An article on the Ministry of Health regarding the refusal of the Pfizer and BioNtech Vaccines was published on April 16th, 2021. Later that day the Minister of Health, ArbenVitia held a press conference where he called upon the Prosecution to start investigating leakage of these confidential information.
In the morning of April 17th, 2021 the police entered the online portal’s “Insajderi” offices, where the director of the portal Parim Olluri was questioned.
He posted a status on his Facebook page on: “I am not sure how reliable the Prosecution’s notification regarding ‘media are not to be investigated’ is. In the morning the Police Taskforce entered our offices. My interviewing started then and there. They requested for the interviewing to continue at the station. Together with Insajderi’s lawyer, we are obliged to go to the police station for the interview.”
The Prosecution via e press release stated that only the actors involved (officials) in the displaying of these information were to be investigated: “The investigation case is opened in regards to the penal act ‘The disclosure of official secrets’ article 426 of the Penal Code of the Republic of Kosovo and investigative actions will be taken toward the officials and not the media and journalists.”
The Kosovo Police published a press release afterwards, where it is said: “The Kosovo Police after receiving the information that some confidential information have been published in press, according to the authorizations has taken legal action in accordance with the notification of the competent Prosecution. After this action in accordance with Prosecution’s directives, the rest of the actions were taken in accordance with the Laws and the rights related to them.”
They said in the statement that “the KP, in this case the Police officials have not questioned and are not investigating citizens who work as journalists, but according to the Prosecution’s directives only persons and officials who had these confidential information at their disposal were questioned”.
This is not the first time Parim Olluri has been targeted. He was verbally lynched via Facebook last year by Hysamedin Ferraj, Lëvizja Vetëvendosje Party’s member. In 2019 he was sent an invite by the Police to be interviewed regarding an article he had published. In 2018 there was a lynching campaign towards Olluri by a Facebook page named “Albanian Real Fact” (at the time).
Gentiana Begolli Pustina, president of the board of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, said that “they are deeply disturbed by this case of our colleagues from ‘Insajderi’”.
“It is unprecedented for the journalists and the media to be questioned. This is established by the Law, and we expect for the law to be implemented in practice too, and not only in paperwork. Once again AJK calls upon all institutions to respect the laws in force who protect the journalists’ rights. Every attempt as such toward journalists testifies that the institutions themselves break the law. This means that in cases like this one we cannot talk about a democratic country”, Gentiana Begolli Pustina said.
SafeJournalists Network, representing more than 8,200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, joins its member AJK in expressing concern about this pressure on the “Insajderi”. SafeJournalists Network requests from the institutions not to violate media and journalists’ rights, for they lead to destabilization of the democracy of a country. We encourage all of the journalists not to give up when facing such obstacles and to work diligently to inform the public.
SafeJournalists Network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about these cases.
Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and rights of all citizens.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb, 19.04.2021
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
BH Journalists Association
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro