By Cpl. Nicolas Girault
First published in
SFOR Informer#119, August 8, 2001
The magazine Mostovi (Bridges) is distributed
by SFOR patrols. It is produce by the Psychological Operations
cell (PSYOPS) in Banja Luka. Its main objective is to bring people
together. In this country where each word is important, the task
is a challenging one.
Banja Luka - "This magazine is the only one
in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to be written in Latinic and Cyrillic
alphabets," said Canadian Capt. Erik Esselaar, editor of
The journal strives to achieve understanding and acceptance among
"It is not possible for this kind of magazine to actually
have a commercial use," said Sinica Marcic, deputy editor
and, in reference to the two alphabets.
Rather, the goal is to reach people.
addition to Esselaar and Marcic, who is a local from Banja Luka,
the team is composed of Sgt. Ian Field from the Royal Marines,
a graphic designer, and two other locals: Sanja Grabovac, art
editor, and Draska Kremenovic, interpreter. The locals on the
staff play an important role by adding to the strength and credibility
of Mostovi as a journal for all people of BiH.
The distribution of Mostovi permits a dialogue between soldiers
and civilians. In doing so, the magazine is a real resource for
SFOR soldiers in their work.
Pictures are very important. They attract the attention of the
people to the articles, encouraging them to read and accept the
other alphabet. "The goal is to reach 15- to 35-year-olds,
and to give them unbiased news. We give them the entertainment
features they want, but we also have more educational articles.
We have articles about SFOR activities, like those linked to the
General Framework Agreement For Peace (GFAP), or mine awareness
for example," said Esselaar. "Never more than two subjects
like this in the 12 pages of each issue," he added.
Sometimes Mostovi works with Radio Oksigen on a joint PSYOPS campaign,
like the one before the Ferhadija ceremony in Banja Luka. They
also worked together during the closure of a part of the Glamoc
Range and have helped sensitise people to the problems of Displaced
Persons and Refugees (DPREs).
Pictures, illustrations and text come from a variety of sources,
including the web and then are organised by the magazine team.
Each detail is important and every precaution is taken to not
hurt feelings. They stay "as neutral as possible," explained
Each week, 33,500 issues are distributed throughout Multinational
Division Southwest (MND-SW) and 2,500 others in the other MNDs.
The suggestions of readers (15 letters each week) and soldiers
help to continually improve the magazine.
"What happens in the country must be broadcast. I prefer
to have a progressive view rather than a single point of view,"
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