Photo by Flutura Kusari
Kosovo: Draft law on Independent Media Commission might endanger its political independence

ECPMF

27 June 2024

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The draft law on the Independent Media Commission was drafted by the government in a non-transparent procedure without the involvement of civil society and the media industry, and was approved during the end-of-year holidays. The Committee on Media of the Assembly of Kosovo reviewed the draft law in a speedy process, without the involvement of civil society, while the opposition was generally not interested in the review process and has not offered alternatives other than what the government proposed.

 

The Council of Europe, the European Commission, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have found that the draft law deviates from European standards and have offered recommendations to improve it. The recommendations were not considered or treated seriously by the Committee on Media of the Assembly of Kosovo, with 83% of them ignored according to an analysis conducted by Information Integrity Forum.

 

The draft law on IMC is unclear, creates legal uncertainty and does not respect the principle of proportionality. If approved, the Independent Media Commission will be politically captured and online media will be subjected to chaotic regulation that will not work in practice. As a result, media pluralism as an achievement and value that distinguishes Kosovo from the region will be seriously endangered.

 

We invite Lëvizja Vetëvendosje not to pass this draft law that violates the standards of the Council of Europe. We ask the parliament to restart the drafting procedure by establishing a wide working group that includes local and international experts, and representatives of civil society and the media industry. We express our willingness to assist the drafting process with the aim of ensuring Kosovo has a media law that is fully compliant with European standards.

 

Kosovo has experienced an unprecedented and alarming decline in the media freedom index of Reporters Without Borders, dropping 19 places compared to the previous year. The adoption of this law will not contribute towards improvement of the media situation, quite the opposite.

 

Xhemajl Rexha, Chair of board of Kosovo Association of Journalists

Flutura Kusari, Senior Legal Advisor, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom

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