OSCE conference in Kosovo participants call for creation of commission on murdered and missing journalists

Prishtinë/Priština, 15 February 2017An OSCE conference on safety of the media in South-Eastern Europe concluded yesterday with the adoption of several recommendations, including the creation of a commission to investigate cases of murdered and missing journalists in Kosovo, the provision of special protection to journalists and the adequate prosecution of perpetrators of threats and intimidation against female journalists.

The conference brought together over one hundred representatives of journalist associations, media and civil society from Belgrade, Podgorica, Prishtinë/Priština, Sarajevo, Skopje and Tirana, who discussed the progress made in investigating cases of murdered and missing journalists, regional models for dealing with this issue and threats faced by female journalists reporting online. They also examined on-going initiatives and efforts to ensure the safety of journalists.

“It should not require reiteration that journalists are the door to transparency and accountability. The information they provide should act as a catalyst for an informed and relevant public discourse. Informed public discourse is a prerequisite for a functioning, open, transparent and democratic society,” said Jan Braathu, the Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.

The full list of conclusions and recommendations will be presented by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo to relevant stakeholders, including at the high-level OSCE conference “Freedom of the Media in the Western Balkans”, to be held on 27 February in Vienna.

During the event, an awareness raising campaign on safety of journalists was also launched. The campaign, supported by Austria and Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (KFOS), will be spearheaded by the video “Impunity Must End Now”, which will be aired by the Kosovo public broadcaster for the next two years. The video is available at http://www.osce.org/kosovo/299491

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo is mandated with human right protection and promotion, democratization and public safety sector development. It supports the development of free, independent, unbiased and professional media in Kosovo as an integral component of a democratic society.

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* - References to Kosovo are without prejudice to positions on status. They are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.