BIRN Condemns Attack on Reporters

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The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, strongly condemns an assault against the “Life in Kosovo” show team by security staff of the Kosovo Judicial Council.

On Friday, June 6, 2008, at around 13:30, BIRN staff were assaulted outside the Kosovo Judicial Council premises in Pristina, while filming with a camera.

The team was assaulted by a member of the Judicial Council security staff, an institution that is supposed to represent justice in Kosovo.

“I am surprised by such behaviour, especially when considering that BIRN has a cooperation agreement with the Judicial Council by which it allows our reporters to monitor the work of this council,” said Jeta Xharra, BIRN Kosovo Director.

Xharra emphasised that BIRN reporters have in no way violated the ethical code of reporting and had not endangered the security of neither the building nor of the staff of the Judicial Council.

“The incident occurred outside the building, where filming is absolutely allowed,” she said.

BIRN expresses its deep concern over this case, as the incident took place in the presence of the Judicial Council’s spokesperson, Ajshe Q. Ramadani.

BIRN considers that this flagrant disregard by the security staff is unacceptable and it calls on the director of Kosovo Judicial Council, Halit Muharremi to undertake disciplinary measures against the person, who used violence against our staff.

In addition, BIRN asks this institution to provide compensation for the material damage that was caused during the incident and issue a public apology to our reporters.

In the meantime, BIRN calls on all institutions in Kosovo to ensure that such acts are no longer repeated. The duty of the reporters and the freedom of speech are protected by law, hence BIRN insists that this freedom be fully respected.