure on our newsroom. There is nothing we haven't experienced so far. Let's go in order…
Threats and physical attacks
We endured a large number of threats and physical attacks. No one was ever held accountable for them. Do you remember when a father and son duo stole our photographer's camera? They were released. When we got the threatening photos with the sniper? Investigative authorities determined that the criminal took a picture with a rifle that was not his, and that is why he is not dangerous. When the postman brought us part of a bomb? It cannot be established who sent it, even though the delivery person said in which office he picked up the shipment. When they threatened with rape? The bully wasn't serious. When a civil servant threatened our journalist for days that he would attack her on the street? There he is at work.
There is more, but it is pointless to enumerate it further, because certainly no one was ever held accountable for those cases. It didn't help that we had video and audio recordings, witnesses, addresses, and all possible evidence. There is no basis for suspicion, it cannot be proven, the investigation is going round and round…
A cascade of lawsuits
When they realized that this type of pressure did not bring results, they switched to another. Just when the intensity of the threats decreased, the wave of various lawsuits intensified. From the same office, we received a dozen lawsuits, because of the same text in different courts, we were sued by all offended members of a large family, and in order to increase the number of applications, individual sentences were extracted from the texts for individual lawsuits... Some lawsuits are extremely vivid, some are insulting because we wrote what they themselves admitted, some are shaken because we remind them of their criminal past, some do not sleep because we write about their children who are about thirty years old and enjoy a ministerial mandate…
After we publish concrete evidence, we present documents about crime, money laundering, and cooperation with drug cartels... it often happens that Žurnal journalists end up in court. Our journalists were put in a position to justify why they published it. Those who should be the subject of police and prosecution investigations laugh in our faces, call us liars and thieves, while the judges condescendingly greet them and their lawyers upon entering. That is why we are not surprised by verdicts in which, despite all court practices, Žurnal is ordered to pay more than 170,000 marks or to compensate a convicted war criminal for mental pain.
There is nothing wrong with these lawsuits. One lawyer admitted to us that his client told him not to send appeals against the verdicts, but to constantly write new lawsuits until a suitable judge appears who will rule in their favour.
The goal, of course, is to scare our journalists, exhaust the editorial staff and destroy them financially, which is already a justified method of killing the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.
Recently, we were exposed to an extremely strong hacker attack that lasted for days. IT experts told us that they do not remember such intensity of attacks. Such an attack, in their opinion, is extremely expensive, it is a job that costs hundreds of thousands of marks if it is done by hired hackers. Therefore, the experts we talked to are more inclined to the opinion that it was carried out by a service or company with the appropriate infrastructure.
We withstood that attack, but they never really stopped. One, significantly less intense, continues today. We have taken protective measures, so access to Žurnal is possible only after proper verification, which you must have noticed if you are reading this text.
Of course, we reported the attacks, but the investigation didn't bring any results, which didn't surprise us too much.
Attempts to discredit
Attempts to discredit have been going on since Žurnal was founded. There is nothing we are not accused of, either in the media or on social networks. Collectively or individually, we were mercenaries of all possible parties, participants in a joint criminal enterprise, traitors, auto-chauvinists... Since the anti-Western hysteria has been going on, we are mostly foreign mercenaries who live extremely luxuriously, unlike domestic mercenaries who are naked poor.
For years, high-ranking civil servants have been visiting donor organizations and embassies and demanding that our funding be stopped. One of them stated during a visit to a foreign organization that he would send an inspection to our newsroom if we did not stop writing about his family's business. He was told that it would be a waste of work, because just a few days before that conversation, the audit of our business was completed and not a single irregularity was found. That gentleman was then asked why he uses inspection bodies as a form of pressure. He didn't answer.
INTO THE NEW YEAR WITH NEW PRESSURE
Now we are ready to expect new pressure. Of course, the inspection has to do its job, how lucky we are to have an army of inspectors who can check the daily operations of all possible companies, associations, and institutions... No one would be happier than us if that were to happen. Finally, we too could write about New Year's concerts, weddings of the century and performances that disturb our mothers and sisters.
Still, we have to wonder.
If the inspection reacts in such a hurry after one superficial anonymous report, why did it never react to our texts in which we warned about the theft of public money worth millions?
Maybe because these are not obscure anonymous applications but properly signed and professionally written texts?
Perhaps the reason is that our claims are equipped with appropriate evidence and witness statements, so there would not be too much work for agile officials?
Or because we operate according to the law, pay salaries on time and pay all taxes and contributions properly, which is a rather unusual type of business in a tycoon environment?
Or because there are no political parties, economic lobbies or intelligence services behind us, so we are not influential enough?
We don't know, that's why we ask. But we do not believe that we will get any answers. Because none of us are a "citizen/collaborator".