Journalist's Stabbing Causes Outrage in Kosovo

Journalists in Kosovo are to hold a protest rally in Pristina following an alarming incident in which a journalist was stabbed at the workplace.

Milot Hasmija, an editor with the Pristina-based Klan Kosovo television station, was stabbed in the neck and head several times on Monday by an intruder in the TV studio.

Hasmija had interviewed the man who then demanded that he delete the video after it was uploaded onto YouTube. Hasmija said he had not uploadeded the video and as a consequence was unable to remove it.  

The violent incident has caused widespread indignation among journalists, diplomats and members of the public.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci condemned the assault, calling it an attack on the values of democracy, human rights and freedom of speech.

"Such acts are not acceptable and are not tolerated, because they gravely violate freedom of speech, which is one of the outstanding values of the society and state that we are building," a government statement said.

Gazmend Syla, head of information with Klan television, said the man who stabbed Hasimja came to the TV station and asked to meet him. After the attack, some of the reporter's colleagues apprehended the man and called the police, who  arrested him.

Jean-Claude Schlumberger, head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, also condemned the attack.

"I am shocked and appalled by today's attack on Hasimja," Schlumberger said. "Journalists should be free and safe to conduct their work and today's attack is absolutely unacceptable.

"I call on the justice system to deal with this case as soon as possible and prosecute the perpetrator," he added.


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