In 2016, Emir Talirević posted fabrications and insults on Facebook about the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) and its reporter Selma Učanbarlić, according to a verdict handed down by the Municipal Court in Sarajevo.
At the time Talirević wrote that CIN was financed by gifts and that Učanbarlić and her colleagues prostituted themselves. This happened in the wake of CIN’s publishing two investigative stories about the business deals of Talirević’s My Clinic and other Sarajevo health institutions.
CIN sued Talirević. Seven days ago, the Municipal court in Sarajevo handed down a verdict in their favor and ordered Talirević to pay up 4,000 KM in damages.
The court established that Talirević posted on Facebook “brutal insults” and fabrications.
“In this specific case, the defendant exited the space of objectivity and entered the area of unacceptable assault on the plaintiff’s reputation,” stated the verdict.
CIN’s lawyer Nedim Ademović said that investigative reporters should not be the target of attacks by powerful persons and that the state must protect them efficiently, systematically, and institutionally.
“The Court confirmed once again that every man, no matter how important he sees himself as, must know that publicly spoken words involve not just freedom of expression, but also carry a responsibility,” said Ademović. “We have proven during the litigation that Dr. Emir Talirević overstepped the limits of freedom of expression and entered into the sphere of slander and insult”.
The sentence is not final and both parties may appeal to the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo.
In 2016, CIN published that the General Hospital in Sarajevo disbanded its pathology department after Sebija Izetbegović was appointed the hospital’s manager. Izetbegović outsourced testing to Talirević’s private clinic for a price nearly three times higher.
In another investigation, CIN wrote how this private clinic was awarded contracts by the Sarajevo Canton Health Care Fund that was headed by Faris Gavrankapetanović at the time.
Following CIN’s lawsuit, Talirević filed a defamation lawsuit. He sued CIN over the statements published in its stories. The case is still ongoing before the Municipal Court in Sarajevo.