Serbia: Commission to solve wartime journalists’ murders expanded

Over 40 journalists have disappeared or been killed in the territory of Serbia since the break of former Yugoslavia in 1992, but only few investigations were concluded, even with interference and support from international organisations. The Commission for the Investigation of Murders of Journalists in Serbia has been working in solving the cases since 2012. The decision to expand its capabilities and resources to further the fight against impunity for murders of journalists was announced by the president of the Commission Veran Matic, on 2 August. The scope now is set to include murders of journalists on the territories of Kosovo and…

Kosovo: Advanced draft law to protect whistleblowers adopted

While the European Union is currently discussing the details to better protect whistleblowers at the EU level, Kosovo steps out introducing one of the most advanced laws in Europe to protect whistleblowers. Government of Kosovo has passed the draft law to the General Assembly for adoption on 14 June this year. The General Assembly will be voting on adoption in autumn this year. Being one of the top countries in struggle against corruption, as reported by the Freedom House, the aim of this legislation is to safeguard the possibility to inform and report wrongdoings inside the companies while ensuring the possibility to…

Freedom of expression deteriorates in EU candidate countries, shows EU progress reports

The European Commission published on 17 April 2018 its annual Enlargement Package, including the country reports (formerly known as “progress reports”), assessing the implementation of the European Union’s enlargement policy regarding the accession process of the Western Balkans and Turkey. These country reports shows alarmingly precarious working conditions of journalists as the level of press freedom deteriorates further. In four countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) no progress has been achieved in the area of press freedom. Issues of attacks on journalists, defamation cases media ownership, lack of funding of the public service broadcasters and self-censorship prevail. Some of…

Serbian journalists attacked by police in Kosovo

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Serbian affiliate, the Journalists’ Union of Serbia (SINOS), the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) in condemning the attacks on Serbian cameraman Vladimir Milic as well as journalists Dragana Zecevic and Radmila Komazec on 26 March 2018 in Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo. They were covering a meeting of the local community about the Kosovo dialogue in the Mitrovica Community Centre. The level of violence was very high as shown in this reportage. Milic, who works for the public television Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), was reportedly attacked by Kosovar policemen who…

Incentivising media rights and plurality by supporting good practices in Western Balkans and Turkey

“How to improve the precarious state of journalism in South East Europe and Turkey” was the topic of a press conference held by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on 14th November 2017 at the Press Club Brussels. The press conference took place in the framework of the EFJ project, Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – a project supported financially by UNESCO and the European Union. Andris Kesteris, principal advisor at DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) at the European Commission and Tarja Turtia, UNESCO Programme Specialist, attended the event to hear representatives of…

Attacks and pressures on journalists in Slavonski Brod (Croatia), Skopje (Macedonia) and Partes (Kosovo)

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is joining the call of the Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety in condemning the attacks and pressures on journalists, which happened in the last few days in Slavonski Brod (Croatia), Skopje (Macedonia) and Partes (Kosovo) : On Wednesday, August 23, journalists Visnja Ruzojcic from HRT and Aleksandra Primorac from the portal SBplus were physically attacked in Slavonski Brod. According to the reports of the SBplus portal, the journalists Primorac and Ruzojcic reported on the shooting, which happened during the previous night and in which one citizen was seriously injured.…

Investigative journalist physically attacked in Kosovo

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) in condemning the physical attack against investigative journalist Parim Olluri in Pristina on 16 August 2017. Parim Olluri, who is also the executive director of Insajderi.com portal, was attacked by three unknown men while he was going home with his partner around 10 at night. The attack happened in front of his apartment in Bajram Kelmendi street in Pristina. Olluri was beaten up causing light injuries. His partner was not harmed but lost consciousness as a result of the attack. Both were taken to the hospital for…

Kosovo: Leaked draft law reinstates criminalisation of defamation

UPDATE (03.05.2017): The government withdraw the draft law on criminalisation of defamation.  The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) backs its affiliate, the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), in opposing the draft law prepared by the Ministry of Justice aiming to criminalise defamation of the President and Kosovo state symbols. The amendments to Kosovo Criminal Code foresees that anyone who insults or expresses with ill intention contempt for the Republic of Kosovo, for its constitutional order or its anthem, is punishable up to three years of prison. In addition, the defamation of constitutional body, including the President, the Parliament, the…

Kosovo: towards a better protection of the press for legislative proceedings

Shkelqim Hysenaj, the president of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), and researcher Petrit Collaku met on Wednesday 8 March with Aleksander Lumezi, the Kosovo’s State prosecutor, to discuss better protection for the journalists in the country. During the discussion, the AJK president shared his concerns regarding the inefficient justice system and the unsafe environment Kosovo represents for journalists. Shkelqim Hysenaj also presented to the state prosecutor the recommendations of the AJK report “The indicators of the level of media and journalists safety” published in December 2016. It recommends to improve the effectiveness of the justice system when dealing…

Kosovo: General Director of RTK verbally attacked Trade Union

The Trade Union of RTK has been actively discussing the rights of workers during the meetings with Caucus Groups in Kosovo Assembly and Speaker of the Assembly due to the RTK law being in the process of amending. The process that has been criticised by the EU office in Kosovo for not being transparent enough. However, General Director of RTK Mentor Shala wasn’t pleased with the Trade Union’s activity, in his recent Facebook post (08.02.2017) he called the Union “political ‘bacteria’ within RTK”. Furthermore Mentor Shala insulted workers and members of the Trade Union by saying that “if it wasn’t…

CoE Commissioner Nils Muižnieks urges to strengthen public service broadcasting in Kosovo

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, is encouraging Kosovo authorities to safeguard media freedom in the country following his four-day mission to Kosovo. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Journalist’s Association of Kosovo (AGK) welcome the preliminary conclusions. In his report, the Commissioner recommends to strengthen Kosovo public service media, urging “the authorities to establish a sustainable, appropriate and transparent funding of the public service broadcasting organisation and to secure its editorial independence and institutional autonomy.” The Law on the Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK), the public service broadcaster, is currently being amended by the…

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