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23.9.2014

OMBUDSPERSON’S STATEMENT REGARDING THE FREEDOM OF MEDIA IN KOSOVO

PRISHTINË, 23 September 2014 – The Ombudsperson articulates his deep concern for the latest events regarding threats towards journalist, reported through media and public statements.


Threats addressed towards journalist, verbal and physical assaults, intimidations through social networks or in any other forms, violate the constitutional right for freedom of media and freedom of expression as well as alarm regarding insubstantiality of democracy functioning and rule of law state in Kosovo.


Regardless who is responsible for such deeds, such actions reflect intolerance and are unacceptable and condemnable. On the other hand, respective authorities have constitutional responsibility to guarantee necessary protection and security to journalist in accomplishment of their indispensable role in our democracy, unobstructed.


Of a great concern for the Ombudsperson is the situation created in Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) between the Management and the Independent Union of this public media. Finding reasonable and legally based solution in resolving of this inner RTK dispute is a must. The Ombudsperson requires transparency and accountability towards the public regarding situation created within RTK media establishment, which is funded by Kosovo Republic citizens.


Ombudsperson’s great concern remains denial of the RTK management, but other media establishments as well, to abide by the Labor Law, particularly regarding journalists’ working contracts of all profiles. This issue requires relevant attention of institutions in order to create more constructive circumstances for qualitative journalism and in function of accurate and prompt information.


At the same time the Ombudsperson calls upon media, but to prosecution and police as well, that while acting in line with their legal competencies, not to become instruments which violate person’s privacy and dignity. Of a great concern are cases of media arrests, which automatically prejudge person’s culpability. Not of less importance is the case when personal issues become the subject of public debates through media, without having any general interest that will justify violation of the privacy right.


Freedom of media and freedom of expression are guaranteed rights in our country with the Constitution and with International Instruments and Agreements directly applicable in Kosovo.  State’s responsibility does not consist solely on protection of media establishments from assaults and freedom of expression but also on protection of persons’ rights from misuse of media power.

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