Threats against Front Online journalists, Pristina,10.04.2022

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    Contry KO
    Name and Surname Lavdim Hamidi dhe Enis Veliu
    Gender Group Lavdim Hamidi dhe Enis Veliu
    Date 10/04/2022
    City / Location
    Type of incident Other threats to journalists
    By whom By public persons
    Name of the perpetrator Asdren Gjikolli - Gjiko
    Type of media online
    Media name FrontOnline
    Source FrontOnline
    Was journalist`s association informed Yes
    What was journalists' association reaction AJK considers that the lawsuits and requests for interim measures contain elements of Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPP), lawsuits that are not intended to be won before the court but to intimidate the media and divert attention from the charges against the singer Gjiko. Suspicions of rape of a minor by a well-known public figure are a topic of public interest and the media have an obligation to inform the public when such allegations are made by the prosecution office. Also, journalists, media, civil society, and citizens have the right to publicly discuss these allegations because they are a topic of public interest. Using lawsuits for defamation as a strategy to prevent anyone from discussing this topic is a futile attempt that will prove unsuccessful. We believe that the Basic Court in Prishtina will deal with these lawsuits in a professional manner and in accordance with the standards of the European Court of Human Rights.

    After the publication of a part of the indictment wherewith the Basic Prosecution Office in Prishtina charges the singer Asdren Gjikolli, also known as Gjiko, the latter has sued for defamation the “Front Online” portal journalists, the editor-in-chief Lavdim Hamidi and director Enis Veliu, asking also for a security measure against their Facebook posts related to their reporting on FrontOnline.

    Gjiko motioned the Basic Court of Prishtina to order Hamid and Veliu to delete the posts and requested compensation of 5,100 Euro from each of them. The lawsuits were prepared by the “Kërveshi & Partners” law firm.

    AJK considers that the lawsuits and requests for interim measures contain elements of Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPP), lawsuits that are not intended to be won before the court but to intimidate the media and divert attention from the charges against the singer Gjiko.

    Suspicions of rape of a minor by a well-known public figure are a topic of public interest and the media have an obligation to inform the public when such allegations are made by the prosecution office. Also, journalists, media, civil society, and citizens have the right to publicly discuss these allegations because they are a topic of public interest.

    Using lawsuits for defamation as a strategy to prevent anyone from discussing this topic is a futile attempt that will prove unsuccessful.

    We believe that the Basic Court in Prishtina will deal with these lawsuits in a professional manner and in accordance with the standards of the European Court of Human Rights.