(AFP) – Sep 22, 2008
SARAJEVO (AFP) — Bosnia's journalists' association warned Monday that local media supporting organisers of the country's first-ever gay festival were being threatened and called on police to investigate the cases.
Three radio stations and an independent weekly magazine were receiving threat letters for offering "unbiased and ethical" reports about the four-day Sarajevo Queer festival which is to open on Wednesday, an association statement said.
"Letters containing open and very serious threats are an attack on personal safety of the employees of these media outlets as well as safety of their family members and their property," it said.
The association requested that police identify the persons behind letters sent to IFM Student Radio, BH Radio 1, Radio Sarajevo and the Dani magazine and publish their names.
Announcement by gay and lesbian rights group Association Q that it was organising the Queer Festival has run into a storm of criticism, particularly upsetting the Muslim majority as it will fall during the holy month of Ramadan.
Many others, including members of various ethnic political parties, have gone as far as declaring homosexuality an illness and its behaviour deviant.
Such statements have been accompanied by a broader hate campaign, with posters declaring "Death to Homos" appearing in the capital and a torrent of abuse on Internet forums.
They have been met by condemnation and calls for tolerance from rights groups like Amnesty International and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The police were preparing special security measures for the festival labeled a "high risk" event.
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