The cameraman of Radio Television of Kosovo, Bardh Bekteshi, today was physically assaulted while reporting from Leposavic.
As seen in the disturbing footage that the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), received by Bekteshi’s colleague, Venera Xhoxhaj, who was present at the time of attack, Bekteshi was pushed to the ground and then beaten. As explained by journalist Xhoxhaj, Bekteshi is suffering severe injuries in the head, as well as body. “Masked protesters were throwing stones at us, while some colleagues were leaving. Our cameraman, Bardh Bekteshi, was pushed and knocked down where he was physically attacked, causing him injuries in his head and body” she said.
In addition to the physical attack, Bekteshi’s camera was also demolished. Furthermore, it was confirmed that the protesters threw stones at other media teams present, such as: Tëvë1, RTV Dukagjini, RTK, Klan Kosova and KTV.
“We are appalled by the latest, most brutal attack against journalists in Leposavic. They were chased down, and at least two of them kicked while they were on the ground. We call on everyone, starting from Kosovo PM Kurti and other relevant factors, to do their utmost to secure a safe environment for journalists to do their job” said Xhemajl Rexha, chairman of the board of AJK.
The SafeJournalists network, which represents more than 8,200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, joins its members AJK to call on KFOR to ensure journalists safety, especially while they are performing their duties in this part of the country. Network finds it very disturbing to witness footage on which KFOR is seen not reacting, while lives of several media workers were endangered.
The SafeJournalists network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about this case.
Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and the rights of all citizens.
Pristina – Skopje – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Belgrade – Podgorica, 16.06.2023
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