Mirsada Sakic-Hatibovic, Arijana Saracevic | 1993 Courage in Journalism Award

RT-BiH, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Mirsada Sakic-Hatibovic and Arijana Saracevic won the joint award for IWMF’s Courage in Journalism for their fearless reporting during the Bosnian civil war. When the war erupted in March 1992, the two were working for RT-BiH, a radio television in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They continued their excellent work despite repeated bombs, difficult communication, and a shortage in water, food and all necessities.

Their courageous efforts helped the RT-BiH station to continue its news broadcast. The RH-BiH managed to broadcast a news summary every two hours on TV and radio, reaching about 1 million people.

Mirsada Sakic-Hatibovic and her cameramen couldn’t afford the expensive flak jackets worn by visiting foreign journalists, and when out reporting, they often traveled in a car with the window shot out. But as a producer and anchorwoman for RT-BiH, she continued to broadcast frontline reports.

“I’m not braver than anyone else. I’m the mother of two children and I want to live, too,” Sakic-Hatibovic said. “I’m just doing my duty.”

In December 1992, after 250 days of siege, she left Sarajevo for Paris to work full time publicizing the Bosnian journalists’ struggle, hoping to gain international attention for journalists working in her turbulent country. Sakic-Hatibovic helped to keep the station alive through her fundraising and media outreach efforts in Europe.

Sakic-Hatibovic was also a writer/producer of broadcasts transmitted by some other TV stations such as Zagreb, Ljubljana and Belgrade.

Prior to the Bosnian civil war, she was a producer and journalist for various daily news programs, such as “Political Magazine”, “Green Panorama”. She started her producer career in the 1970s.

During the 18 months of war, Arijana Saracevic filed over 2,000 reports from the front line about the plight of the Bosnian people. She was awarded the annual prize of the Association of BiH journalists for 1992.

In addition to being a full-time war correspondent for BiH, she also worked for several weeklies published in Bosnia and abroad, Blic, Vozdra, Enrobosna and Ljiljan.

Saracevic started her professional work as a journalist in 1987, and first worked as a radio reporter with Radio BiH. Two years later, she transferred to TV BiH, starting to report on the aggression of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sakic-Hatibovic also worked for UNESCO in Sarajevo on a program assisting independent Bosnian television stations. Saracevic covered war again in the region when she reported on Kosovo.

Mirsada Sakic-Hatibovic and Arijana Saracevic is the second winner of the Courage in Journalism Award, following Kemal Kurspahic and Gordana Knezevic (1992).

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Kemal Kurspahic, Gordana Knezevic, Bosnia-Herzegovina | 1992 Courage in Journalism Award