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Media organizations sent a letter to the re-elected President of the European Commission

photo: canva

After the re-appointment of Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission, the media and journalistic organizations sent a letter to the newly elected President. The letter aims to cover key topics related to press freedom, safety of journalists and EU mechanisms such as the European Media Freedom Act or the Digital Services Act, which the coalition wants to see among the political priorities of the Commission’s next mandate.




July 19, 2024

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

European Commission

Rue de la Loi 200

1049 Brussels



Dear President von der Leyen,

We are writing as members of the media and press, journalist organizations, and the wider media freedom community to congratulate you on your re-appointment as President of the European Commission, and to urge you to ensure that media freedom, the protection of journalists, and EU citizens’ access to public interest journalism remain high political priorities over the coming term of your Commission.

The last Commission took important legislative and non-legislative measures to address media freedom and the protection of journalists. Despite these laudable efforts, media freedom around Europe is subject to severe threats and restrictions, posing a risk to European Union democratic values. Through their work, journalists uphold such values, fight disinformation, and contribute to a better functioning of the EU institutions. It is essential that the next Commission cement this legacy and support durable and long-lasting solutions to strengthen the space for media freedom, pluralism and independence as well as the sustainability and competitiveness of the media sector in Europe.

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly urge you to continue the legacy of the outgoing Vice-President for Values and Transparency and re-appoint another Vice-President with a clear and robust mandate to use all available EU mechanisms, including policy, legislation, and budget, to promote press freedom and the safety of journalists. In particular, we urge you to explicitly list this mandate in your mission letter to one of the Vice-Presidents, establishing it as a political priority over the next five-year term.


We ask that the Vice-President have a sufficiently robust and far-ranging mandate to address the following:


  1. Reinforce DG Connect to lead on media: 

– Guarantee that media freedom remains a political priority for the European Commission and provide a dedicated budget and human resources increase to DG Connect, to act as lead Directorate-General for media freedom and pluralism -as a strengthened body within the Commission. This would ensure necessary synergies and coherent enforcement between digital and media policies, in particular when it comes to artificial intelligence, copyright and audiovisual rules as well as the Digital Services Act.


  1. Make EU Media law a reality: 

– Ensure the ambitious enforcement of the European Media Freedom Act to promote media independence, support public service media, build financial sustainability of the media, and

strengthen the effectiveness of the European Board of Media Services (“the Board”) to, amongst other things, consult meaningfully with civil society.

– Ensure a thorough and meaningful assessment of any relevant EU instruments and legislation that could impact press freedom.


  1. Advance the safety of journalists: 

– Ambitiously review the Safety of Journalists Recommendation 2021 to advance the ongoing efforts by Member States to improve the safety of journalists, online and offline.

– In cooperation with the press freedom community, provide support and guidance to all EU Member States in line with the Commission’s Journalist Safety Recommendation, the anti-SLAPP Directive, the anti-SLAPP Recommendation and recommendations from the Annual Rule of Law reports.


  1. Strengthen the plurality of media providers and ensure media sustainability online and offline: 

– Use the mechanisms within the Digital Services Act and the European Media Freedom Act to strengthen the position of European journalism in the digital environment and strengthen media in the face of the growing emergence of online platforms and artificial intelligence. – Establish a dedicated strategy of funding for the news media, including a new programme for journalism as part of the next Multiannual Financial Framework, and ensure the continuous support for ongoing funding initiatives.


  1. Strengthen the EU’s action on the rule of law:

– Be ambitious and creative with regards to the application of the 2020 Regulation on a general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget by making EU funds conditional when violations of media freedom in Member States breach the rule of law and EU treaty values as they relate to EU budget (with a view to possibly opening and amending the 2020 Regulation if it cannot fit this role).

– Further strengthen the dialogue around the Rule of Law Mechanism (and Report) to scrutinize and improve measures taken by Member States with a view to tangibly improving the lives and work of journalists, and building trust in the EU institutions to safeguard media freedom as part of the rule of law.


Thank you for your consideration of our requests.



  1. Albanian Media Institute
  2. ARTICLE 19
  3. Association of European Journalists (AEJ Belgium)
  4. Cartoonists Rights
  5. Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ Hungary)
  6. Committee to Protect Journalists
  7. Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE)
  8. European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
  9. European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
  10. European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) 11. Faktograf – The Association for the Informed Public 12. Free Press Unlimited (FPU)
  11. Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) 14. IFEX
  12. Initiative for Freedom of Expression-Turkey (IFoX) 16. International Media Support (IMS)
  13. International Press Institute (IPI)
  14. IPS Communication Foundation/ bianet 19. Lie Detectors
  15. Media Diversity Institute (MDI)
  16. OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)
  17. PEN International
  18. Platform for Independent Journalism (P24) 24. Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
  19. Society of Journalists (Warsaw)
  20. South East Europe Media Organisation -SEEMO

AJK condemns the cyber attack on “Sbunker”


The online media platform “Sbunker” was the target of a major cyber attack today, resulting in a compromise of its content.

