April 29th 2012 07:36:03 AM
May I just say again: Good job, Free World. This is related to my previous posts about attacks on journalists in Albanian-ruled Kosovo, where Albanian journalists have themselves contrasted this “Newborn” Kosovo with the one from the days under Belgrade, when they could print what they wanted about the “evil Serbian regime” — without getting killed.
SEEMO Condemns Pressure against Journalists in Kosovo (Press Release, March 22)
Vienna, 21 March 2012 - The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), condemns the latest pressure against the reporters of the “Justice in Kosovo” TV program.
On 6 March 2012, the mayor of Prizren, a town 60 kilometers away from Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, allegedly threatened the TV crew of the program “Justice in Kosovo.” He reportedly said that he would break their camera if they did not leave the restaurant where the reporters tried to obtain an official declaration from the mayor.
“Justice in Kosovo” is transmitted on Kosovo public broadcaster Radio Television Kosovo (RTK) and deals with corruption, among other legal topics.
SEEMO has learned that the program team had long sought to interview the mayor, regarding the allegations about irregular financing of political parties and the apparent misuse of public tenders in the Municipality of Prizren. The mayor refused to meet the reporters. When they found him in a local restaurant and tried to record his views on camera, the mayor allegedly threatened the journalist, while his chief of protocol grabbed the reporter by the arm and tried to push him out of the restaurant.
“I urge Kosovo political authorities, especially on the local level, to abstain from pressuring media,” said SEEMO secretary general Oliver Vujovic.
The public has the right to know what their representatives are doing.”
Or the public might prefer to help threaten the journalists trying to tell them.
On SEEMO’s main page, I discovered the following story, which will send me to bed laughing:
The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is dismayed at recent changes in the Kosovo Penal Code, approved on April 20, 2012, in the Kosovo parliament.
According to the controversial articles 37 and 38, journalists will be held criminally liable if they do not reveal their sources. These changes, approved by MPs against the opinion of the Association of Professional Journalists of Kosovo and other civil society organizations, as well as against the advice of the Ministry of Justice, appear to benefit those accused of bribery or illicit activities.
One daily illustrated the situation: a journalist could end up in prison if he or she does not reveal a source that has denounced irregularities or bribes.
These legal changes still have to be signed off on by Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga.
“I urge the president not to sign off on these reforms of the criminal code, and to return the law to the parliament,” said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. “The new legal provisions violate freedom of expression standards and would make press work extremely dangerous. If Kosovo has opted to construct a democratic society, democratic principles have to be upheld. These amendments have to change and defamation and libel fully decriminalised.”
Yes, let’s see what President Jahjaga “decides.” (Hint: She has no room to decide anything, as she is a mere puppet of the documented criminals that make up the Kosovo government.) This would be the same President Jahjaga that just gave back-to-back Washington-organized propaganda tours around the U.S., to unanimous praise in puff pieces from The Washington Times, Huffington Post, Asbury Park Press The Daily Beast, Patriot Ledger, the student paper at Dartmouth College where she spoke several weeks ago, and others. It’s interesting that the Kill-the-Source legislation (not unlike Kosovo’s Kill-the-Witness justice system) was floated and approved in the first place, given that Kosovo isn’t supposed to make a move without Washington’s approval. Of course, we know that anything that helps Washington cover Kosovo’s tracks — including witness-intimidation, evidence removal/destruction, and investigation-prevention — is welcome indeed. Journalists and their sources aren’t excluded from the hit list. If Washington-Pristina keeps on like this, there will be as few living Albanians left in Kosovo as there are Serbs and Roma.
In the end, at least Kosovo Albanians will have learned the difference between real journalism, and the KLA propaganda they’d previously purveyed under that guise.