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Media Section in the PSE

By Capt. Luis Barber
First published in
SFOR Informer#103, December 20, 2000

Sarajevo - Some of the goals for the Psychological Operations Support Element (PSE) in HQ SFOR are Bosnian trust of SFOR, encouraging compliance with the General Framework Agreement for Peace and dissuade violence among the entities. The Media Section is the PSE tool for providing co-ordinated, integrated, multi-media activities in support of SFOR's campaign for peace within BiH.
Under the command of the PSE Chief, Lt. Col. Hergen Koglin, German Army, is the Media Section Director, American Maj. Paul Hauser who leads a section comprised of nine military and 23 civilian staff working in different departments.
"The work we do transmits messages to the population of BiH in general, and can be more specific if we need to direct these messages at specific groups within the population," said Hauser. "we (work)to help the people of BiH themselves in creating there own society, government and peace."
One of the best known products is the Audio Section, which produces Radio MIR (Music and Information Radio). Arif Mesihovic, one of the broadcasters, explained that his work is a very gratifying one because Radio MIR is influential, especially for young people.
Broadcasters receive updated general information from several international and independence agencies and they broadcast it every two hours. Not only music fills the 24 hours of programming, but also they broadcast events, stories, some spots about safety, return of refugees, and so on. They run the Morning and Evening Show, a two (morning) or three (evening) hours live program where young people can phone and give their opinion about different general topics chosen among subjects like education, culture or ecology.
The Video Section, with TV SFOR, creates programmes varying from 30 seconds spots to half-hour long documentaries for broadcasting on local television. French Staff Sgt. Yann Le Bras works as Assistant Video, he said he enjoys working with military and civilian people. "I think everybody can learn from each other and we have to be the same way," he said.
Capt. Jose Maria Acosta de la Serna, Spanish Army, is the Print Product Chief. He co-ordinates the illustrators, marking priorities of every programme they carry out. Once the product is ready and approved, he disseminates it as advertisements to the local papers and magazines, 18 all over BiH, as posters to be delivered by MNDs, or by putting it up on the billboards of this country. They also make novelty items, like balls, t-shirts, pencil cases, and reflective safety bracelets used for spreading different messages.
"It's a very interesting work because I am in touch with Bosnian people, which range from adults with high education level to all-aged children. For a father like I am, it is very rewarding knowing that SFOR is worried about them," he commented.
German 1Lt Martin Ruf guides the Periodical Section, which produces the magazines "The Herald of Progress" (HoP), and "Mirko." While the target audience for Mirko is the youngest in BiH, for HoP it is the adults. German Capt. Dirk Drews, editor in HoP, explained that the content of articles is created with the intention to be interesting for all three ethnic groups, and for this reason is almost unique among BiH press products.
"By presenting the people of BiH who improved their economical and social position through their self-engagement, the articles give ideas for possible ways to achieve prosperity," he said.
Most of the copies of the magazines are printed in the different Bosnian languages and the rest in English.
According to the newcomer local journalist Edin Dzeko, the feeling one can get while working in the HoP is the true sense of co-operation, dedication and professionalism.
"HoP's universal message is oriented to better the future of all inhabitants of Bosnia and Hercegovina. Now, as a member of its editorial board, I am aware that the people standing behind this project are really dedicated to this as well. I know that we are doing our best in order to achieve one common goal - long lasting peace in BiH," he said.
"The synergy of the cooperation between the civilian and military personnel ensures that the media products we produce not only reflect SFOR programmes and themes, but that they are meaningful and acceptable to the citizens of BiH," added Hauser.

Related link: SFOR at Work