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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, January 22, 2021

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• COVID – 19: 312 new cases, 7 deaths (media)
• Hoti: Washington Agreement will be implemented with President Biden (media)
• Mustafa: Not right and intolerable to blame and accuse Daka (media)
• Konjufca: Daka in the service of organised crime (Koha)
• Kosnett: Respect the decision of courts (media)
• Rohde: Pre-electoral procedures are still ongoing (media)
• Hoxhaj: We’re in a race with Vetevendosje and Kurti (media)
• Reporters threatened by the language of political parties (Radio Free Europe)
• Von Cramon: Kosovo needs stable government, reforms in several areas (media)
• EC: Haradinaj must not threaten with unification with Albania (media)
• Hoxhaj: 30% pay raise for doctors and nurses in first months in power (media)

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  • COVID – 19: 312 new cases, 7 deaths (media)
  • Hoti: Washington Agreement will be implemented with President Biden (media)
  • Mustafa: Not right and intolerable to blame and accuse Daka (media)
  • Konjufca: Daka in the service of organised crime (Koha)
  • Kosnett: Respect the decision of courts (media)
  • Rohde: Pre-electoral procedures are still ongoing (media)
  • Hoxhaj: We’re in a race with Vetevendosje and Kurti (media)
  • Reporters threatened by the language of political parties (Radio Free Europe)
  • Von Cramon: Kosovo needs stable government, reforms in several areas (media)
  • EC: Haradinaj must not threaten with unification with Albania (media)
  • Hoxhaj: 30% pay raise for doctors and nurses in first months in power (media)

COVID – 19: 312 new cases, 7 deaths (media)

312 new cases of COVID – 19 and seven deaths from the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 227 persons have recovered from the virus during this time. There are 5,824 active cases of COVID – 19 in Kosovo.

Hoti: Washington Agreement will be implemented with President Biden (media)

Kosovo’s outgoing Prime Minister and LDK candidate for PM, Avdullah Hoti, said on Thursday that Washington never supported initiatives for land swaps with Serbia. “In the process of the dialogue, there were no different positions between the EU and the United States. The EU has a somewhat different approach in the process than the U.S. The truth of the dialogue is that the United States never had a position for territorial exchange,” Hoti said in a debate on Klan Kosova. He added that the United States called on Kosovo and Serbia to return to the table of talks.

Hoti also said that the agreement on economic normalisation with Serbia signed during the Trump administration will still be implemented. “An official has told us that the agreement will be continued to be implemented with President Joe Biden too,” he said.

Mustafa: Not right and intolerable to blame and accuse Daka (media)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) leader Isa Mustafa said on Thursday that Central Election Commission (CEC) President Valdete Daka must not be accused why some candidates are not allowed to run in the February parliamentary elections.

“To blame to the limit of a threat the CEC President for implementing the ruling of the Constitutional Court is not right and it is intolerable … The LDK did not like the decision either. Not because it limits the right of those convicted of criminal acts to run for MPs, because one cannot be a legislator and a violator of the law, but because the Court brought down the Parliament … Therefore, do not attack Mrs. Daka, because you don’t have the right to do so,” Mustafa said.

Konjufca: Daka in the service of organised crime (Koha)

Central Election Commission (CEC) President Valdete Daka responded to accusations and threats she received after a statement by Vetevendosje (VV) senior official Glauk Konjufca that she is working to prevent VV leader Albin Kurti from running in the February parliamentary elections. Daka said in her reaction that she received many threats but that they would not stop her from doing her work. She also said it is easy for men in politics to attack a woman and a mother that doesn’t support any political party.

Asked to comment on Daka’s remarks, Konjufca told Koha on Thursday that he was not speaking about Daka as a mother but as a person that is abusing her official duty. “The representative democracy and legal security in Kosovo are not threatened by the fact that Valdete Daka is a mother but that she, as President of the CEC, is abusing her public duty. It is her constitutional responsibility to facilitate the expression of the people’s will in the elections. But she has intentionally positioned herself against this will. With her decisions and influence in the CEC, even where she has no competencies, Valdete Daka has unfortunately put herself in the service of organised crime which has mobilised to eliminate Albin Kurti from the political race. Secondly, she is also trying to eliminate the diaspora from taking part in the elections. This is the truth,” Konjufca said.

Kosnett: Respect the decision of courts (media)

The United States Ambassador in Kosovo, Philip Kosnett, called on all candidates that were not certified to run in the February parliamentary elections, to respect the decisions of courts. In an interview for Politiko on Kanal10, Kosnett said: “my comment on the issue is that I think that all potential candidates that were not certified, there is an appeals process in place. There is a legal process and we need to respect it. My embassy, the government, has often said that it is important to respect the judiciary and the courts. It should not be said: we like this decision, or we don’t like this decision. There is an appeals process in this respect.”

Commenting on remarks against CEC President Valdete Daka, Kosnett said she is able of arguing her case in public. “I think Daka does not have to speak on her behalf and Kurti does not have to speak on his behalf. I think these people are able to argue their case in public before the people of Kosovo because this is the most important audience,” Kosnett added.

Rohde: Pre-electoral procedures are still ongoing (media)

German Ambassador to Kosovo, Jorn Rohde, took to Twitter to comment on the preparations for the February parliamentary elections. “Kosovo elections – my take: We expect all Kosovo institutions to ensure the organisation of credible, inclusive and transparent elections conducted in accordance with international standards. Pre-electoral procedures, including on the certification of candidates, are still ongoing. These procedures are defined by law and include possibilities for appeal. All stakeholders need to respect the due process and relevant rules and guidelines which guarantee fair and transparent elections. It is important that independent institutions and the relevant judicial bodies are able to conduct their work without interference,” Rohde tweeted.

