Heldt: Equal access of media to COVID updates should be undisputed; ECSM also reacted

“One thing should be undisputed: equal access of media to COVID updates, but also other info. Why is there such an interest in trying to keep KoSSev away from that? And branding people traitors is a well-known pattern, but remains deeply disturbing. Preserve media freedom,” the German ambassador to Pristina, Christian Heldt reacted to the head of the Kosovska Mitrovica Provisional Authority and the North Mitrovica emergency team, Aleksandar Spiric calling out the reporting of the KoSSev portal yesterday.

In addition to the German ambassador, the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom have also previously reacted to yesterday’s events.

“Kossev, an online media based in North Mitrovica (a disputed area between Kosovo and Serbia) has been again attacked and intimidated,” the ECSM tweeted, while also sharing NUNS’ statement.

The ECSM also noted that the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia harshly condemned the new attack by the Kosovska Mitrovica authorities.

The KoSSev portal live-streamed the Wednesday press conference of the Kosovska Mitrovica emergency team – regarding the situation in the north during the coronavirus outbreak – on Facebook. At a conference held the following day, Spiric called out KoSSev for doing so „without the consent“ of the emergency team.

At the same time, today’s press conference was moved from the previously scheduled time – instead of noon, it was held an hour earlier. Once again, KoSSev did not receive an invitation to the press conference, however, this time the portal failed to obtain information about the change from other journalists who regularly receive calls and attend conferences. Consequently, the public who follows the news on our portal were denied the information on the latest data from the Hospital Center and the Epidemiological Institute on the status of infected and diseased patients in northern municipalities.

“The Kosovska Mitrovica leaders’ ignorance about the fact that press conferences are public events and can be live-streamed is worrying, while the completely unfounded and malicious accusation that the journalists are sabotaging the fight against the spreading of the infection and that they are exponents of Kosovo’s government policy is alarming. Such statements are extremely dangerous and greatly endanger the safety of everyone in the editorial office of KoSSev and their families,” NUNS wrote in a statement earlier today.

NUNS underlined that it will enter these pressures into the database of attacks on journalists and inform international journalistic associations and organizations, while urging government officials to “refrain from hasty reactions, unfounded allegations, public accusations and dangerous statements that could endanger the safety of all journalists.”

The majority of Serbian and Kosovo institutions headed by Srpska Lista officials stopped sending announcements and notifications to the KoSSev portal several years ago. In addition, the heads of these institutions do not respond to our calls or written inquires.

Read more:

Spiric: Press conference live-streamed without our consent

NUNS: New unwarranted attacks on the KoSSev editorial staff

Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.