AJK condemns political interference at Kosovo’s Public Broadcaster, RTK


The Association of Journalists of Kosovo has been following with great concern developments at RTK, which resulted this Sunday with Shkumbin Ahmetxhekaj, leaving his position of Director General, as international press freedoms organizations warned lately, would happen.

Ahmetxhekaj, a seasoned journalist with the Kosovo Public Broadcaster said about “a 7 month political pressure with deep disagreements with the Board about fundamental issues concerning the way to move forward with the Public Broadcaster”.

RTK’s Board should explain if they are prone to political pressure in their decision-making, and if Ahmetxhekaj’s removal came as a result of that.

The current composition of the Board, who approved Ahmetxhekaj’s resignation, earlier appointed Mr. Rilind Gervalla as Director of RTK TV, someone who was a former activist and financer of the ruling Vetevendosje political party.

Kosovo Government, through its officials, including its MPs, many times has publically exposed their tendency for partisan control of RTK, which to us is an unacceptable practice.

AJK also calls on proper dealing with complaints about the way Radio Kosova 1 works and is managed.

Instead of political pressure applied through the Board and cutting the budget by half, the Government and the Assembly should make sure RTK is financially stable, and find a solution for its property.

AJK pays tribute of the essential role the Public Broadcaster plays in Kosovo’s functioning democracy as a very important pillar of media freedoms in the country.

RTK’s journalists, camera operators and other staff should be able to do their job in the public interest, without any political or financial pressure.

Kosovo has seen a dramatic decrease, by going down 19 places in the Reporters Without Border Media Freedom Index.