Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence - at World Press Freedom Day
A welcome occasion to briefly review the media situation in Kosovo.
By coincidence together with the World Press Freedom Day on 3rd. May started the 2011 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence programme. According to the organizer, this year’s programme sets a focus on justice in a legal and social dimension. Ten journalists from the Balkans attended the opening presentations in Austria's capital city Vienna. Main speakers were Christoph Prantner from Austria's daily "Der Standard" and Igor Stiks, research fellow at the Scottish University of Edinburgh. The event lasts until the end of this week. Kosovo is represented by Selvije Bajrami, from the Kosovar daily 'Zeri'. Further participants came from Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Romania. Two participants came from Serbia. The programme in general tries to "... advance balanced coverage on topics that are central to the region", - whereas a main topic in 'the region' on this regard seems to be the media itself.
On the occasion of the 'Press Freedom Day' the Kosovo Association of Professional Journalists, AGPK, published a report saying that 69 percent out of 101 interviewed journalists see the Kosovar Government as the main threat regarding freedom of media in Kosovo. Still 60 percent judged the situation for media in Kosovo as "bad" or "very bad".
Meanwhile the independent organization Freedom House in its evaluation report ranked Kosovo on the last place in terms of 'freedom of press' throughout the Balkans. As to 'Freedom House' in all Balkan countries the media is only "partially free".
Already in March 2010 a report from the Kosovar research institute KIPRED stated that "Institutions put pressure on print media by conditioning positive reporting of their activities and performance in exchange for publication of advertisements in newspapers, which is crucial for their sustainability".Continued on the next page