Thursday, June 14, 2012

EBU warns media freedom at risk in Kosovo from proposed changes to Criminal Code

Geneva, 13 June 2012 – The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has urged  Kosovo to abandon proposed changes to the Criminal Code which would undermine media freedom.

The Parliamentary Legislative Committee will be voting this week on the possible removal of Article 38 from the Criminal Code. The changes would take away from journalists the right to protect their information sources, leaving the way open for judges, prosecutors and other authorities to demand disclosure at will.

The EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said that the development could have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Kosovo.

"The promise of confidentiality is vital for investigative reporting and media freedom", said Ms Deltenre, who recalled a recent Council of Europe Recommendation, which states: "The disclosure of information identifying a source should be limited to exceptional circumstances, where vital public or individual interests are at stake and can be convincingly established."

Ms Deltenre urged the Kosovo Parliament to develop a legal framework based on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. She commented: "Rather than remove Article 38 from the Criminal Code, the Kosovo Parliament should strengthen media protection even further by adopting the Council of Europe standards and Recommendations, and European countries' best practices."

The EBU Director General added that the protection of journalistic sources constituted "a basic condition for reporting" as well as freedom of the media, which was one of the essential foundations of any true democratic society. "This is an opportunity for the Kosovo Parliament to demonstrate its commitment to an open society, which is an indispensable requirement for the progress and development of every individual."

(Source: European Broadcasting Union)

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