A Kosovar journalist Burim Goxhuli joined the World Press Freedom Day's main event organized in Helsinki 2 – 4 May by UNESCO and the Government of Finland. According to Burim, not only Kosovo but the whole world have a lot to learn from Finland when it comes to freedom of expression but celebrating press freedom once a year is not enough – journalists around the world should be united and strive for press freedom 365 days a year!
From 2 to 4 May UNESCO and the Government of Finland co-hosted the World Press Freedom Day's (WPFD) main event and the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize Ceremony in Helsinki. A Kosovar journalist Mr. Burim Goxhuli joined the World Press Freedom Day's main event in Helsinki to meet colleagues from different parts of the world and to learn more about the culture of openness and transparency.
Burim works for the Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) and, for the first time during his career, he joined an event as big and powerful as the World Press Freedom Day: "In Helsinki I saw journalists working together for one goal for the first time in my life, it was amazing!"
Working for RTK 1 Burim mainly focuses on issues related to security. He has been reporting about the complexities in the North of Kosovo as well as about the problems between the opposition and the government. His favorite event in Helsinki was a panel discussion about terrorism and social media. According to New York Times over the last two years the police has identified over 300 Kosovars who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State and Burim sees radicalization in social media as one of the reasons for this unfortunate phenomenon. He was happy this current subject was highlighted in Helsinki but does not, however, blame social media itself for terrorism. Instead, he hopes that media professionals would use media as efficient as terrorists to spread information, to unite and to work for the freedom of expression.
The global theme of the WPFD 2016 was “This Is Your Right! Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms”. Burim found this theme especially relevant for journalists from Kosovo and argues that in Kosovo there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to access to information. The problem is particularly prominent in the North of Kosovo. Nevertheless, he recognizes progress and believes that press freedom in Kosovo is developing step by step. To move towards fully open and transparent society Kosovo has to keep working on the transparency of financing media as well as the legal framework. Burim himself has been threatened and hopes that the laws would better protect him, his colleagues and above all the freedom of expression.
Burim believes that not only Kosovo but the whole world have a lot to learn from Finland regarding freedom of expression. Finland has been ranked at the top of the World Press Freedom Index since 2009. Even though he enjoyed the World Press Freedom Day's celebrations in Helsinki he highlights the importance of working together for freedom of expression around the year and around the world: "Celebrating press freedom day once a year is not enough – the journalists around the world should be united and strive for the press freedom 365 days a year!"
Jenniina Kotajoki, Junior Advisor