PRISTINA, 17.05.2021 – The Association of Journalists of Kosovo – AJK, since Saturday (15 May), has followed with concern the developments regarding the case of the journalist Mentor Gjergjaj, who upon an order of the Basic Prosecution in Gjakova has been invited to show up this Tuesday, at the Police Station in Gjakova in order to be interviewed for a case related to an article published by the journalist on May 3rd 2018, in the online newspaper “Gazeta Express”.
Gjergjaj via a post on his profile on social network Facebook has announced that he was invited in the capacity of a suspect from a Police investigator in Gjakova about “recording without authorization”, although as the journalist himself states the respective audio-recording was never published in the media, but was handed over only to the Prosecution as evidence on the threat towards him on that day in Gjakova, while he was reporting from the field.
“When it comes to an audio-recording, then we have a double issue here. That recording or detached parts of it have never been made public, neither in “Express” or anywhere else. Except in the Basic Prosecution of Gjakova, which I have personally submitted to one Prosecutor as evidence, as foreseen with applicable law, about threats towards me and the team of the newspaper at that day, by an Albanian citizen. Along with the recording, I have also submitted names of the case witnesses who until now have never been invited to be interviewed”.
In the press release from the Basic Prosecution in Gjakova is stated that the criminal report filed by G.A, submitted to the Special Prosecution in 2019, has been transferred this year to the competence of Prosecution in Gjakova.
“Prosecution in Gjakova is informing You that the private criminal report of the damaged party GA, submitted to the Special Prosecution in 2019 year, has been transferred to the competence of the Basic Prosecution in Gjakova in 2020. On May 7th 2021, the State Prosecutor has undertaken investigative actions about the criminal offense “Unauthorized photographing and other recording“, in compliance with Article 205, paragraph 1 of the CCRK, where the same, in the capacity of journalist went to the house of the damaged party and recorded him in his personal residence, by violating his privacy. In this regard, Prosecutor of the case has requested questioning of the injured party, G.A., and in the capacity of the suspected person, Mentor Gjergjaj”.
For AJK it is completely unacceptable, disturbing and scandalous invitation to interview the journalist Mentor Gjergjaj in the capacity of a suspect, hence we are inviting the Basic Prosecution of Gjakova to withdraw the invitation for interview, since the audio-recording was never published in the media.
These invitations violate the rights of journalists, freedom of media and freedom of expression, and recently it has become a practice to interfere in the work of journalists.
AJK invites the competent authorities to take action within their competences, as it also is inviting all of the state officials to stop pressuring and obstructing journalists while exercising their profession.
Regarding the mentioned case, AJK will notify all of the international organizations that advocate for the rights of journalists.