KOSOVO, KOSOVO, 02/12/2011
The Vienna-based South East Europe Media organization (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), calls on the Kosovo Force (KFOR) authorities, the NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, to investigate alleged attacks against several journalists in Northern Kosovo. According to the Belgrade-based Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) and Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), several journalists and cameramen covering clashes involving KFOR soldiers and members of the Serbian population who had mounted barricades in Northern Kosovo, were targeted with rubber bullets and tear gas.
On 29 November 2011, KFOR soldiers shot rubber bullets at two journalists from the Belgrade–based dailies Kurir and Press as well as at TV crews. Reporters could be distinguished from the rest of the crowd that confronted the soldiers, according to both journalists’ associations.
A KFOR representative told SEEMO: “KFOR does not target journalists under any circumstances.” However, he added that on 29 November the level of violence was very high and that he could not rule out that some journalists may have been among people whom the international forces tried to disperse.
Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary-General, said: “I do recognise that it is very difficult to operate in violent and volatile situations, both for international soldiers and for journalists. However, journalists do not carry weapons and I do hope that KFOR authorities will investigate the allegations that the media was allegedly shot at during the recent incidents.”