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06 April 2021

Addressed to: Audiovisual Media Service Providers

The Independent Media Commission, Agency for Gender Equality - Office of the Prime Minister and the Kosovo Center for Gender Studies are watching with concern some TV shows, which are constantly promoting hate speech.

Through this open letter, we instruct you to be careful during the transmission of program content and to take all appropriate actions in order to avoid content that promotes hate speech, vulgar and offensive language, as well as incites or promotes any of forms of discrimination and intolerance, with special emphasis on live broadcasts where there is a possibility of misuse of media space by guests on shows.

The high percentage of women who live under physical, psychological and economic violence is a structural problem which, among other things, is a matter of mentality. And this mentality which has normalized violence against vulnerable social groups, especially women, should not be allowed by any television, whether public or private. Therefore, it is extremely worrying for us that televisions, in the name of freedom of expression, are contributing to the promotion of hatred and the normalization of violence through televised debates, thus undermining our efforts for gender equality and the protection of women's rights in particular. and human rights in general. Such content, in addition to being ethically unacceptable and harmful, is in complete contradiction with the Constitution of Kosovo, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Istanbul Convention, the Criminal Code, the Law on Gender Equality, the Law on Protection from Discrimination and other legal acts guaranteeing human rights.

We value the role of the media as vital to the organization of public and private life and the protection of the rights of vulnerable social groups. We also recognize the potential that the media carry for social transformations when they do journalism regarding the obligations arising from the Code of Ethics and other applicable laws. Therefore, hate speech, which is present in these media, is intolerable and directly harms social causes, affecting public opinion.

The presence of hate speech on local television is a practice that should be stopped. Based on this, we demand a quick response from all media, regarding the legal obligations which protect and promote human rights as a fundamental value and which establish journalistic ethics. In the other case, the IMC, AGE and KCGS are determined to pursue all legal avenues to denounce and combat such practices.

Independent Media Commission

Agency for Gender Equality - Office of the Prime Minister

Kosovo Center for Gender Studies