“The increase of the number of complaints we receive from citizens is the best illustration of the growing trust of citizens in the Press Council of Kosovo (PCK) and its ability to maintain the professional prestige of journalism”. These were the opening remarks of Nehat Islami, Executive Director of the PCK for its 12 years anniversary conference organized in Pristina on 12 April 2018.
The event gathered participants from the whole region including local media stakeholders, journalists and editors, representatives of the Alliance of Independent Press Councils in Europe, Press Councils from South East Europe, diplomats and representatives of the EU Office in Kosovo*.
Organized within the framework of the EU-funded project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey” implemented by UNESCO, the event offered the opportunity for the press Council to raise its visibility by presenting its key achievements and sharing a report of its milestones progress over the last 12 years.
“Non-discriminatory access to information and freedom of expression for all individuals must be ensured and protected. Media ethics and observance on journalistic standards is a duty of each journalist and editor, and an area that the Press Council has a key contribution in terms of building the reputation and respect for the profession among the people of Kosovo,” said Dinka Živalj, Spokesperson at European Union Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative. She congratulated the Press Council of Kosovo for its achievements and reminded how important it is for the media to take the leading role to counter hate speech, fake news and propaganda.
Agron Bajrami, editor-in-chief of daily newspaper Koha Ditore one of the oldest member of the Council, reminded about the time when the Council was established and the success in overcoming the different viewpoints of the members at that time and agree on joint ethical principles. Besa Luci, editor-in-chief at Kosovo 2.0, underlined how the press council successfully adapted to the digital era by changing its statutes to accept online media publications as members. Today, more than 80% of the members of the self-regulatory body are news portals.
Representing the Alliance of Independent Press Councils in Europe, Balázs Weyer from Hungary, reminded of the importance of the public trust in the media. “Media freedom is not just a formality, it is not just about laws and regulation. This freedom is deeply rooted in the trust of the public. The trust of the public is one of the main guarantee of the free flow of information and its quality.”
* Administered by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244.