"Intl. commission should deal with murders of journalists"

For the sake of journalists' safety today, it is important to shed light on past murders and disappearances of their colleagues.

Source: B92
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This is according to Veran Matic, president of the Commission Investigating Murders of Journalists.

Matic, who is also director of Fund B92, told the Slobodno Srpski talk show that in the following months, as a consultant to the OSCE Mission in Pristina, he would work on a proposal to form a commission that would deal with the cases of 14 journalists who were murdered or went missing in Kosovo in the period from 1998 until 2005.

"We agreed with representatives of the OSCE that in the next few months we will work on investigating the fate of missing and killed journalists and try to collect documentation," Matic stressed.

So far, no one has requested this documentation, and according to Matic's opinion, it must exist in certain cases with Serbian, or Yugoslav authorities and with international organizations: UNMIK, EULEX, the OSCE.

"The outcome of this process should be a proposal on how to continue investigating these killings. Whether it will be a commission modeled on the one we have in Belgrade, or somewhat modified because of the specific situation here, we will see. Most likely, this will have to be an international body with a serious authority from the world of journalism," Matic said.

A year ago, at an OSCE-organized conference in Pristina dedicated to safety of journalists, Matic presented the Serbian commission and its results. Since then, discussions have been held between him and the representatives of the OSCE on how to make progress in shedding light on the cases of murders and disappearances of journalists in Kosovo.

One of the conclusions of this conference was to launch an initiative to form a commission to deal with these cases, which was then supported by journalist associations that gather Serb and Albanian journalists.

"I have the mandate to prepare this proposal in the next ten months. After presenting the proposal to media associations, international organizations, we will see to what degree serious a pressure can be applied for such a body to be formed. It should be an international body that would have the authority of both the United Nations and the European Union, but also of all local authorities in Kosovo, with a mandate to carry out a certain type of control and assist investigating authorities in the process of these investigations. The basis of this commission should be made up of the representatives of the media community, both domestic and international. Also, members of the commission should be people from those institutions who are in charge of solving (the cases), therefore, from the police and from other institutions that can help," Matic assessed.

He said it was very important also for the sake of the safety of journalists today to shed light on the cases of the murdered and missing journalists.

"If you permit impunity at any time, in a way you open up the door serious cases of violence or murder happening today. This is in a way an invitation to those who want to stop journalists, stop the freedom of speech, that this is cheapest way, that they will go unpunished, because nobody will deal with it very much. It is important to first have consensus within the media community, and then this consensus has to be achieved with the political community of a society, in this case Kosovo, and of course, broader than that," Matic said.


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