Albania Court Hears Judge’s Lawsuit Against BIRN

Judge Gjin Gjoni. Photo: LSA

Hearings have started in Tirana in a case brought by Gjin Gjoni, an Appeals Court Judge, and his wife, Elona Caushi, who claim they suffered ‘moral anguish’ from BIRN reports and seek compensation.

The case of Judge Gjin Gjoni and his wife against BIRN Albania and its journalists, Aleksandra Bogdani and Besar Likmeta, started in the First Instance Court of Tirana on Wednesday and in the presence of several observers from local and international organisations.

Read more on Balkan Insight.

Serbia Releases Defendants in Journalist’s Murder Trial

Slavko Curuvija. Photo: Slavko Curuvija Foundation.

A Serbian court has released two former State Security officers charged with participating in the 1999 murder of opposition journalist Slavko Curuvija from custody and put them under house arrest.

The Special Court in Belgrade on Thursday released from custody two former Serbian State Security officers, Milan Radonjic and Ratko Romic, and placed them under house arrest for the duration of their trial for allegedly taking part in the murder of opposition journalist Slavko Curuvija in 1999.

Read more on Balkan Insight.

Four Broadcasters Dominate Serbian Media, BIRN Shows

Illustration. Photo: Pixabay

The biggest threats to media pluralism in Serbia are the concentration of audience and political influence over the media, according to research conducted by BIRN and the German branch of Reporters Without Borders.

BIRN and Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday also presented the website, which contains the database with information about media ownership and audience shares.

According to the research, 62.35 per cent of the audience in Serbia is shared between four broadcasters that own seven channels.

Read more on Balkan Insight.

Kosovo Coalition Divided over Criminalising Defamation

Milaim Zeka at the BIRN Kosovo election debate. Photo: Atdhe Mulla
Milaim Zeka at the BIRN Kosovo election debate. Photo: Atdhe Mulla

The largest coalition campaigning in the Kosovo elections is divided over a controversial proposal to reintroduce criminal penalties for defamation.

A draft law to recriminalise defamation, proposed earlier this year and strongly opposed by journalists and civil society groups, has divided candidates from the coalition between the Kosovo Democratic Party, PDK, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK and the Initiative for Kosovo, NISMA, which are running together in the June 11 polls.

AAK candidate Muharrem Nitaj cautioned that any such move should be examined carefully before being implemented.

Read more on Balkan Insight.

Inauguration Day Attacks Alarm Serbian Journalists

Protesters were not allowed to come near the Parliament on Wednesday. Photo: BIRN

Media unions say the spate of attacks on reporters that took place as Aleksandar Vucic was being inaugurated as President of Serbia sent a grim message about what journalists can expect in future.

After Aleksandar Vucic was sworn in as President of Serbia on a day marked by several incidents, including attacks on journalists, media representatives have warned that journalists can expect only a worse situation in future.

“Stop being silent!,” is the title of the letter that the head of the Independent Serbian Journalists’ Association, Slavisa Lekic, on Thursday sent to the Ministry of Information, condemning it for not reacting to Wednesday’s incidents.

Read more on Balkan Insight.

Albanian Broadcaster Strives for Neutral Stance in Election

RTSH headquarter in Tirana. Photo: Wikimedia Common/TorbjornS

Albania’s public broadcaster, RTSH, long seen as the biased mouthpiece of governments, seems to be making a real effort to behave more professionally during this election campaign.

Albania’s Public Broadcaster, RTSH, has vowed to maintain political balance in its reporting of the election campaign, raising hopes among media experts that the standard of information might change for good.

On Tuesday, the general director of RTSH, Thoma Gellci, suspended the director of the broadcaster’s branch in Gjirokastra, following reports of unbalanced reporting against the opposition parties.

Read more on Balkan Insight.

Journalists’ Row Reignites Romanian Debate on Media Freedom

Dragos Patraru, anchor of “The State of the Nations” late night show on Digi 24. Photo: Facebook.

Accusations made by a Romanian TV show anchor – that his broadcaster has turned a blind eye to a corruption scandal linked to the station – have fuelled fresh controversy over press freedom and self-censorship.

A public row between a Romanian TV presenter and the management of his news channel over [lack of] coverage of a corruption investigation linked to broadcasters has reignited a debate in Romania about media freedom, self censorship and over whether intelligence services infiltrate news organizations.

The editor-in-chief of Digi 24 news channel, Cosmin Prelipceanu, has publicly threatened the host of the station’s daily late night TV show with a lawsuit after the latter accused the news station of ignoring the indictment of several senior representatives of RCS-RDS telecom, the group that owns the station.

Read more on Balkan Insight.