“Sbunker wants to inform the public that today, 16 July, its website www.sbunker.org underwent a coordinated and sophisticated cyber attack. We are back online and are working to recover the content which has been temporarily compromised. Although we managed to save most of our content, the attackers were able to delete the last four months’ worth of content. The full evaluation of the damage caused by this malicious operation is still ongoing. However, judging from the extent and sophistication of the attack we can conclude that this operation was carried out by a group of professionals.”, it is said in their announcement.

AJK condemns the attack and sees it as an attempt against freedom of media and expression in Kosovo.

AJK calls upon the Cyber Unit of the Kosovo Police to investigate the case with priority and to inform the media involved about the results of the investigation.

AJK Calls for President’s Public Statement on IMC Law


The Association of Journalists of Kosovo is monitoring the reactions following the recent approval of the Law on the Independent Media Commission, by the parliamentary majority in the Assembly of Kosovo.

Concerns raised by AJK have also been echoed by the Office of the European Union in Kosovo, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, and several foreign diplomatic missions in Kosovo, all noting that the law does not align with the standards of the Council of Europe.

AJK has requested that the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Mrs. Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, take a stance on this law and communicate it to the public, rather than solely focusing on her formal duty of enacting laws. The significance of free media and media pluralism in a democratic society is crucial.

The President needs to address any threats to media freedom publicly and collaborate with other decision-making institutions to protect press freedom as a fundamental pillar of a healthy democracy in a country seeking integration into the EU.

AJK: IMC Law adopted by Kosovo Assembly is an attack against media freedom and an attempt to discipline and control them


The Association of Journalists of Kosovo is very concerned after the Kosovo Assembly voted on the Independent Media Commission Law.

Vetevendosje Movement of PM Kurti has voted the Law with a minimum quorum, with opposition boycotting the voting.

The ruling political party ignored the concerns of media and civil society, as it did with the Council of Europe Expert report, which concluded most of the Laws are not in line with European standards, including those of CoE which Kosovo aims to join. This was brought to the attention of the lawmakers, by Speaker Glauk Konjufca, as well.

Today’s decision is one of the worst attacks of the Kosovo Government and Vetëvendosje against media freedoms in Kosovo, in an attempt to discipline and control the media, which started when they took power.

Today’s decision will have a negative impact on Kosovo rankings in the media freedom index of the related organizations.

AJK calls for all legal and constitutional means to be used, to prevent the implementation of the law as it is.

Camera operator of Betimi për Drejtësi was arrested and escorted by the police


The Association of Journalists of Kosovo is alarmed by the arrest and Police escorting of the camera operator of the media outlet Betimi për Drejtësi (Oath for Justice), Arianit Tahiri.

Tahiri was accompanied by journalist Alberta Hashani, and they were part of the team investigating allegations of office abuse by a couple of prosecutors in Prizren.

Tahiri was filming in a bar when asked to stop by the bar’s staff and a prosecutor who was present. The prosecutor called the police to the bar, and during the wait for their arrival, Tahiri was physically restrained by the staff, which is unlawful. Upon the police’s arrival, they confiscated Tahiri’s phone, which is considered a working tool, and took him to the police station in Prizren to provide a statement.

The Association of Journalists of Kosovo strongly condemns Police behavior and calls for Tahiri’s immediate release, the return of his work tools, and public explanations for the incident.

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.

AJK Elects New Chairperson and Board Members


The Electoral Assembly of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo took place today, resulting in the re-election of Xhemajl Rexha as the Chairperson for another three-year term. Rexha received 161 votes, while his opponent, Mentor Buzhala, received 31 votes.

A new deputy head position has been established under the AJK’s Statute. Naile Dema Selmani from Radio Dukagjini has been elected to this role. She received 95 votes.

Meanwhile, the other members who have been elected are Milot Hasimja from Klan Kosova (95 votes), Florande Morina from T7 (90 votes), Blerta Dalloshi from TV Klan (88 votes), Mehmet Krasniqi from TV Dukagjini (84 votes), Fatlum Jashari from ATV (80 votes), Jehona Hulaj from Telegrafi (73 votes), and Besnik Velija from Gazeta Express (59 votes).

