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Nordic Polish Battlegroup invites local press

By 2Lt Alexis Clement
First published in
SFOR Informer #95, August 30, 2000

Doboj - SFOR, so as to carry out its mission, must keep the local populations informed. The best way to do this is to send the information through the media of the country, especially when the aim is to stop the spreading of rumours.
For instance, in the North Pole Battle Group (NPBG) area of responsibility (AOR), some rumour claimed SFOR was helping the local police carry out evictions of people from houses illegally occupied. In order to show the true nature of the work SFOR is performing, the BG Press Information Office (PIO) organized a tour of the various sites the NPBG is working on.
On July 26, local reporters were invited for a tour beginning with a press conference at the BG HQ in Donoj to explain, among other topics, the difference between a refugee and a displaced person. The local television channel, Doboj TV , and the Sarajevo newspaper, Oslobodenje, covered the whole tour.
In the morning, the group first drove in an SFOR chartered coach to the town of Maglaj, located 25 km south of Doboj. There, they visited building sites as well as the Civil Military Cooperation Centre (CIMIC). Later, they came back to Doboj and enjoyed a local lunch before driving to Grapska Gornja (cf. edition 89) where returnees have been rebuilding their houses for a year.
Actually, there were close to 1,000 houses in the village and thanks to the NPBG CIMIC help, and more particularly to the second CIMIC centre located in the heart of the village - directed by Maj. Heikki Wala, of the Finnish Army, 650 houses have been cleared, 89 have a roof and 12 are under construction.
Thirty families are now living in the village again while 700 people work there on a daily basis. A water system, an electricity network as well as a school are being built. The tour eventually ended in Besici (cf 89 and 92 editions) before the group came back to Doboj.
On each site, the reporters attended a short briefing after which they could ask questions. The local press has thus had the opportunity to see what SFOR is actually doing on the field and could report these facts to its readers and viewing audience.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Finland