AJK launched report on media freedom and journalists’ safety

Source/Author: Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Source/Photo: Photo by: AJK

PRISTINA, 20.11.2017 – Association of Journalists of Kosovo launched on Monday the second edition of the report on the level of media freedom and journalists’ safety.

The report is a continuation of the last year’s base-line assessment, which presented in more details the legislative situation and socio-economic and political issues related to media freedom and journalists’ safety.

The report is divided into three groups of indicators including: Legal protection of media and journalists’ freedoms, Journalists’ position in the newsrooms, professional ethics and level of censorship, and journalists’ safety.

In the first group of indicators, AJK stressed the failed attempt of previous government of Kosovo to recriminalize libel and defamation through the amendments of the Criminal Code of Kosovo. The sponsor of such amendment, the ministry of Justice removed such proposals after reactions from the association and civil societies in general.

The report states again that journalist’ continue to work under unfavourable conditions due to absence or the low and unpaid wages. The difficult economic situation in the country has also affected the media, whose sole source of income is marketing.

The third group of indicators – journalists’ safety – there has been some improvements related to new mechanisms created by justice and security institutions in the country. Though, the main challenge remains ahead when impunity is in question. Within the reporting period, AJK registered 11 cases of threats and attacks against journalists and none of the cases has been brought in front of court. Although, Basic Court in Pristina treated two cases (2014 and 2016) and the accused were sentenced to fines 300 and 500 euro respectively. Otherwise, from January until today, AJK registered 18 cases of threats and attacks against journalists. Kosovo police stated to have registered 24 cases of threats against journalists but AJK understands that some cases are not related directly to the work of journalists and some journalists decided not to make public their cases.

At the launch of the report, there were present head of OSCE mission in Kosovo, Jan Braathu who encouraged AJK and other media professionals to remain together in protection against the attacks against journalists. He also added: “The right to access to information is a powerful tool.”

Kosovo’s Chief Prosecutor, Aleksander Lumezi stated that prosecution will continue to work closely with journalists related to the cases of threats and attacks. “Media and justice should be joint partners in the fight against corruption and settle law and order, therefore fair trials and reporting have main role in international arena,” Lumezi said.

Riccardo Serri from the EU office in Kosovo, deputy general of Kosovo police, Naim Rexha, and Arben Hoti, vice president of the Basic Court in Pristina also attended the conference in Pristina.