Who Owns the Media? Only 30 Per Cent of Media in Kosovo Reported Ownership, BIRN Finds

BIRN's map on media ownership in Kosovo reveals challenges in media transparency. Less than 30 per cent of media in Kosovo disclosed owners and finances. EU urged inclusivity.

A new report by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, in collaboration with the Global Media Registry, has published the largest Monitoring of Media Ownership in Kosovo on Wednesday.

Jeta Xharra, the Executive Director of BIRN, stated that less than 30 per cent of the media outlets responded to BIRN regarding their ownership and financial backers.

“This response should have been very simple, this information should have been available on their website. The challenge has been that we had to go to Macedonia and the Netherlands to track media ownership,” she expressed.

Xharra added in her introductory speech that this report is being compiled for the first time in Kosovo.

“The report we are launching today is part of an organization that has been building the database of media ownership worldwide for several years. This organization is called the ‘Global Media Registry,’ registered in Germany, and its representative is present here today,” declared Xharra.

“The idea is that all this is done with the aim that the public has an idea of who is informing them, giving us the right as media to access public documents every day from the three other pillars. How can we ask other institutions to be trnasparent when we ourselves are not transparent about our ownership?,” she emphasized.

Xharra explained that the database of the MOM website provides information on who the owners are and how the media ownership is registered.

Photo: BIRN

“It has been very difficult to obtain information; it has been impossible to extract information about the revenues of the media and where the media are financed. This information has not been provided by the media themselves, nor by the Tax Administration, nor by the Ministry of Finance. We hope that this standard will change in the future, that trust will be created between the media and the citizen,” said Xharra.

Furthermore, Xharra mentioned that the research reveals the limited involvement of women in media management.

Xheneta Murtezaj, editor and senior researcher at KALLXO.com, presented the findings, highlighting that only 15 media outlets have responded and provided information of their ownership.

Murtezaj explained that the findings of this investigation reveal that in Kosovo, it is impossible to understand the sources of media financing.

“Some of them [media] do not publish them[their finances], while relevant institutions have made financial data public only for two media outlets in the country. Also, out of 44 media outlets, only 15 have responded by providing their data on the ownership of the media they lead,” she declared.

Photo: BIRN

The Ambassador of the European Union in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog, stated that the commitment to democracy and human rights, the rule of law, requires involvement in an open dialogue on critical issues of the functioning of democratic society.

“The reluctance of some media to disclose information about financing raises concerns about transparency. The media must willingly provide such information to the public that encourages an open and accountable environment,” said Szunyog.

Photo: BIRN

The EU Ambassador stated that political influence in media financing is another challenge that requires attention, adding that the intertwining of politics and the media risks compromising the independence and impartiality of the media. Szunyog emphasized that initiatives to promote the inclusion of women in leadership positions in the media should be prioritized.

“Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach. We encourage all parties, the government, media organizations, civil society, to collaborate in addressing these challenges. Only through collective efforts, we build a media environment that serves the interests of the population and promotes an informed and engaged citizenry,” concluded Ambassador Szunyog.

Based on a generic methodology, MOM has been developed as an exercise to create a map to establish a publicly available and continuously updated database that lists the owners and the most important media in a country. MOM provides transparency about who owns the media, what related interests the owners have, the extent of dependencies, and consequently, who actually has potential influence on public opinion.

13/12/2023 - 17:30

13 December 2023 - 17:30

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.