North Mitrovica police officer and commander threaten lawsuit against KoSSev portal for citizens’ comments

The KoSSev media news outlet received a warning from the two police officers of the Kosovo Police North Mitrovica station yesterday, before the launch of a possible lawsuit against the media outlet. Police officer Milan Ristovic and the commander of the North Mitrovica station, Djordje Karamarkovic, in four separate requests, complained about the public (Facebook) comments on the news site, made in regard to their work. They demanded the comments to be deleted, requested a public apology, financial compensation, and denial, without referring to what should be denied. The editorial staff is also requested to „determine the responsibility of the person who published the comments“, to issue procedures about publishing comments that „contain defamation and insults“. Finally, the editorial team is requested to have full knowledge on the Civil Law on defamation and insults.

Ristovic and Karamarkovic complained about the comments made by citizens Kusljo Guster and Jovica Aleksic left on the portal through the social network Facebook, and these are cited in the letter received by KoSSev.

If KoSSev fails to meet the four requests in the four separate documents, these civilians, i.e. the police officers, will file a complaint.

These are not the first such complaints however.

On the day of the funeral of Oliver Ivanovic, Kosovan MP Igor Simić reported to police a security threat, which was followed by a lawsuit against an unknown person, (Kusljo Guster) for another Facebook comment posted below the article „Posle ubistva Ivanovića, pred dolazak Vučića: Položio zakletvu da je Predsednik građanima, ne lider stranke. Smiriti situaciju, doneti mir i red“.

The state prosecutor Nataša Tanic requested  the IT data of KoSSev’s article, instead of IT data from the citizen’s Facebook comment.

The KoSSev Portal uses the commentary services of the third party, Facebook. The comments that appear below the KoSSev articles are not on hardware that KoSSev own, but on Facebook’s servers. The company is the only entity that has the data and the ability to deliver such.

Editor’s comment
The editor of the KoSSev portal, Tatjana Lazarević, estimates that this is (another) pressure that is being placed on the free and objective work of the KoSSev portal.
„We have been repeatedly explaining to the police and political officials that citizens and the public do not leave comments on our internet site, but they are posted on the Facebook platform. The address for complaints is therefore Mark Zuckerberg, and not the KoSSev portal. It means that we did not publish the comments as the police officers have cited.
Although we are not directly responsible, we do have editorial intervention via appeals, alerts and warnings. Respecting the full freedom of speech for citizens, the right to comment on the work of public figures, and the policy against censorship of free speech, we still ask the public and individuals not to use hateful language or elements of discrimination on any ground.
Finally, I remind the police officials that in the past three years there have been five attacks carried out against the KoSSev portal and its female reporters – an automatic rifle shooting incident, a car been torched, a physical and verbal attack by an official against a journalist and her property while on duty in the presence of the police, two physical assaults against two journalists and their property on duty, also in the presence of the police and security threats against the family of the Editor. Until now, no case has been brought to court, nor have we information on the course of the investigation despite KoSSev showing such an interest. I expect that the police are equally determined to deal with these cases, as they have engaged themselves with the public’s comments on Facebook,“ Lazarevic stated.

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