Photo: Urim Krasniqi/BIRN

BIRN’s Investigation on Gender Discrimination Sparks Reactions From Government and Opposition

Members from both the ruling and opposition parties, along with state officials, have responded to the exclusive investigation conducted by BIRN, shedding light over the discrimination that three women faced when applying for top positions in the public broadcaster, RTK.

BIRN’s inquiry into the discrimination faced by three women during competitions for top-tier positions at the public broadcaster, RTK, has prompted reactions both from state officials and legislators.

Mimoza Kusari-Lila, the head of the parliamentary group from governing party Vetevendosje, stated that she had not received any details regarding the processes described in the investigation. She mentioned, “In fact, none of the candidates have reached out to us [at least not to me or those around me] about any irregularities.”

“I regret if this well-intentioned initiative for gender equality on the board is failing at RTK [if these interventions are confirmed]. Nevertheless, we will closely monitor these processes through the Functional Commission,” Kusari-Lila told BIRN on September 2, one day after the investigation was published.

Three opposition parties, LDK, PDK, and AAK, have also voiced their concerns.

Arben Gashi, the leader of the parliamentary group of LDK, criticized the government, stating, “This government has transformed into a discriminatory power. The discrimination against women for decision-making positions at RTK is consistent with the discriminatory behavior of this government.”

“The discrimination against these professional, meritorious, and highly successful women is unacceptable and punishable. Therefore, we must adopt a unified approach in addressing this significant abuse of power,” Gashi stated for BIRN.

“In the context of numerous wrongdoings occurring at RTK with political influence, there is now also a violation of gender equality law,” Gashi concluded.

On the other hand, Abelard Tahiri, the leader of the parliamentary group of PDK, and Eliza Hoxha, a deputy of this party who champions human rights issues, issued a joint statement to BIRN on September 5, stating that it is “regrettable to witness ongoing political pressure and interference in the selection processes for leadership positions in public institutions, specifically at RTK.”

“The case of the three leadership positions at RTK, where three women had the potential and qualifications to lead [but were not selected], clearly indicates political and gender influence,” Hoxha and Tahiri said.

“Although one of the processes displayed procedural violations, the other two processes, for the director of radio and the head of common services, had Flora Durmishi and Mihrije Beqiri as the highest scorers. However, the new RTK Board rejected both of them without providing any justification,” they added.

Besnik Tahiri, the leader of the parliamentary group of AAK, stated on September 5 that “the exclusion of the three professional women who, in the competition processes, scored the highest but were not chosen for any of the leadership positions at Public Television indicates a discriminatory logic and a lack of vision.”

Two members of Vetëvendosje, one being a journalist and the other a women’s rights activist before joining the party, also reacted to this investigation.

Tinka Kurti, now leading the women’s group in the Kosovo Parliament from Vetëvendosje’s ranks and formerly a journalist, said, “No complaints from these women have been brought to the Parliament. They are capable and competent to defend their rights if there has been any gender-based irregularity. I, of course, support them if there is gender discrimination or any other injustice,” Kurti said on September 5.

Meanwhile, Nazlie Bala, a former activist and now a political advisor in the Ministry of Justice, said, “BIRN’s investigation has revealed gender discrimination and gender inequality when it comes to decision-making and the employment of women. All legal mechanisms must be utilized to achieve justice. Our efforts are ongoing and will continue to focus on promoting more women in decision-making and combating all forms of gender discrimination,” she said for BIRN on September 5.

BIRN has published the investigation featuring testimonies from three professional women who, despite succeeding in merit-based competition processes, were not allowed to assume leadership positions at RTK.

07/09/2023 - 14:29

07 September 2023 - 14:29

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.