Kosovo Journalists Protest Government Suppression

Journalists in Kosovo demanded from PM an apology to their colleague, Vehbi Kajtazi for allegedly threatening him on Sunday.

The Association of Journalists in Kosovo has held a protest today in front of the government building aiming to encourage their colleagues to “Speak out” against the fear.

Journalists demanded from PM Isa Mustafa to apologize to their colleague, Vehbi Kajtazi for allegedly threatening him on Sunday.

The head of the Association, Zekirja Shabani, condemned what he called growing pressure against journalists.

»The lack of efficiency in courts has led to our offices to be attacked. There were 27 cases last year. We also have the support of other European associations. We expect the PM to apologise«, Zekirja Shabani, head of Journalists Association

Meanwhile, the author of the article on the brother of the prime minister, Vehbi Kajtazi has asked authorities to prove his claim for intimidation.

“I’m expecting from the state to act, as it did in the case of the son of the PM. If we are all equal, I expect the justice system to do its job and the Prime Minister to be held accountable in front of justice”, Kajtazi said.

Vehbi Kajtaz, a journalist for the investigative reporting portal insajderi.com has claimed that Kosovo’s Prime Minister Isa Mustafa has threatened him by phone on Sunday 20 March, 2016. Kajtazi had published an article about Mustafa’s brother who had asked for asylum in Germany and France because of his health.

On Monday 21 March he wrote on his Facebook page that the PM Mustafa had called him on his mobile phone on Sunday afternoon. Kajtazi claims that Mustafa was angry about the article and said that his brother has throat cancer and that he will pay heavily for this”. Kajtazi’s article pointed out that the state of health care in Kosovo is so poor that even the prime minister’s brother has to seek asylum in the EU.

Thousands of Kosovans have asked in Germany and other EU countries in the past years. The Associated Press reported that Isa Mustafa has denied threatening the journalist.

Kosovo is the poorest and most isolated country in Europe. A third of the workforce is unemployed, and corruption is widespread. Youth unemployment (which includes those aged 25 and under) stands at two in three, and nearly half of the estimated 1.8 million citizens of Kosovo are considered to be in poverty. From December 2014 until February 2015, about five percent of the population was forced to leave the country in an effort to find a better life, studies, and more dignified jobs, by taking the uncertain path towards wealthier countries in the EU.

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