Media organizations across Kosovo and the world have voiced their concern after the Kosovo parliament voted Luljeta Aliu-Krasniqi to join as a member of the board of the media regulator Independent Media Commission (IMC).
“We regret to see this development, as it runs counter to the process of IMC’s depoliticisation that [the ruling Vetevendosje party has] started. This election is a major step towards political recapture, in the very same way it was done in the past,” said the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) in a statement.
Aliu-Krasniqi has shown her support for Kosovo’s ruling Vetevendosje party in many public appearances and TV debates in the past several years. The ECPMF warned that “in no way can she be considered independent.”
“In light of Kosovo’s membership bid, we will immediately initiate exchange with the Council of Europe and PACE to inform them about this unsettling development that will have a major impact on the independence of IMC,” the ECPMF continued.
Aliu-Krasniqi was elected to her seat at the IMC after receiving 48 votes in parliament.
In spite of Aliu-Krasniqi’s election, the media regulator is not yet functional. The IMC board does not yet have the members to make up a quorum. A vote to elect another board member on Wednesday failed, after zero of the four male candidates received sufficient votes from MPs.
The Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) said the IMC should endeavor to protect its political and party independence “in order to carry out the work of monitoring and regulating the audio-visual scene in Kosovo in an unaffected manner.”
“The election of Aliu-Krasniqi goes in contradiction to this effort and could contribute the anti-media climate that this government has created in many cases during last two years,” it continued.
“The vote by the ruling party, Vetevendosje, of a public advocate of its policies in government openly shows this party’s intent to put independent media institutions under its control,” said the AJK.
Established in 2005, Kosovo’s IMC is the independent media regulator responsible for the regulation, management and oversight of broadcasting activities throughout Kosovo.
The IMC licenses both public and private broadcasters, implements policy, and regulates the broadcasting rights and obligations of individuals and groups that deliver audio and other media services.
IMC broadcasting policy is purportedly in line with internationally accepted standards of broadcasting, human rights, and relevant EU legislation.
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