Kosovo: Investigative journalist assaulted after going on TV

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Three people assaulted an investigative journalist in Kosovo after he appeared on a TV program, an attack that drew condemnation Thursday from a national journalists’ association and the country’s prime minister.

Visar Duriqi, an ethnic Albanian reporter whose work has exposed crime and corruption, had his nose and teeth broken and suffered other injuries during the Wednesday night assault outside his home, according to police. He was treated at a hospital.

Police and prosecutors started an investigation but so far have not said if they have uncovered a motive for the attack.

During his appearance on “Politiko,” Duriqi and other analysts discussed on the arrests earlier Wednesday of 12 public employees accused of corruption and abusing their positions.

“Any attack on journalists is against freedom of speech and democracy in the country,” the Association of Journalists of Kosovo said Thursday.

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti called the attack “unacceptable and punishable” and said it should not be “tolerated.”

The European Union office in Kosovo also condemned the assault, saying journalists must be allowed to work freely and safely.

“Any attack or threat made against journalists is unacceptable,” it said.

Crime and corruption remain top challenges for Kosovo, a tiny Western Balkans country that declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after a brutal 1998-1999 war between separatist ethnic Albanian rebels and Serb forces.

The war ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign drove Serb troops out and a peacekeeping force moved in.

Kosovo-Serbia relations remain tense despite the ongoing European Union-led negotiations on normalizing their ties.

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