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Open letter for Freedom of Expression and Press from civil society organizations, citizens and personalities
Concerns Continue
 
   

Prishtinë, 18 June 2009 / TN

In recent weeks, the Kosovar public has witnessed a debate on freedom of expression, the journalistic code of ethics and freedom of information in Kosovo. This debate shed light on the real human rights situation in our country, and found it lacking particularly when it comes to fundamental civil and political rights.

We evaluate the statement issued by the Government of Republic of Kosovo on June 10th, late and limited though it is, as a step in the right direction.  We welcome its claimed engagement in support of freedom of expression. However, we consider this statement is insufficient.

The government should clearly and decisively condemn the actual violations of freedom of the media and of expression perpetrated  recently against the staff of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and TV program “Jeta në Kosovë” (Life in Kosovo).

It is incumbent upon the Institutions of the Republic of Kosovo to reassure the Kosovo public that they welcome critical and open professional journalism and its watchdog role. The government should define its relationship with the media as one of sincere cooperation and not give grounds for anyone to see an inclination for “totalitarian control over the media”.

Therefore, we appeal to the Government of Kosovo:

That in a clear and decisive form it condemn the death threats made by “Infopress” newspaper against the TV program “Jeta në Kosovë” and other identified actual threats against freedom of expression;

That it undertakes NOT to finance through advertisements paid with Kosovar taxpayers’ money newspapers or other media that promote violation of freedom of expression and make threats against the lives of Kosovo citizens;

To restrain its supporters, mayors and party loyalists from accusing and labeling critical journalists as spies, traitors, etc., and especially from demanding expulsion of journalists due to criticisms they have reported or leveled against the government; 

To apply at the central level and to require from the municipality level full application of the Law on Access to Official Documents, that, also, requires from the municipality level civil servants full cooperation with journalists and citizens.

Furthermore, we call upon the Kosovo Assembly to undertake the following steps to support independent media, freedom of expression, and especially the independent public broadcaster:
 
To reconsider the selection of Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuçi as chief of the Assembly’s ad hoc RTK Board selection Committee. It runs counter to the government’s commitment to best international practices to appoint the Deputy Prime Minister to head the process of selection of the board of the public broadcaster;

To engage in appointing a new RTK board as quickly as possible, a process already delayed by three years.

The development of democracy and of an open society will flounder if a hostile environment for individuals and organizations who engage in criticism of governmental bodies is allowed to consolidate.

Furthermore, such an environment degrades Kosovo as a state and undermines its prospects for integration into the EU and NATO.  Therefore, we expect concrete steps from the Government of Kosovo and from the Assembly of Kosovo in considering the above-stipulated points.

The List of the citizens, personalities and civil society organizations who support the open letter

The List of citizens and personalities:

Tim Judah (Journalist), Matt Prodger (Reporter, BBC), Trazhgim Sokolaj (Newspaper “Panorama"), Sokol Balla (Top Channel), Nicholas Wood (former BBC reporter), Jeremy Harding (London Review of Books), Dardan Malaj (Redaktor i  Politikes Gazeta “SHQIP”), Arsim Mulliqaj  (AMC Press), Gjergj Erebara (AENews Editor in Chief),  Solveig Gram Jensen (Danish reporter), Gaelle Perrio (Journaliste France), Eol Çashku (APTN Producer & Cameraman), Alban Dudushi (Drejtues i emisionit Top Shou), Haki Abazi, Shpend Ahmeti (GAP Instituti),  Verena Knaus (ESI -Berlin), Erolld Belegu, Scarlett MccGwire,  Engjellusha Morina, Afrim Demiri, Adri Nurellari, Bardh Frangu, Ilir Hoxha, Alban Muja (Artist), Florin LATA, Xhelal Neziri (Freelance journalist-Macedonia), Habjon Hasani (Gazetar - Gazeta “Albania”) Ramadan Ilazi (FOL’08), Magali Perrichet Çashku, Kujtim Çashku (Rektor  - Akademia e Filmit & Multimedias MARUBI), Mustafa Nano (Emisioni Déjà vu), Belgzim Kamberi (Këshilli për te Drejtat e Njeriut), Ariana Qosaj Mustafa, Shkelzen Maliqi, Linda Abazi-Morina, Vesa Sahatçiu, Jeton Krasniqi, Adelina Berisha, Astrit Istrefi, Astrit Sahiti, Leonora Mehmeti,  Agron Syla, Armend Bekaj, Iliriana Bajraktari, Arta Avdiu, Daradan Selimaj, Valid Zhubi, Valbona Shujaku, Bardhyl Oseku


