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Sarajevo (Fena) – The Federal News Agency (Fena) organized a conference in Sarajevo, in collaboration with the OSCE Mission, titled “Media Accountability in the Electoral Process”.

The Head of the OSCE Mission, Ambassador Brian Aggeler, stated that fair and transparent elections are the cornerstone of successful democracy and cultivate legitimacy and public trust in the political system, and that it is crucial for the electoral process in BiH to support the highest standards of transparency and protect the fundamental rights of its citizens.

He added that the election administration is a complex and sensitive process that requires a high degree of professionalism and integrity not only from the Central Election Commission (CEC), but also from political parties, civil society, judiciary, law enforcement bodies, and the media.

Aggeler reminded that the trust of citizens in democratic institutions in some Western Balkan countries, including BiH, is probably at its lowest level, and that in a survey conducted by the OSCE a few years ago, no electoral institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina was trusted by more than 16% of citizens.

He emphasized that this lack of trust in the democratic process should be an alarm for all of us that it is crucial for the authorities to take these issues seriously and implement measures that strengthen the integrity of the electoral process and restore citizens’ trust.

News agencies have a duty to act as arbiters of truth in the information ecosystem – Director of FENA, Elmir Huremović

Director of FENA, Elmir Huremović at the conference ”Media Accountability in the Electoral Process” in Sarajevo (Photo FENA/Amer Kajmović)

The Director of FENA, Elmir Huremović, said that recent election cycles around the world have shown the real possibilities of new technologies when artificial intelligence is used to create and spread targeted disinformation campaigns, using social media algorithms to influence public opinion on an unprecedented scale.

He noted that these campaigns, often spreading inaccurate information, were designed to exploit political divisions, showing how technology can easily be used to undermine the democratic process.

– Faced with such challenges, the role of news agencies becomes increasingly important. As a source of information, news agencies have a duty to act as arbiters of truth in the information ecosystem. Their mission of delivering accurate and impartial news is crucial in combating misinformation and in educating the public, thereby protecting the democratic process – said Huremović.

He stated that FENA, as the leading news agency in the region, is committed to transmitting unbiased, accurate, and timely news, establishing it as a solid barrier against the flood of misinformation that threatens to undermine a democratic society. 

The highest journalistic standards are key in reporting the electoral process – Deputy Director of FENA, Ilija Musa

Deputy Director of FENA, Ilija Musa at the conference ”Media Accountability in the Electoral Process” in Sarajevo (Photo FENA/Amer Kajmović)

The Deputy Director of FENA, Ilija Musa, speaking about the conclusions of the conference, said that editorial freedom and independence, transparency of media operations, and accountability to the public, are the paths to the development of fundamental democratic values in society, as well as in the work of public media.

– Therefore, in reporting on electoral activities, journalists and media houses must adhere to the highest professional standards – noted Musa. 

For the independent functioning of media, as concluded, it is necessary to regulate (media) legal framework that allows transparent functioning of media houses, and a system of support for the diversity and pluralism of media content.

– The role of news agencies as the most important source of media content is crucial in combating media manipulations and misinformation. By organizing another conference Media Innovations and Trends, the social responsibility of the Federal News Agency becomes even clearer, and its position as a media leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina even more evident – Musa conveyed. (8.5.)