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Video Documentaries On Stories Of Struggle Awarded

Screengrab of documentary film by Sarajevo bureau journalists Marija Arnautovic and Selma Boracic about the plight of Roma families.
Screengrab of documentary film by Sarajevo bureau journalists Marija Arnautovic and Selma Boracic about the plight of Roma families.

Three journalists from RFE/RL’s Sarajevo bureau have been recognized for their work in video and television production, adding to several recent accolades for the Balkan Service.

Maja Nikolic’s documentary Each Morning, New Fear was among five entries receiving UNICEF’s annual regional media awards. The report portrays the ordeal of children from the Bosnian village of Potocani who set out before dawn every morning to walk seven kilometers of gravel road through the woods to reach the nearest school in the city of Zvornik.

In the documentary, Nikolic shadows the children on their arduous trek, speaking to them about how the journey impacts their learning. She interviews parents and school administrators, who blame the lack of transportation on political elites who are indifferent to the problems of average Bosnians. Just days after the video was published on the Balkan Service’s website, a group of Bosnians living in Switzerland donated a van that is now used to transport the children to school.

“Your help, support, and interest in issues related to the protection and promotion of children's rights are very important to us,” UNICEF Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Ayman Abulaban told the winners. “I do not have to say how important it is that the media be promoters of the rights of children and their friends, those who understand the rights of the child.”

Two other journalists from Sarajevo, Marija Arnautovic and Selma Boracic, were recognized at the Podgorica Forum, an annual gathering of journalists from Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia. Both of them received awards in the category of radio-television production.

Arnautovic was awarded for a documentary feature about 20 Roma families surviving in an abandoned army barracks without running water and other amenities. Boracic’s documentary, published on the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica killing of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys during the Bosnian War, told the story of the genocide through the suffering of one family who lost three generations to the atrocity. Both features were produced for TV Liberty, a 30-minute weekly TV news magazine produced by RFE/RL’s Balkan Service and airing in Bosnia since 1996, which recently celebrated its 1,000th episode.

“The Podgorica Forum gives the most prestigious regional media awards, and I was pleased to see the hard work of our Sarajevo bureau’s TV production recognized,” said Balkan Service Director Gordana Knezevic. “What happened after the airing of Each Morning, New Fear also demonstrates the impact our journalists’ work.”