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Improving the application of European standards in the field of freedom of expression and court reporting in Kosovo*

Pristina 30 July 2020
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Improving the application of European standards in the field of freedom of expression and court reporting in Kosovo*

EU and Council of Europe are supporting media actors and institutions in Kosovo* and building their capacities to improve the application of European standards in the field of freedom of expression. 

The first thematic training workshop for media actors and other relevant stakeholders on good administration of justice and reporting from the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office took place online in Pristina on 30 July 2020. Around 20 journalists from online and other media participated in the event. The event was organised by the Association of Journalists of Kosovo in coordination with the JUFREX team in the framework of the EU and Council of Europe joint action“Freedom of Expression and Media in Kosovo* (JUFREX)”.

Reporting from the courts, protection against defamation during reporting from the courts, the right of access to court and information, media regulation, the right to privacy, protection of sources and whistleblowing were the subjects covered during the online training. In addition, the journalists were presented with European Court of Human Rights standards such as judicial authority and impartiality, freedom of expression of lawyers and judges, reporting of criminal cases in the media and presumption of innocence.

The discussions during the training provided a great opportunity for the journalists to understand their rights and responsibilities and the concept of good administration of justice.
The added value of the meeting was the presence of the communication team of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers who were invited to take part as guest speakers. The participants had the opportunity to learn about the internal functioning, procedures and competencies of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. Moreover, topics such as plenary hearings, suspects' rights, information retention, classification, public status of the indictment, oversight of the proceedings in the courtroom, non-compliance with the court order, open, private and closed sessions, live reporting from court hearings were covered during the training. 

This Action is part of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey II”, a co-operation initiative co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe, which aims at assisting Beneficiaries in the Western Balkans region and Turkey to comply with the Council of Europe standards and European Union acquis in the framework of the enlargement process, where relevant.

 

 

 

 

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence 
 


What is the Horizontal Facility II?

The European Union/Council of Europe Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey (Horizontal Facility II) 2019-2022 is a co-operation initiative of the European Union and Council of Europe for the Western Balkans and Turkey. It is one of the results of the Statement of Intent signed on 1 April 2014 by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, in which both Organisations agreed to further strengthen their co-operation in key areas of joint interest.

The first phase of the programme included various Beneficiary-specific and regional initiatives and ran from 2016 to 2019. The second phase of the programme (worth €41 million between 2019 and 2022) keeps building on the results of the phase I and broadens the thematic areas to new topics crucial for the Western Balkans region and Turkey – freedom of expression and media.

The second phase of the programme covers Actions in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia as well as Turkey and the regional dimension of the programme is strengthened. The Expertise Co-ordination Mechanism that provides legislative expertise and policy advice within the Council of Europe system remains an important part of the programme available to all Beneficiaries.

 

How long will the Horizontal Facility II last?

The Horizontal Facility is a three-year programme, which is being implemented by the Council of Europe from May 2019 over a period of 36 months. 

 

How much will the Horizontal Facility II cost?

The envelope of this facility amounts to ca. 41 Million EUR (85% funded by the EU, 15% by the CoE).

 

What will the Horizontal Facility II do?

The Horizontal Facility enables the Beneficiaries to meet their reform agendas in the fields of human rights, rule of law and democracy and to comply with the European standards, including where relevant within the framework of the EU enlargement process. The Horizontal Facility relies on the Council of Europe’s unique working methods, whereby tailor-made technical co-operation activities are based on conclusions and recommendations of the Council of Europe’s monitoring bodies highlight areas where improvements are needed in legislation and policies of the Beneficiaries to comply with the Organisation’s treaties and other standards.

Themes covered by the Horizontal Facility include:

  • Ensuring justice;
  • Fighting economic crime;
  • Combating discrimination and protecting the rights of vulnerable groups (including LGBTI, minorities, Roma and victims of trafficking in human beings) and
  • Freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

All the themes are key priorities of the two Organisations in the Western Balkans region and Turkey.

All Horizontal Facility actions address cross-cutting issues such as gender mainstreaming, protection of minorities and vulnerable groups and foresees the engagement of civil society organisations in the implementation of the Horizontal Facility.

This website has been produced using funds of a Joint Project between the European Union and the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union or the Council of Europe.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.