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Oslobođenje was founded on August 30, 1943 in Donja Trnova near Ugljevik, as an anti-Nazi newspaper. During the Bosnian war and the Siege of Sarajevo, the Oslobođenje staff operated out of a makeshift newsroom in a bomb shelter after its 10-story office building had been destroyed. The war left five staff members dead and 25 wounded. In 1993, it was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
In 1995, shortly after the Dayton Agreement which ended the Bosnian War, Željko Kopanja co-founded Nezavisne Novine, a weekly independent newspaper, in order to "foster improved relationships among Serbs, Muslims and Croats in Bosnia". The magazine was funded in part by the United States Agency for International Development, per a part of the Dayton Agreement which had called for funding for non-nationalist media. Beginning with a circulation of 4,000, the newspaper later became a daily, and its circulation climbed to 18,000 in the next five years.
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