RSF: Kosovo government’s economic measures serving as a censorship tool

Foto: Reporters without borders

According to the latest report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), entitled “Newspapers that never arrive,” the effects of Kosovo government’s decision to increase import duty on goods from Serbia on daily newspapers supply is a bad example of „economic measures serving as the censorship tool.“ In addition to the Kosovo government’s measure, the same part of the report also referred to the Russian government’s decision to scrap a state postage subsidy.

“The Russian subscription press is slowly dying because of the lack of a postal subsidy, but Kosovo eliminated its Serbian press in one fell swoop in November 2018 by suddenly increasing the import duty on all Serbian products, including newspapers, by 100%. The measure was a reprisal for neighbouring Serbia’s determined and ultimately successful efforts to prevent Kosovo from joining Interpol” – the Reporters Without Borders report reads.

This report also underlines that the decision had an “immediate” impact.

“No Serbian-language newspapers and magazines are printed in Kosovo and within a week no imported publications were available at Kosovar newsstands.”

Furthermore, this means that northern Kosovo’s Serb community have been “deprived of news and information in their own language since November 2018, a situation that violates international law.”

No Serbian-language newspapers and magazines were available in Kosovo for five months, that is, until the KIM Beokolp company reached an agreement with the publishers and reduced the prices so that the distributor could afford to pay the 100% import duty.

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