Courtesy of Association of Journalists of Kosovo

Kosovo Welcomes Four Afghan Journalists

One month after the government of Kosovo approved a decision to offer shelter to journalists displaced by the Taliban regime, the first four have arrived in Kosovo.

For four Afghan journalists who will be sheltered in Kosovo for two years, Tuesday morning was their first first day here. The four journalists are Amina Omid, Ahmad Shaker, Nimatullah Gholami and Raifullah Nikzad.

On December 28, 2022, the government of Kosovo approved a budget of 30,000 euros to house Afghan journalists. Kosovo will accept a total of five journalists from Afghanistan who will be able to stay in the country for two years.

After the Taliban regained power in the country in August 2021, Kosovo accepted a US request to host some Afghan refugees.

At a conference held on Tuesday at the offices of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, AJK, the four Afghan journalists expressed their gratitude for the support given to them.

Amina Omid said she hopes that all Afghan journalists, especially girls and women, will one day live in complete freedom, as they live now in Kosovo.

“I thank the Government of Kosovo and the Association of Journalists of Kosovo for creating this opportunity for us to be in Kosovo and to continue our profession safely,” said Omid.

The journalist Ahmad Shaker said that many of his colleagues have been threatened with their lives and many of them have been forced to flee to other countries.

He said that an insecure situation has been created in Afghanistan because the authorities do not accept any criticism of the government. According to him, some 60 per cent of the media have been closed, journalists have left the country, while others have taken shelter in states close to Afghanistan but still live a very poor life.

“We have left Afghanistan in a dire situation, the media there are not free at all and each media has a representative of the Taliban who controls them. They have really created an unsafe situation because they do not accept any criticism of the government,” he said.

Journalists in Kosovo will be provided with accommodation, a monthly salary, health insurance and a return ticket when the circumstances are created for them to return to their homes.

Raifullah Nikzad, another Afghan journalist, said he is very happy to be in Kosovo, but is very worried about his family that has remained in Kabul.

“For the media and journalists of Kosovo, I ask you to deal more with the situation in Afghanistan and your colleagues there, to help them exercise their profession freely,” Nikzad said.

The chairperson of the AJK Board, Xhemajl Rexha, said that he was grateful for the solidarity of the journalistic community and that they “will do everything we can so that they [the four] continue to do their work as journalists in a safe environment”.

Flutura Kusari, Legal Officer at the European Center for Press and Media Freedom, ECPMF, while explaining the program and its benefits, agreed that everything will be done for the Afghan colleagues to continue their work as journalists.

“Our house is their house. We will do everything possible so that they do a good job and continue their work as journalists,” said Kusari.

The Afghan journalists were welcomed in Kosovo one month after the government’s decision about their accommodation within the “Journalists in Residence – Kosovo” program, which is initiated by the ECPMF and financed by the government of Kosovo and generously supported by the Hannah Arendt Initiative.

Within the framework of the same program, in 2022 Ukrainian journalists who have left the war zones have been sheltered in Kosovo. They have been offered the same conditions as the Afghan journalists.

31/01/2023 - 16:16

31 January 2023 - 16:16

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