Press Releases EU in Kosovo: Media must enjoy the safety and unwavering freedom of expression

EU in Kosovo: Media must enjoy the safety and unwavering freedom of expression

“To provide reliable and balanced reporting, media, as the fourth pillar of democracy, must be free, pluralistic and professional, and must enjoy the safety and unwavering freedom of expression,” said today the EU Ambassador in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog.

On the World Press Freedom Day, he reiterated that the EU’s Kosovo Report 2021 recognises that Kosovo benefits from a pluralistic and lively media environment but that concerns remain regarding public smear campaigns, threats and physical attacks on journalists.

“Any attack on journalists, be it online, verbal, or physical, is deplorable and should be condemned,” said Szunyog.

He called on responsible institutions to improve responses to attacks and other forms of pressure on the media and commended the Association of Journalists in Kosovo for its role in protecting journalists and freedom of expression.

Referring to the disinformation campaign stemming from Russian aggression against Ukraine, Ambassador Szunyog highlighted the high level of professionalism of most Kosovo media in reporting about the war in Ukraine and applauded the readiness of Kosovo to host Ukrainian journalists in these difficult times.

He noted with concern that the lack of financial self-sustainability of media in Kosovo was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving it vulnerable to political and business interests, while a sustainable solution for the funding of the public broadcaster is yet to be found.

Ambassador Szunyog welcomed the recent adoption by the Assembly of Kosovo of the Law on Free Legal Aid that will, for the first time, also serve media professionals.

“The adoption of the Law on Free Legal Aid by the Assembly was a step in the right direction in securing media freedom in Kosovo, and the EU, for its part, will continue working on, funding and supporting initiatives that contribute to further professionalization and the resilience of the media,” said Szunyog.

The EU’s ongoing assistance to the media sector in Kosovo amounts to EUR 2 million, while an additional EUR 13.5 million is earmarked to support media freedom in the Western Balkans region over the 2021-2023 period.

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