Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the death threats, insults and baseless accusations that have been levelled against Leonard Kerquki, the editor-in-chief of the Gazeta Express website, since a documentary he directed was premiered on the site on 23 October.
The documentary, for which Kerquki also did the voiceover, addresses a rarely discussed aspect of the Kosovo War of 1998-2000 – atrocities against Serbian and Bosniak minorities.
The day after it was screened, a photomontage of Kerquki with his forehead riddled by bullet holes in Serbian colours was posted on the Facebook page of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), a paramilitary group that opposed the Serbs during the war.
The UCK is accused in the documentary of carrying out war crimes against civilians in the name of Kosovar patriotism.
“We condemn this public lynching of Leonard Kerquki and we call on the authorities to quickly adopt measures to protect this journalist and his colleagues,” RSF programme director Lucie Morillon said. “We also call for an investigation with aim of identifying those responsible for these threats and bringing them to trial.”
The documentary was the second in a new series of documentaries and investigative reports about Kosovo’s contemporary history recently launched by Gazeta Express, an Albanian-language news portal.
Kosovo is ranked 90th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.