Kurspahic, Kemal and Zlatko Dizdarevic (Bosnia Herzegovina)
The daily paper Oslobodjenje, or “Liberation,” was founded in Sarajevo in 1943 by Tito supporters fighting against Nazi occupiers.
At the time of the Bruno Kreisky Prize Ceremony, war was raging in the former Yugoslavia. The journalists at the paper were up against extreme odds in a city that was under siege. They only had electricity for a few hours a day, and getting supplies was nearly impossible. Those concerns, however, were only secondary to the danger of being shot by the Serbian snipers who were constantly watching for movement in the building. Six staff members were killed by 1993, and many more were wounded. After the crisis reached Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were few sources of unbiased news that did not promote hatred between various ethnic groups.
Kemal Kurspahic and Zlatko Dizdarevic were able to take pride in themselves for standing against genocide, war, and violence in general. Their paper was printed in both the Latin alphabet, as well as Cyrillic and it was meant to appeal to all peoples of the former Yugoslavia. While endangering their lives, they also drew criticism from supporters of the war on all sides. Kemal Kurspahic was the editor-in-chief of the paper from 1988 until 1994 and he commented that they were a target because they were working with a diverse staff in which all the regions of former Yugoslavia are represented, proving that coexistence was in fact possible.
Kemal Kurspahic went on to be named World Press Review’s International Editor of the Year in 1993 in addition to accepting the Kreisky Prize on behalf of the paper. He was the International Press Institute’s World Press Freedom Hero in 2000 and has since written several books. His book “Prime Time Crime” was published in 2003 and takes a look at the events they experienced first-hand in Sarajevo. He is currently a spokesperson for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna.
Zlatko Dizdarevic became the editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine Svijet after his work at the paper. He also published a compilation of articles written by Oslobodjenje during the conflict titled; „Sarajevo: A War Journal.” Oslobodjenje remains a widely- circulated daily paper in Sarajevo.“