The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) said today that it was troubled by ongoing threats against a Kosovo journalist by self-professed former militants and it called on authorities in Pristina to hold the perpetrators accountable.
Local sources told SEEMO that Serbeze Haxhiaj, a journalist with public radio Radio Kosova, part of Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) in Pristina, has received a number of threats starting late last month from individuals who identified themselves as former superior officers in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) / Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës (UCK).
The threats followed Haxhiaj’s investigation into the large number of veterans who claim to have fought for the KLA during the conflict in 1999. The number of names on a contemporary list of war veterans has been criticised as being unrealistically high.
SEEMO joined the Association of Kosovo Journalists (AKJ) in condemning the threats against Haxhiaj.
“We call on authorities in Pristina to immediately react and to find the perpetrators behind these threats,” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said. “SEEMO expresses its full support for Haxhiaj and asks that this case be resolved as soon as possible.”
Vujovic also pledged that SEEMO would continue to monitor the case and to inform international organisations about the threats against Haxhiaj, adding: “We also hope that she will receive clear support from her employers at RTK.”
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI). SEEMO’s press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.