July 8, 2024

08.07.2024 – Insajderi Journalists Face Threats After Reporting on Arrest

Kosovo authorities must quickly and thoroughly investigate recent threats made against the staff of the online investigative newsportal Insajderi – @gazetainsajderi (https://insajderi.org/), ensuring the perpetrators are brought to justice and the journalists’ safety is guaranteed.

On 24 and 25 June 2024 Insajderi received numerous threatening phone calls from different numbers, demanding the removal of an article published on 24 June 2024. The article detailed the arrest of a 33-year-old man, wanted by Interpol for alleged offenses such as money laundering, fraud, and document forgery, based on a request from Swiss authorities. He was apprehended by Kosovo police at the Vërmicë / Vrbnica border crossing between Kosovo and Albania.

The callers, who identified themselves as family members of the arrested individual, threatened to set fire to the newsroom if the article was not removed, ominously stating that keeping the journalists alive was a mistake.

The webportal has been subjected to numerous threats of physical violence since its establishment in 2016. In 2016 the media received a phone call from a high level politician, threatened one journalist because of an article. In 2018 was a death threats against the team of Insajderi by the owner of local company. In 2021, former editor-in-chief Vehbi Kajtazi received death threats, and in February 2021 Visar Duriqi, Insajderi’s editor-in-chief, was assaulted by masked attackers outside his home. In 2023 a reporter from Insajderi was physical attacked in Vushtrri / Vučitrn by a local religious representative. Despite these repeated threats, police have made minimal progress in resolving these incidents.

This recent series of threats underscores the continuing challenges journalists face in Kosovo, including smears, physical violence, and slow judicial processes. Ensuring the safety of journalists and addressing the impunity for crimes against them remains critical.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)strongly condemns the recent threats of physical violence made against the staff of Insajderi. Such intimidation tactics, including threats of arson and ominous warnings like “We made a mistake by letting you live,” are unacceptable and represent a direct attack on press freedom. SEEMO will closely monitor the situation and calls on Kosovo authorities to conduct a thorough investigation, bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure the safety of all journalists involved.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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