The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is deeply concerned about the restrictions on the freedom of movement of journalists in Kosovo.
According to information received by SEEMO in recent months, several journalists and media representatives working in Kosovo have been denied a passport because they are under police investigation.
In order to apply for a passport every applicant must submit a certificate issued by the competent court certifying that the applicant is not under investigation. This certificate is required from all applicants, even journalists - despite the fact that journalists are often sued because of their critical reporting.
"This is a clear restriction on the free movement of journalists" said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. "Journalists cannot afford to be denied freedom of movement while they wait for all court decisions to be made; the fact that court verdicts take a long time to be passed only adds to the problem."
"I call on the authorities in Pristina to respect journalists' right to freedom of movement and to allow for exceptions when journalists have to leave the country for professional reasons."
SEEMO urges the local authorities in Pristina to do everything in their power to bolster the free movement of journalists.