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President Atifete Jahjaga has met journalists' concerns about the new criminal code and returned the bill to parliament for review.
To the relief of the media community, President Jahjaga refused to sign the new draft criminal law and has returned it to parliament.
The new law code threatened to penalise journalists for libel and obliged them to reveal their sources.
The draft law, which parliament adopted on March 20, according to the President’s press office contains two disputable articles, which need to be taken out.
“Articles 37 and 38 [on libel and revealing sources] violate Articles 40 and Article 42 of the Constitution, on freedom of expression and freedom of media,” says the explanation.
Hundreds of journalists protested two weeks ago against the two articles, saying they would directly endanger their work.
The President's decision to return the bill back to parliament was welcomed by the Association of Professional Journalists in Kosovo, AGPK.
“Freedom of the press has been saved, as it was jeopardized by the content of the current Criminal Code,” Arben Ahmeti, chairman of the AGPK, said.
According to the reporters, the law doesn’t explain which criminal offences journalists could commit clearly enough, leaving it open to judges and prosecutors to interpret the code differently.
A number of international media rights organizations, including Reporteurs sans Frontieres and the regional South-Eastern Europe Media Organization, SEEMO, have supported AGPK and expressed worries about the law code.
Journalists announced a boycott of state institutions on May 3, on the International Day of Press Freedom.
The AGPK has called upon all the parties in parliament to meet the demands of the press and remove the two articles from the Criminal Code, saying that “the freedom of the press is non-negotiable”.
The Hague Tribunal has been successful in bringing wartime commanders to justice but hasn’t met expectations on reconciliation, chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz told BIRN.