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Kosovo’s media suffer from political interference, financial pressure - RSF

Kosovo’s media suffer from political interference, financial pressure - RSF Marina Mikhaylova/All rights reserved.

PRISTINA (Kosovo), April 25 (SeeNews) – Media in Kosovo suffer from direct and indirect political interference, financial pressure, and excessively concentrated ownership, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Wednesday.

“Journalists who criticize the Kosovar authorities are often accused of being traitors or Serbian sympathizers,” the non-governmental organisation said in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index report.

“A few days after his coalition government was confirmed in September 2017, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj described journalists as illiterate and advised them to go back to school,” RSF said.

RSF also motions the case of two leading investigative journalists physically attacked after criticizing members of the government and close allies in articles.

“Kosovo’s ethnic divisions are particularly visible in the media, where members of the ethnic Albanian majority are rarely seen working side by side in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill with members of the Serbian minority,” the report reads.

However, the current government seems more inclined to talk with journalists and the media as whole, unlike the two previous governments, which were much less open to dialogue, RSF noted.

Kosovo ranked 78th in this year's edition of the World Press Freedom Index out of 180 countries surveyed worldwide, four places higher than in 2017.

Slovenia remained the best ranked country in Southeast Europe (SEE), at the 32nd spot, well ahead of Romania (44th), Bosnia (62nd), Croatia (69th), Albania (75th), Serbia (76th), Kosovo (78th), Moldova (81st), Montenegro (103rd), Macedonia (109th) and Bulgaria (111th), the World Press Freedom Index 2018 showed.

Published by RSF annually since 2002, the World Press Freedom Index measures the level of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries using the following criteria – pluralism, media independence, media environment and self-censorship, legislative environment, transparency, infrastructure, and abuses.