Valon Syla. Photo courtesy of Kosovo Journalists Association.

Attack on Journalist Sparks Condemnation in Kosovo

Media unions have condemned the attack on the journalist Valon Syla by unknown people in Prishtina.

The director of the online media Gazeta Metro, [Newspaper Metro] journalist Valon Syla was physically attacked by several unknown people on Tuesday evening in Prishtina who he described as “fanatical Islamists”.

After his injuries, he received medical treatment at the University Clinical Center of Kosovo, UCCK.

He connected the attack with religious motives.

“Three fanatical Islamists attacked me, it happened quickly and they ran away,” he told Radio Television “Dukagjini”.

The Kosovo Police and the Prosecutor’s Office have confirmed that they are investigating the case, but no one has been arrested yet.

Police have announced that Syla reported that three unknown suspects physically attacked him and caused minor bodily injuries.

“The victim received medical treatment, while the suspects left the scene in a car with local license plates. The relevant police units and the state prosecutor have arrived at the scene,” the daily police report sent to the media said.

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor’s Office of Prishtina said that it has taken all the necessary investigative actions. “Investigations are ongoing intensively, with the aim of clarifying the circumstances of this case, as well as identifying and ensuring the presence of the suspects in the criminal procedure,” it said.

Gazeta Metro announced on Tuesday that Syla was attacked after the end of the TV show “Pressing” on Televizioni 7 where he had been invited.

“This evening, after the show he had on Pressing regarding the trial of the former leaders of the KLA in The Hague, the journalist and head of Gazeta Metro, Valon Syla, was attacked,” Gazeta Metro reported.

Gazeta Metro expressed concern, saying such acts violate free expression.

The Association of Journalists of Kosovo, AJK, said the attack was unacceptable and a serious attempt to hinder and undermine freedom of expression and media freedom in Kosovo.

“AJK calls on the competent institutions to take appropriate measures to urgently arrest the persons responsible for the attack and bring them to justice,” it wrote on Facebook.

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, ECPMF, called on Kosovo authorities to carry out independent and professional investigations to bring the criminals to justice.

“We strongly condemn the physical attack against journalist Valon Syla by at least three persons who left him bleeding and with injuries to his head,” it added on Facebook.

The Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, Glauk Konjufca, and PM, Albin Kurti, have also sought clarification of the case.

The annual report of the US Department of State on human rights underlined that during 2022, there were problems with freedom of media in Kosovo.

The government generally respected the right for freedom of expression, including that of the press and other media. But credible reports insist that some public officials, politicians, businesses, and religious groups sought to intimidate media representatives, the report says.

Prishtina Insight has reported about the annual report of the U.S. Department of State on human rights this year.

12/04/2023 - 14:11

12 April 2023 - 14:11

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.