Library

Kosovo: Dangerous attack by MP Dimal Basha on ECPMF’S…

Kosovo: MP Dimal Basha’s Attack on ECPMF’s Flutura Kusari Condemned by MFRR

The Media Freedom Rapid Response Partners (MFRR) strongly condemn Lëvizja Vetëvendosje  MP Dimal Basha’s abusive speech against ECPMF Senior legal advisor Flutura Kusari during a speech in the Kosovo parliament. Kusari, found herself singled out in a personal attack aimed at silencing the prominent activist, and resulting in a wave of online abuse and sex-based insults. 

On 27 June 2024, Kosovo’s Vetëvendosje MP Dimal Basha delivered a speech in  Parliament, during the second reading of Kosovo’s draft media law (IMC). This draft bill has been criticized for not taking into account recommendations from the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. 

On 26 June, Flutura Kusari together with Xhemajl Rexha, Chair of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), called on Lëvizja Vetëvendosje to improve the draft law: they emphasized the need for greater transparency and proposed establishing a broad working group, including local and international experts as well as civil society representatives. On 27 June, both of them reiterated their concerns in a press conference, before the Parliamentary session. In response, Dimal has misused the parliamentary plenary session to attack only Kusari, instead of using his speaking time to discuss the draft law on IMC

Among his comments, Basha stated: “For example, we have Flutura Kusari who wants to dictate the entire Kosovo Parliament on how we should draft the law on IMC, whereas she is the same person who, in the name of freedom of expression, goes into the streets to protect Devolli (referring to her participation in the protest against shutting down of Klan Kosova (TV) owned by Devolli family). One cannot defend oligarchs in the name of media freedom, and nor can it extort this Republic.”

Xhemajl Rexha, Chair of the Board of the Kosovo Association of Journalists (AJK), condemned the politician’s verbal attack on Kusari: “We strongly denounce the vicious attack of MP Basha against our colleague and partner, Kusari. This is clearly done with the aim of silencing her, and is very troubling when it comes from those in high offices, responsible to ensure media freedoms and freedom of expression for all.”

“The accusations by MP Dimal Basha against Flutura Kusari – ECPMF’s Senior Legal Advisor – are not just an attack on her individually, but a dangerous affront to media freedom and civil society in Kosovo. This rhetoric seeks to silence critical voices and undermines the pluralistic media environment that is crucial for democracy,” said Andreas Lamm, Interim Managing Director of ECPMF.

Kosovo is currently experiencing a worrying decline in media freedom. It is increasingly common for government members to openly criticize journalists and their critics. When a leading politician attacks a woman journalist or activist it will be quickly followed by a surge of online slurs and sexist insults. Dimal Basha misused the parliamentary plenary to attack Flutura instead of responding to the criticisms about the law. 

MFRR members urge the authorities to refrain from such attacks, which can only exacerbate the sharp rise in online threats against women journalists and activists.

We stand firm in solidarity with our colleague, as well as all activists and journalists who strive to advocate for media freedom in Kosovo. The ongoing debate over the country’s draft media law underscores the critical need for transparent and inclusive legislative processes, to ensure democratic integrity. As Kosovo is actively working on implementing the European Reform Agenda, which includes reforms in the rule of law, our coalition stresses that upholding press freedom standards is essential for making progress towards EU integration.

Signed by:

  • ARTICLE 19 Europe
  • The European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
  • The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
  • International Press Institute (IPI)
  • OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)

This statement was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States, Candidate Countries and Ukraine.

MFRR 3 consortium logos
Kosovo protests Library

Kosovo: Concern over attacks on journalists and media workers

Kosovo: Concern over attacks on journalists and media workers

The current political developments in Kosovo have once again stirred up an atmosphere that hinders the ability of journalists to carry out their responsibilities with credibility and without obstacles.

Together with our partners in the SafeJournalists Network, we express our deep concern over a series of attacks on journalists and media personnel in the northern municipalities of Kosovo from May 26th to May 31st, 2023.

 

During the period from May 26th to May 31st, 2023, Association of Journalists of Kosovo(AJK) AJK and SafeJournalists Network recorded a total of 20 incidents of assaults and attacks against journalists and media personnel in various municipalities of Kosovo. These incidents highlight the alarming rise in violence and intimidation targeting journalists, hindering their ability to carry out their vital work in a safe and unbiased manner. The list of all 20 recorded cases is available here.

 

Xhemajl Rexha, Chairperson of AJK, highlights the constant appeals to local and international security bodies, urging them to provide a secure perimeter where journalists can carry out their work without hindrance or fear of attack. Unfortunately, these appeals have not been heeded so far. 

 

The SafeJournalists Network and  Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR)  find  this situation extremely worrying, as journalists tend to be the primary targets during protests and riots in northern Kosovo. Testimonies from our colleagues, along with the documented attacks, provide further evidence of the dangerous working conditions in Zvecan, particularly the lack of adequate protective equipment.

 

The situation raises concerns and apprehension regarding the possibility of future, potentially more severe occurrences. The SafeJournalists Network, representing over 8,200 media professionals and the undersigned organisations, calls upon the international presence in Kosovo, responsible for ensuring stability, to prioritise the protection and welfare of journalists. We urge them to promote a secure environment that enables journalists to fulfil their professional duties without fear of violence or intimidation. Furthermore, we call upon all state and local officials to ensure equal treatment of all journalists in Kosovo.

 

The SafeJournalists Network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about these cases of attacks on journalists from May 26th to May 31st, 2023. We emphasise that each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy, and the rights of all citizens.

Signed by:

  • ARTICLE 19 Europe
  • Association of Journalists of Kosovo
  • Association of Journalists of Macedonia
  • BH Journalists Association
  • Croatian Journalists’ Association
  • European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
  • European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
  • Free Press Unlimited (FPU)
  • Independent Journalists Association of Serbia
  • International Press Institute (IPI)
  • OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)
  • Trade Union of Media of Montenegro

This statement was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and candidate countries. 

MFRR 3 consortium logos