PRISTINA – The Association of Journalist of Kosovo (AJK) informed that the Kosovo Business Registration Agency (KBRA) has revoked the decision to suspend the business certificate of Klan Kosova TV station.
„The Association of Journalists of Kosovo, since the publication of this decision, had expressed concerns about the actions of the Ministry of Industry, Entrpreneurship, and Trade, and welcomes the fact that the procedures have been completed“, stated an AJK statement.
European Parliament Rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon welcomed this decision to annul the decision to suspend Klan Kosova license. “Decision that have an impact on media freedom should be considered very carefully, taking into account best practices”, Von Cramon stated on Twitter.
On June 14, the Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship, and Trade filed a criminal complaint against the Trading Company, Klan Kosova.
On the same day when President Vjosa Osmani spoke in the European Parliament about Kosovo, as a “beacon of democracy in the region”, Government made a decision to suspend the “business certificate for the company ‘Klan Kosova DOO” the owner of the TV channel, without stating a legal basis and without prior notification.
The Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade in Kosovo made a press release this Wednesday afternoon announcing that it has taken the decision to suspend the license of the commercial company “Klan Kosova” LLC.
According to the ministry, the announcement of the cancellation of the license comes because there are suspicions about the officials responsible for misuse of official duties, as well as misuse of economic authorizations.
“The Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade has initiated a criminal complaint in the Department of Serious Crimes within the Police of the Republic of Kosovo, against the Trading Company “KLAN KOSOVA” LLC, the responsible officials from the Business Registration Agency and the responsible persons of the company, under the suspicion of misuse of official duties, as well as misuse of economic authorizations.
The Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade, namely the Kosovo Business Registration Agency, has also decided to suspend the business certificate of the Trading Company “KLAN KOSOVA” LLC, until another decision. For the ARBK’s decision, the party, namely the owner of the Trading Company “KLAN KOSOVA” LLC, was invited to a meeting and notified.
An assault on media freedom in Kosovo
The media reports during the last week about this issue highlighted well-founded suspicions about the possible misuse of the official position of the employees in the Kosovo Business Registration Agency, which operates within the Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade.
The Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) considered the action of the government, Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Levizja Vetevendosje, as “unprecedented in the new history of Kosovo and a direct attempt to dictate and control the media content of the Klan Kosova”. They added that the legal ground on which the decision was made is unclear.
AJK believes that such a decision was made with the aim of conveying a message to other media as well and that freedom of media and expression has never been more threatened than it now.
“We are appalled by the decision, the first of its kind in the country since the end of the war. This is a clear attempt of this Government to exercise its influence on private media. It is a political, well-planned act in an increasingly difficult environment of media in Kosovo. We are concerned about the work of our journalist, camera operators, and other workers of the channel, in this uncertain time “, Xhemajl Rexha, chairperson of AJK said.
EU Delegation to Kosovo expressed concern about Klan Kosova’s business license suspension.
“EU is monitoring the development closely. Attention focused especially on the potential impact on media freedom. The EU remains committed to protecting and promoting the freedom of expression and information in Kosovo”, EU Delegation stated on Twitter.