Concerns are growing over an increase in threats towards journalists in Kosovo, after former newspaper editor Arbana Xharra was assaulted on Friday evening.

Ms Xharra, who recently resigned as editor-in-chief of the newspaper Zeri, was attacked late in the night outside her home in Pristina.

Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, in addition to a number of media outlets and civil society groups, have publicly condemned the assault and appealed to the police to carry out an investigation in order to arrest the perpetrators.

Ms Xharra, who is now in a stable condition, started working as a journalist in 2001. On 9 May she joined Kosovo's largest political party, the Democratic Party of Kosovo.

The former editor has been the victim of a number of attacks throughout her journalistic career, largely due to her insightful and hard-hitting investigative stories, in which she often wrote on the dangers of religious extremism. Just last month, vandals painted a red cross next to the door of her apartment.

“The public lynching of journalists is becoming a normality in Kosovo,” she told Balkan Investigative Reporting Network at the time.

Such attacks form part of a trend present across the Balkan region. A recent report published by watchdog Freedom House suggests that media freedom is in decline in the Balkans, in part due to a rise in violence against journalists.

 

Source: Balkan Insight

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