The current political occurrences in Kosovo have once more stirred up an atmosphere that has hindered the ability of journalists to carry out their expected responsibilities with credibility and without obstacles.
To this moment, a total of seven incidents of assaults against journalists and media personnel have been documented in towns located within the northern region of Kosovo.
The aforementioned events comprise instances of physical aggression, exemplified by the scenario involving the Periskopi portal team, as well as instances of destruction and vandalisation of property belonging to professional entities, such as the TëVë1, Dukagjini, Kallxo, and Top Channel. The car of TëVë 1 after being vandalized with stones and paint was set on fire. Journalists are attacked by locals once they are spotted through their microphones, logos in the cars, as well as when they are overheard speaking in Albanian. In Zvecan, Albanian-speaking-media journalists were forced to shelter inside the Municipality building for an hour in order to prevent more attacks towards them. Moreover, Serbian journalists claim of discrimination against the media by Kosovo officials these days too. The latest example is reported by journalists of Kosovo Online, where they claim they were banned from entering the municipality of Zvecan today with the explanation that she is of Serbian nationality.
Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) finds this situation very worrying due to the fact that journalists tend to be the primary targets of all factions present during protests and riots in northern Kosovo. Moreover, based on the testimony of our colleagues, it can be inferred that the working conditions in Zvecan are suboptimal, particularly in relation to the inadequate provision of protective equipment.
The current status of journalists raises concerns and apprehension regarding the possibility of future occurrences that may be even more severe.
The SafeJournalists network, which represents more than 8.200 media professionals calls upon the international presence in Kosovo, responsible for ensuring stability, to prioritize the protection and welfare of journalists and promote a secure setting for them to fulfill their professional duties, but also all state and local officials to ensure equal treatment of all journalists in Kosovo.
SafeJournalists Network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about this case.
Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and rights of all citizens.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Tirana, 29.05.2023
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