Pristina, July 14 – Kosovo Law institute (KLI) reacts roughly against open tendencies of some members of the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council (KPC) to stop, limit and censor freedom of expression, freedom of media, civil society and public to be informed and to inform about the public activities of KPC.
KLI informs public opinion that in the KPC meeting held on July 9 2015, certain members of this Council have expressed publicly their position against full access of the media and civil society in the open meetings of the KPC and expressed against the full publication of these meetings, even wanting to review the prohibition on filming of meetings and in cases when filming is allowed, to ask the members of this Council what should be published.
This reaction of certain members of the KPC comes after the meetings publication of this Council on YouTube in the emission channel “Oath for Justice”, as the product of KLI. KLI in accordance with the Law for Freedom of Association and Statute of Organization, for realizing its mission, for promoting of law enforcement, commits to program developing, emissions, and other media products in order to raise institutional and public awareness in the field of rule of law. As part of this goal, KLI monitors, researches, analyze and prepare publications and media products to ensure transparency and accountability of public institutions, in this case also the KPC. In this regard, monitors of Institute and journalists of emission “Oath for Justice” continuously have followed also through cameras open meetings of the KPC, and the same were published on YouTube in the official channel of emission “Oath for Justice”. Publishing of these meetings on the YouTube channel continuously has been done with no interference and no single comment on the content of discussions during meetings of the KPC.
KLI expresses deep disappointment with this approach and the tendency of some KPC members to stop, limit, and censor journalists and civil society to be informed and to inform the public about the KPC activities in meetings that are open and guaranteed by Law. KLI considers that this tendency represents direct attempt to censor free speech and prevent the distribution of information through the media that is in the public interest.
KLI wants to remind certain members of KPC and every official that follows this restrictive mentality, that freedom of expression and media freedom are rights and freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. Article 40 of the Constitution, defines that “freedom of expression” is guaranteed and includes the right to express, to distribute, and to receive information’s, opinions and other messages without being interrupted by anyone. Freedom of expression may be restricted by law only in cases when this is necessary to prevent encouragement and provocation of violence and hostilities on the basis of racial hate, national, ethnic or religious. Article 42 of the Constitution defines that guarantees the freedom and pluralism of the media. Censor is forbidden. Nobody can prevent distribution of information or ideas through media, except when such a thing is necessary to prevent encouragement and provocation of silence and hostilities on the basis of racial hate, national, ethnic or religious and that everyone has the right to correct untrue information, incomplete or inaccurately published, if it violates the rights or his/her interests, in accordance with the law.
KLI informs the public that monitoring and transmission of filmed material on YouTube emission channel “Oath for Justice” about the KPC work is realized in full accordance with the Law on access to Public Documents, Law on Protection of Personal Data and Article of the Law for KPC, which determines that all the Council meetings are open to the public. The Law obliges the KPC that the order of the day to be made at least forty-eight (48) days before the meeting. KPC can close the meeting by a majority vote of the members when discussing for the matters set forth in this law.
KLI makes clear that monitoring and publication of the KPC meetings, is an inalienable right which enters under the right of freedom and opinion and expression- including here also “freedom that accepts and imparts information’s and ideas for any media regardless limits” (Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948) applicable in the Republic of Kosovo according to article 22 of the Constitution. This right is one of the basic political and civil rights, guaranteed almost with all the instruments of human rights, such as the European Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.
KLI once again expresses disappointment with this approach and mentality of some KPC members, who should be an example of the implementation of provisions of the KPC Law and not the same to tend to prevent, restrict and censor media freedom. These behaviors do not differ with those of the communist era, when the media were controlled by the government, period when you couldn’t talk about the freedom of expression and media freedom. Citizens of Kosovo, now have their state, have their Republic and live free. Deserve to think and express themselves freely in accordance with the rights guaranteed by law. Despite numerous challenges, KLI will continue to build policies and practices to ensure that exercised the responsibilities and obligations towards the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo in free way, independent, impartial and professional. This reality regardless of whether is not liked by someone, even a KPC member, it cannot be changed. Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo now live in democracy and deserve to receive information’s regarding the performance of public institutions, such as the KPC.
KLI encourages other members of KPC that also at this meeting are called on the principles and provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, the Law for KPC, and international standards that the media and civil society cannot be prohibited, limit and censored to be informed and to inform for every detail of the open meetings of KPC guaranteed by law.
This tendency of certain members of the KPC presents nonsense of its kind, at this time, when mainly on justice institutions, addressed roughest criticism from the local and international organizations about the lack of transparency and accountability, public demand coming from them, to prohibit, limit and censor the media and civil society for the reflect of KPC meetings.
KLI reminds that citizens of the Republic of Kosovo continue to remain isolated and without any European perspective thanks to this mentality, which tends to hinder and censor the media and civil society, through which ensures transparency and accountability of public institutions, in this case also the prosecutorial system. Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo remain without European perspective, exclusively because of the lack of results of the prosecutorial and judicial system, in fighting of criminality, especially high level corruption and organized crime. While, the same should be the main holders of protection of all civil society activists and media in case of free speech violation.
KLI suggests certain members of the KPC and calls on the President of this council, to stop any tendency to stop, limit and censor the media and civil society to convey and to reflect the KPC activities. Instead of wasting energy in this direction, trying closure of KPC in the media, civil society and the public, KLI suggests President and KPC to build policies that increase the accessibility, transparency and accountability of KPC to the public and citizens.
KLI appeals on public institutions to prevent any tendency of any state official to limit freedom of expression and media freedom. KLI appeals to the associations that defend the rights of journalists to react against these tendencies to stop, limit, censor and interrupt the work of journalists and the media to have access to be informed and to inform the public about the activities and open meetings of the KPC, which are guaranteed by law.
Finally, KLI reminds KPC that the report of “Freedom House” for 2014 for Kosovo, among other has reported that the media ambience in Kosovo is affected by political influence, corruption and financial influence and because that the justice system in Kosovo is not completely independent and this presents an barrier to media freedom.
KLI in the following document (download here) brings transcribed discussions of the KCP meetings held on July 9, 2015. In the discussion are included member of KPC, Ms. Sevdije Morina Ac.Chief Prosecutor of the Special Prosecution of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Aleksander Lumezi, State Chief Prosecutor and simultaneously President of KPC and Mr. Teki Bokshi, member of KPC from the lines of the Kosovo Chambers of Advocates. The same material can be found in the channel of the Kosovo Law Institute where medial products are placed of “Oath for Justice” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWVc74eZAzM).