The Association of Journalists of Kosovo would like to thank all the colleagues who took part in today’s Assembly, engaging in discussions and voting on the new Statute of AJK, as well as in the election of the new presidency. We would also like to thank the Central Election Commission – CEC for providing us with the election ballots and voting booths, Uje Rugove for their generous donation of water, and the Kosovo Philharmonic for offering their space for our use.

BH JOURNALISTS: Police in Mostar must not censor the media and social networks


Sarajevo/Mostar, June 27, 2024. – The Steering Committee of  BH Journalists Association directs a public protest to the Minister of the Interior of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, Marija Marić, as well as other leading people of the Ministry of the Interior of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (MUP HNK) due to the intention to change the Law on Public Order and Peace and enable police control media content and posts on social networks. Minister Marić and his colleagues from the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced this possibility at a press conference in Mostar, accusing the media of spreading false news and endangering the safety of citizens in the HNK through reports on the event from two months ago.

For the Steering Committee of BH Journalists, it is completely unacceptable that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the HNK decided to create legal possibilities to censor the media and limit the right of journalists to freely and objectively create media content, without first submitting complaints to the competent (self) regulator or taking legal measures against those who, as it was said at the press conference, “created a climate of insecurity” for the citizens of Mostar with their media announcements. In democratic and free societies, police structures and security agencies should use legitimate means of responding to journalistic reports, and not resort to new legal provisions that lead to censorship and restriction of freedom of expression in the media and on social networks.

Statements that the media in Mostar will not be allowed to publish information before and beyond the official announcements of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are particularly problematic for the Steering Committee of BH Journalists, since they suggest the potential closure of this institution to the media and the public, as well as limiting the free flow of public information of importance to citizens. On the same level of inadmissibility is Minister Marić’s announcement that the media and social networks will be declared “external media space” through the announced changes to the Law on Public Order and Peace, and that the police will “ex officio” initiate investigations against journalists, the media and people on social networks .

BH journalists remind Minister Mario Marić and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton that the creation of legal provisions for police supervision of publications in the media and on social networks is not a European standard for legitimate freedom of expression, nor can it be a solution to the publication of security-problematic content or fake news. Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, have adequate criminal sanctions for all acts of endangering security, and the Regulatory Agency for Communications and the Press Council as bodies responsible for reacting to unprofessional media writing. This should be the legal and institutional framework for everyone, including the Mostar police, to respond to publications in the media and on social networks, not censorship or police surveillance of freedom of expression.


Steering Committee of BH journalists

On the public broadcaster’s annual report to the Albanian Assembly


The public broadcaster’s annual report presentation to the Parliamentary Committee for Education and Public Information Media on June 24, 2024, was met with significant criticism from opposition MPs. They alleged non-implementation of previous parliamentary recommendations and raised concerns about personnel management and financial transparency at RTSH (Albanian Radio and Television).

RTSH Director General Alfred Peza refuted these allegations, characterizing them as “fake news”. He asserted that 75% of the 166 recent staff departures were voluntary, providing a breakdown: 21 retirements, 89 resignations, 44 procedural removals, and 12 job abandonments.

However, official data from the Labour State Inspectorate presents a contrasting narrative. In response to a freedom of information request, the Inspectorate disclosed that it has received six complaints of unlawful dismissal from RTSH staff since June 2023. Subsequent inspections resulted in formal warnings issued to RTSH for violations of labor and social insurance legislation.

In the past year, more than 30 journalists and media staff come forward to denounce the lack of due process in staff dismissals from RTSH. This surge in complaints suggests a broader pattern of potential labor violations within the public broadcaster. A special hearing with dismissed media professionals and journalists was organized on 17th May with MP Ina Zhupa to discuss the issue.

These findings corroborate concerns previously raised by the Safe Journalists Network (SJN), which has documented reports from journalists claiming dismissal without due process. It is noteworthy that SJN’s formal letter of concern to RTSH regarding these allegations remains unanswered, raising questions about the broadcaster’s transparency and willingness to address these issues.

This situation highlights the importance of ensuring proper oversight and adherence to labor laws within Albania’s public broadcasting sector, as well as the need for open dialogue and transparency in addressing these critical issues. Reforming the public broadcaster must be done in full compliance with the law and with transparency. Given the gravity of these concerns, there is a growing call for increased parliamentary oversight of RTSH. The parliamentary committee responsible for media affairs should consider establishing a task force dedicated to investigating these allegations and monitoring RTSH’s compliance with labor laws and parliamentary recommendations. This enhanced oversight mechanism could help ensure greater accountability and transparency in the operations of Albania’s public broadcaster, safeguarding both the rights of media professionals and the integrity of public media services.