The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has backed calls by IFJ affiliates for the government of Kosovo to take action to condemn attacks against journalists.
The call by the Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalist’s Safety came after journalists were attacked on March 26th at Mitrovica while they were covering a meeting at the Mitrovica Community Centre.
The special police forces entered the building aggressively, to arrest a Serbian government official, who they claimed had entered the country without prior approval. The police used shock bombs and tear gas to enter, which resulted in several Serbian journalists being hurt and damage to their equipment. Others were verbally attacked and pushed to the ground with weapons. Civilians were also hurt.
Journalists claim the government’s use of violence put their safety in danger while they were there just doing their job.The IFJ joins the Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety and urges the Kosovo authorities to thoroughly investigate this assault.
IFJ Secretary General Anthony Bellager said: “This is an attack on freedom of expression and on the safety of the journalism profession itself. It must stop and journalists should not have to tolerate more of this kind of abuse. The authorities have to make sure that the press can do its job without being attacked. The authorities of Kosovo must launch an investigation and show full respect for human rights and freedom of expression”.