The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, which represents more than 8,200 members, condemns the businessman Latif Kryeziu’s threats to the director of the online portal “Reporteri”, Bekim Kabashi.
According to “Reporteri”, on March 12, 2020 around 19:00, Kryeziu threatened Kabashi through a message on “Whatsapp” where he said “you will regret this”. Kryeziu then along with another person went to Kabashi’s house in Rahovec, where they further pressured Kabashis parents. According to Reporteri, this threat occurred as a result of the publication of the article “SHELL Gas Stations Kosovo do not sell derivatives of the Dutch giant SHELL”.
This case is extremely serious and poses a dangerous threat to media freedom and the physical integrity of journalists. Moreover, it is extremely worrying and unacceptable for AJK that this threat has extended to family members as well, for which the judicial system should take immediate action.
“Since January of this year, we have registered a total of 5 cases of threats and intimidation against journalists. However, this represents a more serious case of threat, since in addition to threating the journalists, Kryeziu has put additional pressure to Kabashi’s parents. The AJK has requested additional information from the police on this case as of March 13th, nonetheless, such information has not yet been provided.” – said President of the AJK Board, Gentiana Begolli Pustina.
The Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety supports AJK’s calls for anyone who may have claims against journalistic writings to follow legal avenues and not to use threatening language.
Regarding the threats to Kabashi, the Regional Platform will inform domestic and international organizations for the protection of freedom of expression and safety of journalists.
Skopje – Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Zagreb, March 17, 2020
BH Journalists Association
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
Independent Journalists Association of Serbia