Berlin, March 3, 2021 — Kosovo authorities should conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the assault of journalist Visar Duriqi and ensure his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Shortly after midnight on February 25, three unidentified masked men attacked Duriqi, an investigative reporter for the local news website Insajderi, outside his home in Fushë Kosova/Kosovo Polje, a municipality of Pristina, the capital, according to a report by his employer and the journalist, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.
The men hit Duriqi and knocked him to the ground, where they kicked him in the head and broke two of his teeth, he told CPJ.
Duriqi said the men left the scene and police arrived later, and he was brought to a local hospital, where he was treated for head injuries. The Kosovo police have opened an investigation into the attack, according to news reports.
“Kosovo authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the assault of journalist Visar Duriqi, determine whether the attack was linked to his work, and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, Gulnoza Said, in New York. “Authorities must ensure that journalists working to uncover corruption can safely do their jobs, and that those who attack journalists are held to account; impunity in such cases only encourages more attacks.”
Duriqi told CPJ that he often covers organized crime groups’ alleged political connections in his work at Insajderi and in the investigative video show INDOKS, which he produces for the website.
He said that he believed the attack was connected to his work as a journalist because the attackers did not say anything and did not attempt to rob him; he added that he did not know of any specific work he had done recently that may have sparked the attack.
He said he had not received any threats recently, aside from threatening comments that he often receives on social media.
CPJ emailed questions to the press department of the Kosovo Police in Pristina, but did not receive any reply.