Klan Kosova and the YIHR organization to appear court

Photo by AJK

PRISTINA, 26.04.2018 – In the Pristina Basic Court, a trial was held between Klan Kosova, ri specifically its director Baton Haxhiu, and the organization “Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR)”.

This civil case is connected to a lawsuit filed by Haxhiu, the director of Klan Kosova television channel, Baton Haxhiu in June 2010 against YIHR, accusing the latter of slander after it published in May of the same year a reporta which presented Klan Kosova as a medium that “favored the Democratic Party of Kosovo”.

In The fourth court hearing of the case, defense witnesses invited by YIHR, testified in front of the court in relation to the allegations that this organization faces.

On May 24, 2010, YIHR published a report titled “State of Constriction” whose purpose, according to the representatives of YIHR, was to measure human rights and freedom in Kosovo.

One of the main paragraphs of this report discussed the limitation that media reporting faced in particular the media landscape of 2008-9. In this paragraph, the author of the report, Alex Anderson, stated his opinion on the political preferences of media subjects in Kosovo, and in which he assessed Klan Kosova as a medium that organized debates and panels that “favored the Democratic Party of Kosovo” during the 2009 election campaign.

“My conclusion on the preference for the PDK was as result of the fact that on prime time during e panels and debates organized by this television channel, analysts who have expressed positive opinions about the PDK were invited. Other facts also support my conclusion, such as the fact that only a few months later, those analysts from those debates joined PDK, “Anderson said in front of the court.

Anderson states that this report was a reflection of his opinion and judgment upon analyzing television shows for about six months, and after conversations he had with citizens – viewers of these television programs.He stated that after the publication of the report, Klan Kosova and its director reacted to the content of this report, sending a written remark, which upon being received by Anderson, was then added to the report as the footnote no.81 by Anderson, who believes that such a note meant that it was an t elaboration of what was said in that paragraph concerning the freedom of the press.

According to Anderson, the elaboration had to with a compliment he made to Klan Kosova, for being an innovative television, and secondly, according to him, clarified why he had presented his views about f Klan Kosova’s favoritism of PDK.

Meanwhile, the second witness in this case was YIHR’s former executive director, Sara Maliqi, and stated in the court that the “State of Constriction” report was one of the best reports that the organization had drafted and that the purpose of this report was to explore the issues related to human rights and the effort that institutions make in respecting these rights.

On the other hand, the legal representative of Baton Haxhiu, lawyer Nora Veliu, objected to witness testimonies claiming that the respondent party did not meet the burden of proof to prove the veracity of contentious content of the report nor did they act responsibly in the drafting of this report, and according to her, YIHR has published a false statement in the report.

Meanwhile, the legal representative of YIHR, , Merita Stublla, said that the purpose of this report was public interest and that the claims of the plaintiff do not stand. She has asked the court to treat this case as unfounded and to reject the filed lawsuit.

The judicial review of this civil litigation case was also done during this court session, as well as the administration of evidence was done by Naime Ahmeti, the judge presiding the case.

Judge Ahmeti obliged both legal representatives to file the final statements n written form to the court and the decision on this civil case will be submitted to the parties in written form within the deadlines set by law.

Association of Journalists of Kosovo, Pristina, 26/04/2018