Media freedom groups call for Klan Kosovo business certificate issue to be resolved

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    photo: canva

    The undersigned international media freedom organisations and journalist groups today call for the updated business certificate of Klan Kosova to be accepted by the complaint committee and that all attempts by the Kosovo government to pressure the broadcaster are halted immediately.

    The latest call by our organisations comes after the unprecedented decision of the Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade, made on 14 June 2023, to suspend the business certificate of Klan Kosova LLC and bring criminal charges against its representatives.

    While we recognise the requirement for Kosovo authorities to enforce legal obligations regarding business registration, this cannot be used to justify the closure of one of the country’s largest private national broadcasters – an extremely serious step that should only be taken in extraordinary circumstances and in full compliance with the rule of law.

    Our organisations therefore welcome the step taken on June 16 by the country’s media regulator, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), to postpone any decision on Klan Kosova’s broadcast licence for one month to allow time for a reasonable solution to be found.

    Since then, we note along with the Association of Journalists Kosovo (AJK) that Klan Kosova has collected the necessary documentation and sent an updated business certificate issued by North Macedonian authorities to Kosovo’s Business Registration Agency.

    On June 29, the media outlet appealed the suspension decision before the Ministry’s Committee for the Review of Complaints for the Registration of Businesses. This committee, the composition of which is due to be decided by the Ministry itself, has until 14 July 2023 to reach a decision on the appeal.

    Ahead of this process, we call on the Minister of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade, Rozeta Hajdari, to ensure that the new Committee is made up of independent, experienced and professional individuals, and that a decision is taken in a timely and fully transparent manner.

    We hope the Ministry’s Committee will accept the complaint of Klan Kosova and promptly repeal the suspension of the business certificate. Doing so would provide guarantees about the future of Klan Kosova’s operations within the country and ensure that the positive progress made on developing media freedom in Kosovo in recent years is not seriously damaged.

    Moving forward, we echo the calls made by representatives of international organisations in Kosovo for this matter to be handled with utmost respect for international media freedom commitments and in full compliance with due process and the rule of law. Our organisations will continue to follow this matter closely and respond to all further developments.

     

    Signed:

    Article 19

    European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

    European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

    Free Press Unlimited (FPU)

    International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

    OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)

    Reporters Without Borders

    SafeJournalists Network