Beating of Kosovo journalist was attack on media freedom: OSCE

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 17, 2017 7:12 AM

PRISTINA (Reuters) - An international watchdog has condemned the beating of a Kosovo journalist known for his reports on corruption, calling it "an attack against freedom of media".

Parim Olluri, whose news website Insajderi has become one of the leading online media reporting allegations of corruption among Kosovo's top officials, was beaten by unknown assailants late on Wednesday as he was going home with his fiancée.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), whose Kosovo mission monitors peace and democracy in the country, said: "Journalists should be free to state a different opinion without fear of violence or physical injury."

Kosovo's journalists' association called on authorities to find the attackers.

Hashim Thaci, Kosovo's president, wrote on his Facebook page: "Journalists should not be discouraged by such criminal acts. On the contrary."

The attack came days after Olluri wrote an editorial accusing some former commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, seen as heroes by many for their role in fighting Serb forces during the 1998-99 war, of corruption.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nearly a decade after NATO mounted air strikes to drive out Serb forces and halt the killing and ethnic cleansing of Albanians in a two-year Serb counter-insurgency.

Human rights organization Freedom House said in its 2017 report the media in Kosovo is "partly free". Threats against journalists have increased in recent years.

Last year a hand grenade was thrown at the home of the head of Kosovo's state broadcaster RTK days after another explosive device was thrown into the television's courtyard.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Ivana Sekularac and Robin Pomeroy)