Reporters Without Borders today made a fresh appeal to Kosovar broadcasting network and internet provider (IPKO) to renew broadcast rights for Rrokum TV as the tv station prepared to take the network to court. IPKO dropped the privately run television station on 1st April 2009 citing temporary technical problems which have never been proved to exist. The press freedom organisation made an earlier appeal to the Kosovar broadcasting network for broadcasts to resume. (See press release of 4 June 2010)
“Every attempt we have made to open a dialogue with IPKO has failed. The management has never replied to our emails or to requests for telephone interviews. There was not even an acknowledgement of our most recent letter, sent on 16 April 2010”, the organisation said.
“Who would believe that IPKO could have technical problems for more than a year and which in addition are only affecting one television station. We are now awaiting a quick and independent decision from the Kosovar justice system that will ensure the terms of the contract are adhered to”, it said.
Rrokum TV signed a contract with IPKO on 30 April 2008 allowing transmission for a period of five years. A six-month notice period applies to a break in contract by either party, which was not respected when it was suspended. As of 11 May 2010, IPKO has still not clearly provided the real reasons for the suspension to the management of Rrokum TV.
“The lack of broadcast on IPKO has considerably reduced the audience for Rrokum TV and today threatens the station’s financial survival in a very tight market for independent media. Aside from its music and entertainment programmes, Rrokum TV is one of very few television stations that provides quality news and political analysis. This space for independent news on the Kosovo media landscape should definitely be protected and supported”, Reporters Without Borders continued.
“Beyond its contractual obligations to Rrokum TV, IPKO has a key responsibility as the country’s main internet service provider in the distribution of news and the defence of media pluralism. We expected a more constructive attitude that is more respectful of European democratic standards on the part of the new main Slovenian shareholder Telecom Slovenia”, it concluded.