Kosovo Court’s Penalty for Harassment of Kallxo Journalist Criticised as Lenient

The accused A.P. has been found guilty by the Prishtina Basic Court for harassing journalist Arjana Berisha via telephone, in August 2022, after the publication of a video recording showing a bus driver using a mobile phone.

The Association of Journalists of Kosovo, AJK, reacted on Thursday after the Prishtina Basic Court issued a guilty verdict to A.P. and fined him 1,000 euros for deliberately intimidating journalist, Arjana Berisha, over the August 2022 publication of a video which showed a bus driver using a mobile phone.

In the statement, AJK writes that it “considers the fine of 1,000 euros  disproportionate to the offence and it does not serve as an example to all those who have attacked journalists,”.

“Taking into consideration the important work of journalists in the public’s interest, court verdicts in cases where journalists’ physical safety is endangered should be meritorious and in accordance with the offence,” it continued.

The court found A.P. guilty of harassment, a criminal offence, citing his actions in a phone call during which he insulted and threatened the journalist.

“The defendant A.P. has been found guilty of the criminal offence of ‘harassment’ because on August 19, 2022, (he) intentionally and seriously harassed the person by stating that he would cause harm with the intention of intimidating the victim Arjana Berisha. In this manner, the victim, a journalist from, received a phone call from A.P., and he began to insult her about a video recording, and then continued to threaten her,” the court’s decision reads.

In a public statement released on Friday, expressed deep concern over the decision of the Basic Court of Prishtina and the inadequacy of only fining the individual who harassed and threatened Kallxo journalist Arjana Berisha 1,000 euros. 

“Kallxo considers the judicial process to have been irregular and one which prevented the development of legal procedures that would have recognized the aggravating circumstances (of this case) and established a standard of accountability for those who threaten journalists,” the reaction stated. maintains that such low penalties “encourage threats and assaults against journalists, seriously damaging the working environment for professional journalists”.

The court emphasised that the victim, journalist Arjana Berisha, should also seek legal remedy in regular civil judicial proceedings.

Finally, the court also stated that “the defendant is also obliged to pay the costs of the criminal procedure, in the name of court fees, the sum of 20 euros.”

The decision can be appealed.

and 21/06/2024 - 19:15

21 June 2024 - 19:15

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