South Africa is not the only country in the world to have its public service broadcaster subject to government influence it seems. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has accused Prime Minister Hashim Thaci of exerting political and financial pressure on Kosovo’s public service broadcaster (RTK) in the run-up to elections. It said this could detract from Kosovo’s desire for greater international recognition following its declaration of independence from Serbia last year.
EBU Director General Jean Reveillon said that RTK, set up by the EBU 10 years ago after the Kosovo War, had proved itself a successful independent, pluralistic and multi-ethnic broadcaster until “a relentless process of political interference’ began in recent months.
“I regret to say that […] pressure from your government has transformed RTK from being a balanced supplier of news into a media arm of the ruling party and of yourself as prime minister,’ Reveillon wrote in a letter sent today. He urged Thaci to restore the independence required by RTK to perform its proper function at a time when Kosovo is still seeking full recognition on the world scene.
Reveillon’s letter was copied to, among others, the President of the European Commission, the Director General of UNESCO, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe, and to members of the European Parliament.