The undersigned international media freedom organisations today welcome the court injunction staying the revocation of the business licence Klan Kosova, an important legal ruling which blocks an effort by the government to shut down the country’s largest private television channel.
On 2 August 2023, judges at the Commercial Court in Pristina ruled against the decision of the Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade to suspend the business certificate of the TV channel, which could have led to the withdrawal of its broadcast licence and an end to its operations in Kosovo.
Amidst an outcry from national, regional and international media freedom and journalist groups, as well as international organisations and western embassies, Klan Kosova appealed the Ministry’s unprecedented decision and sought an injunction from the court.
Our organisations welcome this important decision and praise the independence of the judges, who ruled in line with international media freedom standards. We now urge the government not to appeal the ruling and warn that doing so would undermine already damaged press freedom credentials.
Any ultimate closure of Klan Kosova by the government would deal the biggest blow to press freedom and media pluralism in Kosovo since the country’s independence and shred confidence in continued progress, which was noted by our organisations earlier this year.
We further call on the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Kosovo’s media regulator, to postpone any decision on Klan Kosova’s broadcast licence until all legal proceedings in this matter have been concluded.
We furthermore applaud the recent act of solidarity with Klan Kosova demonstrated by much of the country’s media community during the boycott of Minister Rozeta Hajdari’s press conference. Recent acts of pressure by officials against journalists and activists supporting Klan Kosovo only raise further questions about the administration’s commitments to media freedom.
Our organisations will continue to closely monitor and respond to future developments involving Klan Kosova and call for continued engagement of western embassies and international organisations in the matter to ensure that positive media freedom progress Kosovo is not dealt a severe blow.
ARTICLE 19 Europe
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
International Press Institute (IPI)
OBC Transeuropa (OBCT)
Reporters Without Borders