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MFRR and SJN express deep concern over attacks on media workers in Kosovo

ECPMF

01 June 2023

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The current political developments in Kosovo have once again stirred up an atmosphere that hinders the ability of journalists to carry out their responsibilities with credibility and without obstacles.

 

Together with our partners in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and SafeJournalists Network, we express our deep concern over a series of attacks on journalists and media personnel in the northern municipalities of Kosovo from May 26th to May 31st, 2023.

 

During the period from May 26th to May 31st, 2023, Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) and SafeJournalists Network recorded a total of 20 incidents of assaults and attacks against journalists and media personnel in various municipalities of Kosovo. These incidents highlight the alarming rise in violence and intimidation targeting journalists, hindering their ability to carry out their vital work in a safe and unbiased manner. The list of all 20 recorded cases is available here.

 

Xhemajl Rexha, Chairperson of AJK, highlights the constant appeals to local and international security bodies, urging them to provide a secure perimeter where journalists can carry out their work without hindrance or fear of attack. Unfortunately, these appeals have not been heeded so far.

 

The SafeJournalists Network and  Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR)  find  this situation extremely worrying, as journalists tend to be the primary targets during protests and riots in northern Kosovo. Testimonies from our colleagues, along with the documented attacks, provide further evidence of the dangerous working conditions in Zvecan, particularly the lack of adequate protective equipment.

 

The situation raises concerns and apprehension regarding the possibility of future, potentially more severe occurrences. The SafeJournalists Network, representing over 8,200 media professionals and the undersigned organisations, calls upon the international presence in Kosovo, responsible for ensuring stability, to prioritise the protection and welfare of journalists. We urge them to promote a secure environment that enables journalists to fulfil their professional duties without fear of violence or intimidation. Furthermore, we call upon all state and local officials to ensure equal treatment of all journalists in Kosovo.

 

The SafeJournalists Network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about these cases of attacks on journalists from May 26th to May 31st, 2023. We emphasise that each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy, and the rights of all citizens.

 

Signed: 

  • ARTICLE 19 Europe
  • Association of Journalists of Kosovo
  • Association of Journalists of Macedonia
  • BH Journalists Association
  • Croatian Journalists’ Association
  • European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
  • European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
  • Free Press Unlimited (FPU)
  • Independent Journalists Association of Serbia
  • International Press Institute (IPI)
  • OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)
  • Trade Union of Media of Montenegro

This statement was coordinated by The SafeJournalists Network and Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. This project provides legal and practical support, public advocacy and information to protect journalists and media workers. The MFRR is organised by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19 Europe, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The project is co-funded by the European Commission.

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