KoSSev editor-in-chief detained while on assignment

The Kosovo Police detained the editor-in-chief of the KoSSev portal, Tatjana Lazarevic, who was on a journalistic assignment at the time, around 2 pm today on the road from North Mitrovica to the Mali Zvecan settlement. The KoSSev editor was traveling on foot towards Mali Zvecan because Mitrovica-Zvecan traffic was suspended since Monday; just days after the North Mitrovica and Zvecan municipalities were placed under quarantine following an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in these municipalities.

After curfews to fight against the spread of coronavirus were introduced at the end of March, the Kosovo Ministry of Interior confirmed that these curfews do not apply to journalists reporting from the field about the coronavirus crisis.

Nevertheless, the KoSSev editor was detained while going to report on the situation at the Zvecan Health Center – as part of a series of articles on the state of health institutions in Kosovo Serb communities during the coronavirus outbreak which was planned and one such article (on the situation at Gracanica Hospital) was published this morning. Also, Lazarevic was observing the atmosphere in the municipalities of North Mitrovica and Zvecan under quarantine, which is also an assignment for a series of articles – containing pictures, text and video content – which are regularly published by KoSSev.

During the detainment, the editor of the KoSSev portal had two journalist IDs on her, which she showed to members of the intervention unit who stopped her and insisted that she go to the police station. The intervention unit then called a patrol vehicle.

Lazarevic wore gloves and a mask, and she carried a recorder in her bag.
According to the police, the editor of the KoSSev portal was arrested on the grounds of violation of the health measure that prohibits movement.

The Kosovo-online news portal soon published photos – credited to the same portal – as Lazarevic confirmed in the meantime, the photos were taken immediately after she was stopped by the intervention unit, at a time when even she did not know that she would be detained. Lazarevic also confirmed that at that moment there were no other persons – other than the intervention unit – in the vicinity unless the unknown person who took the photos was hidden. She also pointed out that the road where the picture was taken is out of town and in an open space. The same photos were later published by TV Most.

This is another in a series of pressures on journalists of the KoSSev portal and an attempt to prevent the execution of journalistic assignments. At the beginning of the week, a KoSSev journalist was called out for live-streaming a press conference of the emergency team on our Facebook page and it was assessed that we have „too much free time“ and „ask all sorts of questions“.

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