The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), strongly condemns the alleged mistreatment of a reporter and cameraman working for KohaVision in Decan/Decani in Kosovo, by Lieutenant Sejde Krasniqi.
According to information received by SEEMO, on 8 September 2010 a reporter working for KohaVision, Arta Avdiu and her cameraman Veton Veha were locked inside Lieutenant Krasniqi’s office and not allowed to leave.
Lieutenant Sejde Krasniqi has said he kept the journalists at the station to interrogate them because they were filming the police station without the appropriate permission.
Avdiu said they had been filming the police station from the other side of the road and when they wanted to enter the police station to obtain a view from inside, a police officer told them that they were not allowed to enter, so they left.
However, when they wanted to get into their car and drive away, Lieutenant Krasniqi called them back and interrogated them. Avdiu said that the police officer asked for IDs, work permits and other documents. When Avdiu and her colleague showed him their KohaVision IDs, Lieutenant Krasniqi said that they were not valid, began interrogating them, and forcibly kept them in the station.
SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said: “It is surprising that a lieutenant would react in this manner. Journalists have the right to request information, to be interested in and to publish topics which they consider in the public interest. Media press cards are legal documents showing that a journalist works for a media company and the police must recognize them as a valid document at any time. It is not acceptable that they were interrogated and kept in the office against their will.”
Lieutenant Krasniqi was immediately relieved of his duties, for hindering the journalists from doing their job. SEEMO views this as a positive development.
Oliver Vujovic added: “The fact that the local authorities relieved Lieutenant Krasniqi of his duties shows that some progress in maintaining freedom of the press in Kosovo is being made, which is a very important step towards the future.”