On June 16, 2023, a group of between 15 and 20 protesters threw stones at and chased five ethnic Albanian news crews in the northern Kosovo town of Leposavic, forcing them to flee and abandon their reporting.
The news crews worked for Kosovo public broadcaster RTK and private TV stations Tëvë1, RTV Dukagjini, Klan Kosova, and KTV.
One of the protesters pushed RTK camera operator Bardh Bekteshi to the ground, stole his camera, and kicked him several times, according to a video published by RTK on Twitter, and Gentiana Begolli Pustina, RTK’s head of international relations and communications, who communicated with CPJ via email.
An emergency room treated Bekteshi for a fractured left arm and minor injuries to his face, left knee, and back on June 16 before releasing him to recover at home.
Since late May, protests have broken out throughout northern Kosovo over the election of several ethnic Albanian mayors to represent Serb-majority areas, after many Serbs boycotted the elections. More than a dozen ethnic Albanian journalists have been attacked or harassed while covering the protests.
On June 19, Kosovo Police announced they arrested an ethnic Serb resident of Leposavic, whom they identified by his initials U.V., on suspicion of being involved in the attack, according to a report by regional news website Balkan Insight. The suspect’s legal representation denied his involvement.
CPJ’s email to the press department of the Kosovo Police did not receive an immediate reply.