Joint Statement on Freedom of Expression in Republic of Kosova

Civil Rights Defenders (former Swedish Helsinki Committee) Foreign Policy Club, Kosovar institute for Research and Policy Development (KIPRED), FOL Movement, Community Building Mitrovica (CBM), Initiative for Progress (INPO), Eye of Vision (SiV), Balkan Policy Institute(IPOL), Prishtina Institute for Political Studies (PIPS)

We the undersigned organizations through this statement express our deepest concern with the continuous threats towards the work of civil society organizations and freedom of expression in Republic of Kosovo. Such threats in the process of attempts to discipline the free speech and criticism was witnessed in the front page article of the Kosovar daily “Express”, an article that violates ethical and professional principles of journalism.

“The Report of Intimacy [the title of the article]” published in “Express” on 30th May 2010 aims at blotting a recent report published by Youth Initiative for Human Rights Kosovo on the situation with the freedom of expression in the country. The article violates the privacy of the author of the report, Mr. Alex Anderson, by drawing unethical parallels between his private life and the report.

The article which was published in the front page of the “Express” newspaper encourages hate towards Mr. Anderson, Youth Initiative for Human Rights Kosovo and Balkan Investigatory Reporting Network Kosovo

While we do not judge the political preferences that one media might have, we consider that the report published by YIHR-Kosovo “The State of Constriction” is a result of months of research bringing to surface problems that are based on facts.

The article published in the daily Express draws away the attention of the public from corruption and organized crime elaborated in the report “The State of Constriction” to irrelevant issues in this context such as the marriage of the co-author of the report.

We condemn the article “The Report of Intimacy” published in the daily Express on 30th of May 2010 as unbalanced, unethical and pretentious reporting. We express our support for the report “Sate of Constriction” published by Youth Initiative for Human Rights Kosovo and call for respect of the right of privacy and freedom of expression.