Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Free Press Unlimited's compensates damage to Kosovo 2.0's equipmentNot only faraway countries have little to no press freedom. Also in EU candidate-state Kosovo journalists at work are being threatened regularly. During the release-party of the last edition of the magazine Kosovo 2.0, the editors have been beaten up and equipment has been demolished by a group of rioters. The angry mob was furious about the magazine's latest theme: sexuality. The material damage - thousands of Euros - will be compensated by Reporters Respond, Free Press Unlimited's emergency fund for journalists. Editor in chief Besa Luçi is still in shock: 'It was terrifying. We had to be escorted home by the police.'

'They destroyed everything in their way'

Preceding the release-party of the new edition about sexuality the editors of Kosovo 2.0 received countless death threats, after a local news-website announced the release-party as a 'sex-party'. This message rapidly spread all over the Internet. Several hours before the party started 20 rioters stormed into the premises. 'They destroyed everything in their way', explains Luçi . Later that evening hundreds of protesters gathered in the street. 'They shouted things such as 'infidel homosexuals' and 'Allahu Akbar', says Luçi. Police units prevented the protesters from entering the premises. The party had to be canceled because of the threatening situation. Protesters have uploaded footage of the threatening atmosphere online.

Breaking taboos in Kosovo enormous task
The magazine deals with questions about sexuality young Kosovarians have, like the widespread homophobia in Kosovo and other Balkan countries', says Luçi. Seen the enormous violence used by the rioters during the release-party, sexuality still is a very controversial issue in Kosovo. In 2009 Besa Luçi founded Kosovo 2.0 together with Dutchman Joan de Boer. With their magazine they want to show a 'different Kosovo' than the Kosovo which is widely known as a war torn area by the international media. According Luçi and De Boer Kosovo is also a country full of young creative people. Kosovo 2.0 attempts to break taboos with which Young Kosovarians struggle everyday. 'Around 70 % of Kosovarians is under 35. Kosovo 2.0 offers this enormous group its own media-platform', says Luçi. Kosovo 2.0 also has a digital edition in English and therefore also appeals to young Kosovarians all over the world. Quit? It hasn't even occurred to her. Luçi : 'After this disastrous evening I am more determined than ever to continue with what I'm doing!'

Reporters Respond Emergency Fund for Journalists
The damage has been assessed around 5000 Euros and will be covered by Reporters Respond. This emergency fund is meant for journalists who suffer material damage under perilous circumstances. This fund compensates material damage for journalists in need so that they can continue their important work.