Accessibility links

Breaking News

Journalist Attacked In Kosovo Links Beating To His Work

An investigative journalist in Kosovo says he was assaulted in the capital, Pristina, in an attack he believes is related to his efforts to expose high-level corruption.

Parim Olluri, the editor of the online newspaper Insajderi (Insider), told RFE/RL that he was beaten by three people in an attack near his home on August 16.

He said that he sustained light injuries and that he and his girlfriend were treated at a hospital after the attack.

“The attackers didn’t say a word. I didn’t recognize them. That made me believe that this was orchestrated by someone" other than the assailants, Olluri said.

The police have not commented.

In recent months, Olluri has been reporting on suspected corruption involving government officials, politicians, and former senior officers of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the guerrilla force that fought in the 1998-99 insurgency to throw off Serbian rule.

His investigations have covered controversial tenders at the national and local level.

Olluri said that he has often received threats after publishing articles about cases of potential corruption. He said that he has reported such threats to the authorities, but that the culprits have not been identified or prosecuted.

"We are facing difficulties, and we haven’t seen a case where people who threatened journalists got punished. This has encouraged certain individuals to think that they can easily vent their anger at someone and prevent someone from writing,” he said.

But he told RFE/RL that Insajderi will continue to seek to expose corruption.

Shkelqim Hysenaj, the head of the Association of Kosovar Journalists, told RFE/RL that freedom of speech in Kosovo is under threat on several fronts.

“Threats to journalists come from the outside, from powerful people, or groups of interests," he said. "Secondly, there are threats inside newsrooms, because political parties or individuals have influence on certain media and are able to prevent them from telling the truth."

The association recorded 20 cases of attacks and threats against journalists in 2016.

With reporting by Amra Zejneli in Pristina