IFJ Backs Sarajevo Strike As Journalists Fight To Preserve Independent Newspaper

The International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest journalists organisation, expressed its solidarity today to striking journalists of Bosnia Herzegovina's oldest daily newspaper Oslobodjenje.

"Six years ago this newspaper was a symbol of defiance in the struggle for democracy during the Bosnia war," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary, "now the journalists are fighting to preserve the paper's traditions and to create decent conditions for the future."

The strike, which started on May 17th, came after several months of negotiating on the following crucial issues: repayment of wages owned for the past ten months, social and health insurance, and new management as the existing management appears to be inactive on the issues in question.

"After 58 years of publications - even during the darkest days of bombardment and siege in Sarajevo, it is a shocking indictment of the new management that journalists have been forced to stop work to achieve their basic rights," said Aidan White.

The IFJ, and its regional organisation, the European Federation of Journalists, is calling on all of its members around the world to express their solidarity with the Sarajevo strikers and to press the management to return to the negotiating table and to reach and agreement that will guarantee basic social rights to the editorial workforce. The management have refused to give information about the state of the company's finances after its recent privatisation.

"Management have a responsibility to be open and to have dialogue with their workforce, " said the IFJ, "We agree strongly with our colleagues in the Independent Syndicate of Journalists that is a fight for the survival of the newspaper."