KOSOVO: SEEMO Supports Kosovo Journalists in Struggle to Change New Criminal Code

KOSOVO, 24/04/2012

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is dismayed at recent changes in the Kosovo Penal Code, approved on April 20, 2012, in the Kosovo parliament. 

According to the controversial articles 37 and 38, journalists will be held criminally liable if they do not reveal their sources. These changes, approved by MPs against the opinion of the Association of Professional Journalists of Kosovo and other civil society organizations, as well as against the advice of the Ministry of Justice, appear to benefit those accused of bribery or illicit activities.

One daily illustrated the situation:  a journalist could end up in prison if he or she does not reveal a source that has denounced irregularities or bribes. 

These legal changes still have to be signed off on by Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga.

“I urge the president not to sign off on these reforms of the criminal code, and to return the law to the parliament, “said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. “The new legal provisions violate freedom of expression standards and would make press work extremely dangerous. If Kosovo has opted to construct a democratic society, democratic principles have to be upheld. These amendments have to change and defamation and libel fully decriminalised.”

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