November 25th 2010 04:14:16 AM
Yet another Albanian journalist in ‘free’ Kosovo discovers what life under Albanians is all about:
Nov 22nd, 2010 | By Bikya Masr Staff
LONDON: Condemnation was strong against the crackdown on a Kosovo journalist after she raised sensitive issues in her reporting on two members of the ruling government.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the threats and treatment that Sebahate Shala of the KosovaPress agency has received since raising a sensitive issue about two members of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) at a news conference that Andy Sparkes, the deputy head of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), gave on November 12.
Shala asked Sparkes if it was normal that two PDK members who are being investigated by EULEX on suspicion of corruption and murder should be running in next December’s parliamentary elections, clearly contravening European democratic standards. Sparkes acknowledged that it was not “good for Kosovo’s image.”
“Ever since my intervention at the news conference and the publication of my article, I have been getting a lot of very humiliating, threatening and offensive SMS messages from PDK supporters,” Shala said in her written statement, which Reporters Without Borders received.
“I am being very clearly warned about what I may write.”
The article that Shala wrote after the news conference was quickly posted on the KosovaPress website but was suddenly removed a few hours later. Shala said the news agency’s management valuated her questions at the news conference were “unprofessional,” “stupid” and “had nothing to do with the election campaign.” She added there was no alternative for her but to leave such a working environment.
“The KosovaPress management’s reaction is incomprehensible and unworthy of a profession in which solidarity should be the rule,” RSF said in a press statement.
“Shala’s questions were both justified and very clearly a matter of public interest. Her treatment by the agency was totally unwarranted and clearly motivated by non-journalistic considerations. We urge the KosovaPress management to immediately return her in the agency and to support its journalists when they are threatened in this way.”
This case raises serious concerns about the freedom that state and privately-owned media journalists will be allowed in their coverage of the campaign for the December elections. The PDK leadership and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s acting government must publicly express their support for Shala and disown the threats. An investigation must also be opened with the aim of identifying those responsible for the SMS messages and ensuring they are severely punished.
Reporters Without Borders urges all of the many international bodies that have a presence in Pristina to express their support for Shala and to convey their concern to the Kosovar authorities. European Union special envoy Pieter Cornelis Feith cannot allow journalists to be threatened and sanctioned for covering EULEX’s activities in a professional manner and for doing investigative reporting that is extremely necessary in the newly declared country.
“We fully support Shala, who has been very strangely punished for professional conduct that constitutes the very basis of journalism and needs, more than ever, to be welcomed in Kosovo,” Reporters Without Borders added. “We urge the Kosovar media to show their support for her by raising the issues she highlighted as often as possible with the Kosovar and international authorities.”
Related, from a September press release by South East Europe Media Organisation: New Bomb Attack on Home of Radio Journalist in Kosovo
Vienna, 30 September 2010 - The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI) strongly condemns the second bomb attack at the house of Caslav Milisavljevic, editor-in-chief of Radio Kosovska Mitrovica, in the Kosovo municipality of Zvecan.
According to information received by SEEMO, during the early morning hours of 27 September 2010, an explosive device was thrown in the courtyard of Milisavljevic’s house. During this attack, the car of Milisavljevic’s son, which was parked in front of the house, was completely burned. Fortunately, family members in the house at the time remained unhurt. The attack has been reported to the police but the alleged perpetrators remain at large.
This is not the first time Milisavljevic’s house has come under attack. In the early morning of 20 July 2010 his house was attacked, causing damage to three cars which were parked in the street. The alleged perpetrators of this attack are still unknown.
“SEEMO strongly condemns the bomb attack on Milisavljevic and is very alarmed that within a short time frame such an attack occurred again. SEEMO urges the local authorities to do everything in their power to step up their investigation into the two bomb attacks, to provide police protection to Milisavljevic and his family, and to prevent such incidents from happening in the future”, SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said.