Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Montenegro's Only Albanian Paper Pleads for Help

The editorial team of the only Albanian newspaper in Montenegro, Koha Javore, are calling on parliament and ethnic Albanian parties to keep it alive.

The problem facing the weekly Koha Javore is that it is part of the bankrupt state-ownedPobjeda company, which is millions in debt and facing closure or sale.

In an open letter to Montenegrin deputies in parliament, the paper's editor-in-chief, Ali Salaj, called on politicians to keep the Albanian-language newspaper alive.

Salaj said that Koha Javore should not exempted from the bankruptcy proceedings concerning Pobjeda, and from its possible privatization.
He said that funds to keep the paper alive should come from the assembly, the government and the fund for the protection of minority rights.

"Minority media should be retained and supported by relevant state institutions for their mission in a multi-ethnic society, but also due to the fact that these media cannot be profitable," Salaj said.

Koha was founded by the Assembly of Montenegro in 1999, but the first issue was not published until February 2002. 

Until 2009, the paper received funding from the Montenegrin state, but, due to budget cuts, a decision was made that Koha Javore was an "unnecessary expense".  

A few months later, Koha ceased to appear as a separate weekly and become an appendix to the daily Pobjeda.  

Albanian political parties
, the civil sector and intellectuals have protested over the threat to  the newspaper.
They said that the disappearance of Koha Javore represented "an attack on the Albanians’ right to free information".
Dusica Tomovic