President Thaçi: Journalists must protect their profession against abuses of the freedom of expression

Prishtina, February 14, 2017 - The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, today participated in the regional conference on safety of journalists, attended by journalists' associations of the countries of the region, together with directors and chief editors of major media in the Western Balkans.

President Thaci stressed that journalism in Kosovo may not be the oldest as far as the tradition, but is among the most courageous in the region.
“Journalists in Kosovo were among the first to have been committed to pluralism, democracy, equality, human rights and freedom of expression. However, since the end of war, great efforts have been made in Kosovo to install a professional and reliable journalism and a journalism that is always in the service of the public", said President Thaçi.
The head of state stressed that there were two important circumstances that have resulted in bold journalism.
“First, in Kosovo, a free, genuine journalism has started at the time of repression and apartheid. Among the first to have faced repression and the attempt to stop the voice demanding justice and equality were precisely the journalists "said President Thaci, who added that in these circumstances was forged the courage to confront the power, whatever may be its type.
President Thaçi stated that values were cultivated such as impartiality and professionalism and the zeal to investigate and search for the accurate information, as well as the courage to publish all information.
“This came at a price since journalists were always targeted by those who have sought to install their policies by violence and repression" he said.
Second, added President Thaci, the country has enjoyed strong international support in the establishing of a professional journalism of the highest standars.
“There was support for the establishment of organizations that protect journalists, journalists' rights, but also of organizations that defend the very journalists profesion and support for the drafting of legislation that protects the work of journalists and the journalists themselves, " stated President Thaçi.
The president added that in their work, journalists in Kosovo are protected by law and not only they can not be punished for doing their work of a journalist, but moreover, in Kosovo, the journalists are not obliged to reveal their sources even in court.
“This does not necessarily mean that journalists have it easy in their work. In Kosovo, journalists, journalism in general, face pressures in their work. Articles on corruption, extremism, radicalism, for equal rights for all communities, whether ethnic communities, or other communities such as LGBTI, the vulnerable groups such as women and children, put journalists under threat and direct danger", said President Thaçi.
Regarding the challenges faced by journalists today, Mr. Thaçi said that Kosovo not only with the achievements but also the challenges it is facing it in step with the world.
“The main challenge for journalists and journalism as a profession does not come from outside but from within the profession. Today, thanks to the opportunities offered by the Internet, reporting and dissemination of news has become easier than ever before. This on the other hand, has made it easy to enter the profession of journalism even for those who  do not see journalism as a goal, but only a means of realizing their other ambitions. This erodes from within, the integrity, professionalism and credibility of the profession of a journalist, " added President Thaçi.
The head of state stated that in Kosovo, the challenge today is not the freedom of expression of journalists, but the abuse and misuse of the freedom of expression by those who do not have journalism as their profession.
“Even in this regard, the main role in protecting their profession falls on journalists themselves. Organized around institutions established by media representatives that monitor the maintaining of professional standards, journalists themselves are the most adequate to protect their profession against abuses ", he said.
President Thaçi expressed his belief that in this conference organized by the OSCE, participants will find answers to the challenge of today's journalism, not only here in Kosovo, but also in the region and the world.