AJK and the OSCE Mission in Kosovo mark World Press Freedom Day with concern for the drastic deterioration of the situation

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The Association of Journalists of Kosovo today marked World Press Freedom Day in cooperation with its long-standing partner, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.

The conference began with the opening speech of Xhemajl Rexha, Chairperson of the AJK, who cited the Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders.

“As rarely ever, this morning started with a Reporters Without Borders Index report, which showed that in recent years Kosovo has experienced the biggest regression, 19 places lower than last year when it was ranked 56th. This ranking is not a surprise for the community of journalists and media in Kosovo because of what we have experienced in the last year, but it should be an alarm for those who have influenced this decline… and here I am mostly referring to the institutions of Kosovo, specifically the Government of Kosovo,” said Rexha.

The attendees were also addressed by Ambassador Michael Davenport, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, who said that the OSCE will support the journalists in doing their work.

“Today is the day to celebrate the vital role of the media in any democracy, to inform the public, and to hold the authorities accountable… Also, it is not bad to remember today that journalists should feel in good condition and strong. To do their work, they must first feel safe and free and not be afraid of threats and blackmail. As Xhemajl also said, the Reporters Without Borders report has placed Kosovo in 75th place, which marked a drop from 56th place that was last year, and there is no doubt that in the last 12 months we have had an increase in violence against journalists,” he said.

The conference continued with a discussion on the challenges of upholding professional standards and the Code of Ethics while reporting. The panelists consisted of Imer Mushkolaj, Executive Director of the Kosovo Written Media Council; Jeton Mehmeti, Chairman of the Board of the Independent Media Commission; Fatmir Menekshe, Executive Director of Radio Romano Avazo; and Gentiana Hasani, Journalist at IndeksOnline.

This panel discussed some of the challenges that journalists face while reporting from different areas, how the Press Council of Kosovo and the Independent Media Commission (IMC) approach complaints about possible violations during the reporting of journalists and media, as well as ways and best practices to improve journalist and media reporting in the future.

The Association of Journalists of Kosovo began the week by launching an exhibition of cartoons in celebration of World Press Freedom Day, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kosovo. The exhibition is currently being held at the Lapidarium of the National Museum of Kosovo.

AJK would like to thank our colleagues from Katror for facilitating the live broadcast of the conference on the AJK website today.