Deputy Ombudsman on expulsion of the media from the session of the North Mitrovica Municipal Council: Serious violation of human rights, rule of law and democratic values

FOTO: KoSSev

Local Government in Northern Mitrovica Shuts Out Media from Council Meeting. This incident raises serious concerns about transparency and press freedom in Northern Mitrovica’s local governance and calls into question the commitment of authorities to uphold democratic values and the rule of law, assessed Deputy Ombudsman.

In a startling turn of events, the municipal assembly of Northern Mitrovica ejected media representatives covering the proceedings of its 29th regular session today. The session, attended by several local teams from Pristina and central Kosovo, began as an open event but swiftly transitioned into a closed-door session, much to the dismay of attending journalists and camerapersons. Following directives from both council members and the chair, security personnel enforced media personnel to leave premises.

Deputy Ombudsman Srđan Sentić denounced the discriminatory treatment of both media and citizens. „This inappropriate and unacceptable treatment towards the media and citizens represents a serious violation of basic principles of human rights, rule of law, and democratic values,“ he stated in a statemet with KoSSev.

„Citizens have an inalienable right to be informed about all discussions and decisions crucial to the community. Transparency and media freedom are the cornerstones of a democratic society, and compromising them undermines citizens’ trust in institutions and erodes the foundations of democratic order,“ he emphasized further.

During the local parliament session, which initially commenced routinely, Valentina Đerković of the Serbian Democracy party raised a query regarding the minutes of the previous session. Chairperson Nedžad Ugljanin asserted that the public did not have the right to pose questions, prompting Đerković to insist on her right to know the council’s deliberations.

Ugljanin then proposed closing the session to the public, sparking dissent among those present, notably including the media. Following a break and consultations, it was decided to continue the session without public presence, a decision made without transparently specifying the number and method of votes by council members.

Councilor Dušan Milunović, a sole ethnic Serb within this assembly, publicly protested against the expulsion of the media, underscoring the importance of their presence for transparency. Ugljanin announced an explanation for the decision post-session, after which security instructed media to vacate the premises.

Some media outlets left the session in protest, while others remained outside the building, awaiting Ugljanin’s clarification.

Read more:

The media and an activist of the Serbian Democracy kicked out in the middle of the session of the N.Mitrovica MA, the session continued behind closed doors

N.Mitrovica MA chairman: We’re in favor of opening the bridge, we’ll support freedom of movement



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