Journalists of Serbia Seek Justice for their Colleagues Kidnapped and Killed in Kosovo ProvinceAug 26th, 2009 | By De-Construct.net | In Bytes 'n Bits, Earlier, Kosovo-Metohija Crisis
Are Serbia’s Reporters Killed by NATO and Albanians Less Deserving of Memory?
The Association of Journalists of Serbia today staged peaceful protests in front of EULEX headquarters in Priština. In a meeting with EULEX Chief Yves de Kermabon, they requested investigations to be ordered regarding the journalists kidnapped and killed in Kosovo and Metohija province, in the period from the beginning of 1998 to the end of 2000.
Members of the Association of Journalists of Serbia, who were carrying photos of their killed and kidnapped colleagues, displayed a large banner reading “Give us Our Colleagues Back,” in Serbian and Albanian. They were joined by the family members of Serbia’s journalists who were kidnapped by the KLA during and after Albanian war against Serbia.
The Association President Ljiljana Smajlović said one of the reasons they organized Priština protest is the shameful fact that “Serbia’s journalists who were killed while performing their duties have not been listed by any professional journalistic associations, they have not been commemorated and they are not even mentioned in the evidence of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists in New York.”
Killers of Kosovo Province Reporters Still Unknown, Kidnapped Journalists Listed as Missing
She announced the Association’s initiative at the Committee aimed at correcting the injustice after such a long time, by adding the names of 16 RTS workers killed during NATO aggression against Serbia in 1999, when the television headquarters in Belgrade were attacked, and names of the reporters murdered in Kosovo province, to their list of journalists killed on duty, “so that journalist profession would commemorate them too, like all the other colleagues of ours who lost their lives while performing the reporter’s duty”.
Regarding Serbian journalists who were kidnapped by the Albanian terrorists (KLA), Smajlović reminded that the remains of one missing reporter, Aleksandar Simović, were found in 2001, two years after the kidnapping, but his killers, as well as those who killed photoreporter Momir Stokuća in 1999, have still not been identified.
According to the Association’s data, two members of the Radio Priština crew, Slavko Perenić and Đuro Slavuj were kidnapped in 1998; Ljubomir Knežević, reporter of Priština Unity and associate of Belgrade daily Politika was kidnapped in 1999, while Marjan Melonaši, journalist of the Serbian media outlet Kosovo Radio was kidnapped in the year 2000. Their fate remains unknown to this day and they are still listed as missing.
After submitting their requests to Kermabon, Serbia’s journalists informed EULEX chief about the necessity of launching at least one TV channel in Serbian language, which would cover the whole territory of the southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, and about the problems and dangers Serbian media and reporters are facing in the province.