Civil Society Organizations

Shoqata e familjareve te te zhdukurve " 22 maji " (Vushtrri), Nisma e të Rinjve për të Drejtat e Njeriut (YIHR – Prishtine), Klubi për Politikë të Jashtme (Prishtinë), Instituti për Studime të Avancuara (GAP - Prishtinë), Aksioni Qytetar FOL’08 (Prishtinë), Këshilli Britaniko-Shqiptaro-Kosovar - British Albanian Kosovar Council, Human Rights House (Sarajevo BiH), Fondacioni për Iniciativa Demokratike (Gjakove), Platforma CiviKos, Forumi për Iniciativë Qytetare (Prishtinë), Qendra për Politika dhe Avokim (Prishtinë),  Qendra Burimore për Trajnime dhe Avokim (Prishtinë), Rrjeti i Grave të Kosovës (87 organizata anëtare), Instituti i Kosovës për Demokraci (KDI-Prizren, Prishtinë), Fondacioni i Kosovës për Shoqëri  Civile (KCSF-Prishtinë),  Këshilli Rinor i Kosovës, Syri i Vizionit (Pejë), Lëvizja MJAFT (Shqipëri), Qendra Kosovare për Bashkëpunim Ndërkombëtar (Gjilan), Iniciativa për Progres (Ferizaj), Community Building Mitrovica (Mitrovicë), Qendra Rinore Fisniket, Qendra Rinore Atë Lorenc Mazrreku, Asociacioni i të Rinjve për Drejtat e Njeriut (Lipjan), OJQ “Zana” (Klinë)OJQ "Mingos", Radio "Globi", OJQ " ECO", OJQ "Meselation", OJQ "Me Dore ne Zemer", Radio "Vicianum" (Vushtrri), Skena Up, Stafi i Revistes "M-magazine", Shoqata e Gazetareve (Mitrovice), Qendra e Resurseve – Universiteti i Prishtines, Emancipimi Civil “Ma ndryshe”, OJQ "OAZA", Shoqata e Gruas "7 Shtatori", OJQ "Venera", OJQ "Alma", Festivali Ndërkombëtar i Filmit Dokumentar dhe të Shkurtë - Dokufest , Qendra për Zhvillimin e Grupeve Shoqërore, Kosova Poppulation Foundation, OMP LANSDOWNE (Gjilan), Aksioni kundër dhunës dhe ndërtimi i paqes  (Gjilan), NGO Integra, Këshilli për mbrojtjen e te drejtave te njeriut ne Bujanoc, Asociacioni i Gazetareve (Mitrovice), Pro Peace Platform, SMART (Vushtrri), OJQ "Linda" Stanofc i Ulët - Komuna Vushtrri,  Shoqata e Juristeve NORMA (Prishtinë), Dora Dorës (Prizren), Komiteti i Grave te Verbra te Kosovës (Prishtinë),  Qendra për Mirëqenien e Gruas (Peje), OJQ Konsumatori, Asociacioni i Gazetarëve “Haki Braha” (Ferizaj)

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50 – Citizens, personalities
55 - Civil society organizations

June 2009, Prishtinë, Republic of Kosovo



 

 

 

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