News that Dragan Bursać, a Bosnian-Herzegovinian journalist living and working in Banja Luka, received the prestigious “European Press Prize 2018” award, also called “the European Pulitzer”, was mainly unnoticed by news media organizations in his hometown.
This wall of silence was also accepted by the vast majority of other media outlets in Republika Srpska, one of the two political parts that make Bosnia and Herzegovina.
To those who know the situation in the country, this could be at first surprising because the award-winning Bursać’s column speaks of war crimes against the Serb population in Konjic, and the media of Republika Srpska are normally eager to publish stories which portrays their own side as victims . (In this practice, the media of Republika Srpska are not the exception, but rather the rule – because media outlets in Bosnia still remain divided along ethnic lines, and each ethnic group pushes their own ethnic narrative via their own media, and almost all media are ethnicaly biased)
So, why was the story about Serbian columnist receiving prestigious prize for his piece portraying crimes against Serbs, ignored by the ethnic Serb media.
One might find the reason for this in the fact that Bursać is a journalist who thinks critically and analyzes a wide range of anomalies in Bosnian society and does not choose “whose crimes” to condemn, but is condemning all crimes committed during the past war. He is also vocal against the political system that borders with totalitarianism.
This has made him “not liked” by the ruling structures and mainstream media in Republika Srpska.
If you are critical against a ruling party in Bosnia (there are three, everything comes in threes in Bosnia and Herzegovina) you are in danger of becoming untouchable, and this has happened to Bursać.
Bursać himself commented on the situation, saying that out of all the Banja Luka’s media, information about him winning the “European Press Prize 2018” was published by only two web news sites – the Buka and Impuls portal.
In normal times, his accomplishment would be welcomed with pride by his home town.
”Believe me Banja Luka, it is not about self-promotion for me. I am sufficiently
promoted, and even beyond. You have not acknowledged me so far, you will not even now, I understand that. But, it hurts me the lack of humanity, Banja Luka… And you know what, Banja Luka, you aim to be the capital of European culture, but you have become just one big walking shame of people who bowed their heads while their noses point to their shoes. Out of fear or shame? I do not know. That’s what I saw in you Banja Luka“, wrote Bursać on his Facebook.
At the end, Bursać noted that one of the most influential people in the Republika Srpska’s media (to quote the author – the one who holds theirs information system, and people’s brains, balls and other organs in his hand”) sent him a text message congratulating him on the award, but when Bursać asked why won’t they publish the story in the media, just so that people know what happened, the media mogul replied in the style of war criminal Radovan Karadzic, saying “Fuck the people!”
“There you are, now, my Banja Luka. Fucked!. Nothing more. Nothing less. Unfortunately … “, concluded the award-winning author.
Here you can read the story that won the prize.