22 March 2017

Interview with Muhamet Jahiri

The situation of journalism in Kosovo continues to be unsatisfactory. The organization, Freedom House, in its latest report on media freedom classified Kosovo as a partially censor-free country. Journalists inadvertently submit to the policies of their editorial offices, which in some cases are not in the service of public opinion. The President of the Union of Journalists of Kosovo, Muhamet Jahiri, talks about the difficulties of the media and the constant challenges of a journalist in Kosovo.

How do you assess the current situation of journalists in Kosovo?

The media situation in Kosovo continues to be fragile, but still stable, with many challenges and many efforts to consolidate overall stability. We, who belong to this profession, are the ones who mostly see the advancements but also the stagnation of this power. This was shown by the latest international report, published by Freedom House, which classified Kosovo as a “partly censor-free” country. With all this, I think the foundations have been laid for the advancement and development of this profession.

Is the freedom of journalism violated in Kosovo?

In terms of harassment and obstruction, but also interference in the professional work of journalists and the media, there are many indicators that point towards such evidence, but so far, they have not managed to make an impact. We can say that the Republic of Kosovo has adopted and created laws that protect journalists and the media, through high state acts. The country’s constitution provides full guarantees of freedom of expression.

Is there professional and ethical journalism being done today?

Kosovo has already passed the emergency phase of transition, and as a result has gained media maturity. There are many studies in the field of media already, where journalists are prepared for reporting as professional, relevant and useful bodies to society. Progress has been made in this regard, but there is no doubt that there may be cases where someone may intentionally disregard the basic values of the right to professional information.

Is the journalist misused by the editorial office for the interests of clans and daily politics?

No, I do not think that journalists are misused, they just reflect their adaptation, and in this way, they respect the unwritten rules within the newsrooms where they operate. Sometimes their supervisors there may interfere in the texts but not with the intent to misuse the journalist.

What are the ongoing challenges of a journalist?

Journalists have many challenges, and one of the most prominent is their lack of financial stability. Many media outlets work in difficult economic conditions and this is also reflected in the financial stability of journalists, and the difficulties they come across when doing their jobs. Many newsrooms do not offer employment contracts for journalists.

Interviewer: Blerta Agushi