Hoxhaj: We’re in a race with Vetevendosje and Kurti (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Acting Leader and candidate for Prime Minister in the February parliamentary elections, Enver Hoxhaj, said in an interview with RTV Besa on Thursday that they are in a race with Kurti’s Vetevendosje Movement, ignoring the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and their candidate for Prime Minister, Avdullah Hoti. “We are in a race with another political party, the Vetevendosje Movement and their leader, Albin Kurti. And I am one of the two most serious candidates to become Prime Minister,” he said.

Reporters threatened by the language of political parties (Radio Free Europe)

A poll on the early parliamentary elections by RTV Dukagjini has led two political parties – the Democratic League of Kosovo and the Democratic Party of Kosovo – to cease their cooperation with this media, accusing it of supporting a political party – the Vetevendosje Movement – and for spreading fake news. RTV Dukagjini Director Ermal Panduri meanwhile said the language used by these two parties is lynching and is threatening the staff of this media. “With the language the political parties are using, they are threatening hundreds of reporters working on the field. We feel threatened to do our job. The language that was used today demotivates us from continuing to do our work and demotivates us from telling the truth,” Panduri told the news website.

Panduri said the poll conducted by RTV Dukagjini respected all the criteria required by the Independent Media Commission. “The political debates on RTV Dukagjini were always politically balanced and will continue to be so. We cannot serve as a platform for settling political scores and we don’t serve the political frustrations of any individual or any political party,” he said.

Flutura Kusari, a media lawyer, told the news website that the language used by the political parties constitutes a threat for reporters in Kosovo. “The denigrating language launched today (Thursday) by the Democratic League of Kosovo and the Democratic Party of Kosovo against RTV Dukagjini is dangerous and constitutes an attack against the freedom of the media. The language used today by calling fake news and relating the activity of reporters with Serbia is a call for violence and makes the reporters of this media targets,” Kusari said.

Kusari also said that in the time of the election campaign “militants of political parties are activated, and political parties must be careful with the language they use because they can easily trigger criminal acts against reporters”. “If a political party publicly denounces the media, then translated in practice, this means that a militant of one party or another may think it is ok to attack the media and this will translate into physical violence,” she added.

Kusari argued that those political parties that are not satisfied with the content of TV stations should follow legal means and not lynch reporters.

The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) held a press conference on Thursday saying that it is ceasing all communication with RTV Dukagjini, calling their shows propaganda and manipulating. “RTV Dukagjini for some time now has turned into a propaganda office of the Vetevendosje Movement and Albin Kurti, but this has reached a boiling point now. Ekrem Lluka (the owner of RTV Dukagjini) and Albin Kurti have come together and are united for dirty and business goals,” said Betim Gjoshi, head of the PDK election staff. According to the PDK, the accounts of Vetevendosje Movement and RTV Dukagjini are managed by the same person, the same team, the same office and with the same equipment.

The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) said in a press release that RTV Dukagjini is using all its media potential to serve a certain political party, “in the service of the Vetevendosje Movement”. “The LDK does not aim to intervene in the editorial independence of the media, but it will also not tolerate a fake news campaign against us. Therefore, if RTV Dukagjini continues this propaganda which is obviously aimed at influencing and orienting the votes of citizens towards a certain party, the LDK will reconsider its cooperation with RTV Dukagjini so that we don’t become part of information abuse with consequences for our voters and for the citizens of Kosovo,” the press release notes.

The Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) reacted to the statements by the PDK and LDK, saying that they are direct pressure on the editorial policies and a direct form of public pressure. “By accusing media of favoring a political party, they are making them targets of attacks. The AJK calls on political parties that if they have complaints about any media in this respect, they should address them to the competent authorities. This approach by the political parties against the media, in the eyes of the AJK, constitutes an attack against the freedom of speech,” the statement notes.

Von Cramon: Kosovo needs stable government, reforms in several areas (media)

The European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon, said in an interview with Klan Kosova on Thursday that she expects a high voter turnout in the February 14 parliamentary elections and that she hopes for a free and fair election process.

Von Cramon said the future government of Kosovo must work on reforms in many areas and said there are serious problems in education and the healthcare systems.

On the dialogue with Serbia, she said that any party that comes to power after the elections should have continued communication with the opposition.

The EP Rapporteur also said Kosovo institutions must work more on visa liberalisation to win the support of countries that haven’t supported Kosovo so far.

EC: Haradinaj must not threaten with unification with Albania (media)

A spokesman for the European Commission said on Thursday that leaders in the region must give examples of promoting mutual trust. Asked to comment on AAK leader Ramush Haradinaj’s remarks about a possible unification between Kosovo and Albania, the spokesman said: “political leaders in the region must give examples of promoting mutual trust by fostering good neighborly relations and cooperation, the principles and values of the European Union”.

Hoxhaj: 30% pay raise for doctors and nurses in first months in power (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Acting Leader and candidate for Prime Minister in the February parliamentary elections, Enver Hoxhaj, said during a visit to the regional hospital in Prizren today that the PDK will raise by 30 percent the salaries of doctors and nurses in the first months in power. Hoxhaj said in a Facebook: “with our recovery program, together with doctors and nurses, we will recover the healthcare system too. We will raise by 30 percent the salaries of the heroes of our time in the first months of the PDK government.”

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