Kosovo Journalists Association (AJK) is for the second day one of the most active organisations reporting on attacks on media teams covering the crisis in the North. According to them, a total of 15 attacks have taken place yesterday and today. These are either Albanian reporting teams or Albanian journalists.
Eight announcements of attacks were sent out today against eight Albanian-language journalists, and seven yesterday. These include attacks on journalists’ cars and equipment, as well as physical attacks. For several media outlets, these are repeated attacks within two days.
The AJK today strongly condemned the attacks on RTV Dukagjini, Koha, Teve1, A2 CNN, Panorama, Channel 10, RTV 21 and Periscope in Leposavić, Zvečan and the northern part of Mitrovica. They then called on peacekeeping troops to provide a safe environment for reporting, as well as journalists to be “especially careful”, because, as they state, “their safety is not guaranteed at any time”.
They claim that several women were seen today in front of the municipality of Leposavic during a live media broadcast, trying to prevent the journalists of RTV Dukagjini, Koha and other media from reporting directly from the this municipality.
AJK states that they immediately contacted the Kosovo police “to ensure the safe reporting of our colleagues”.
They also state that in the municipality of Leposavic, Teve1 journalists were also attacked by what they claim to be “masked persons”.
“Teve 1 colleagues informed AJK that ‘some people’ smashed their cameras on the pretext that they were not allowed to film them because they were wearing masks.”
The association stresses that “such behaviour by masked demonstrators is totally unacceptable”.
In Leposavic, they say, A2 CNN’s and Panorama’s Albania crews were also attacked.
“The cars of the Albanian media A2 CNN and Panorama were destroyed”, and both teams are said to have been in their official vehicles at the time of the attack.
“The attack was carried out with bricks and stones, but fortunately no one was injured,” the AJK said.
The association also says that, according to these journalists, the KFOR members did not react even though they were on the spot, but, as they claim, “left without taking measures to protect the teams already under attack”.”
“We were in the car when they attacked us with stones. Behind us was another Albanian TV vehicle. We parked our cars far from the municipality of Leposavic, but they attacked us here too”, said Djul Kasapi, A2 CNN journalist, while claiming that “when they saw the masked people, the KFOR forces left”.
AJK further claims that the cars of Channel 10 and the ATV team were “vandalised in Zvečan”.
“The photographs we sent to our association show that the tyres of the ATV team’s vehicle were “blown out” in order, as they say, “to prevent reporting”.
They repeat that the Kosovo journalists are in a “disturbing situation” and that they are “targeted by Serbian demonstrators”.
Meanwhile, the RTV21 team reported on its portal that in the northern part of Mitrovica, they say, “journalist Lirie Dibrani and cameraman Berat Bahtiri were physically attacked while reporting in Tsar Lazar Square”, claiming that on that occasion their equipment was also stolen, and the case, they say, was reported to the police.
The AJK also urges journalists to “respect the instructions of the Kosovo Police officers present there” and to take extra care when reporting.
The regional network Safe Journalists also spoke up, pointing out that journalists are being prevented from carrying out their work unhindered.
On the basis of yesterday’s announcement by AJK, they registered seven attacks on Albanian newsrooms and names, as well as AJK, they stated which journalistic teams they were.
However, the network has also picked up allegations by serbian journalists from Kosovo who complained a few days ago about discrimination by Kosovo officials.
The most recent example was the complaints of a Kosovo online web portal, whose journalists claim that they were denied access to the Zvečan building yesterday, with the explanation that they were “journalists of Serbian nationality”.
The network also stated that it would inform other relevant addresses about the attacks on journalists.
This is just a continuation of the reaction of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) after the events that took place yesterday in front of the municipalities of Zvecan and Leposavic, when cars of the journalistic teams of the Pristina-based Kallxo and RTV Dukagjini were damaged by unidentified persons at yesterday’s protest in Leposavic.
Yesterday there were also reports of the painting of the car of the Top Channel press team and an attack on Periscope journalists in Zvecan.
The association also condemned the incident in Zubin Potok, where, it said, “first the car of Teve1 TV was attacked and then set on fire”.
Following yesterday’s clash between Serbs and KFOR, ambassadors in Pristina and international representatives spoke up.
In their announcements, they condemned, first of all, the attacks on KFOR members, but also on some journalists who reported yesterday./KoSSev/