Success Stories

Opening lines of communication between prosecutors and the media

Published on: May 16, 2018

Shortly after graduating from law school, Josip Aničić started volunteering at the West-Herzegovina Canton Prosecutor's Office (PO) in Široki Brijeg, determined to improve its public outreach. A series of training programs provided by USAID’s Justice Activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina and partner organisations inspired his further commitment to enhance government transparency and accountability and provided him with the tools needed to do so.

 “Each time after these trainings I felt empowered and, at some point, I decided to put words into action. After one training that I attended, I went back to my work place and talked to my boss, the chief prosecutor, about the importance of transparency, and she now supports me and my ideas,” explained Mr. Aničić.

Mr. Aničić set about changing the PO’s media relations for the better. He and the PO’s chief prosecutor, Vesna Ćavar, met with several local journalists and openly discussed the root causes of mistrust between their office and the media. Journalists expressed concerns about a closed system, while the PO expressed concerns about being misquoted or misinterpreted by the media.

Putting the skills learned from USAID’s training to use, Mr. Aničić quickly moved to establish more open and direct lines of communication with the media. He gave journalists his cell phone number, encouraged them to call any time they needed additional information about the PO’s work, and made clear the PO’s commitment to transparency.

"Now we have excellent cooperation with the local media. Last year our PO was even praised by several local media as one of the most transparent and proactive POs in BiH. It is possible to build bridges with journalists and become allies, not enemies,” said Aničić.

Now in charge of the PO’s public relations, Mr. Aničić will have ample opportunities to continue building bridges between the PO and the community it serves. Written thank you notes from local media to the West-Herzegovina Canton Prosecutor's Office for its transparency in 2017 can be viewed at https://kt-sirokibrijeg.pravosudje.ba