Kosovo paper names more 'war criminals'

PRISTINA, Jul 5, 2000 -- (AFP) An Albanian-language Kosovar daily under threat of closure after a Serbian UN worker it branded a war criminal was murdered published Tuesday the names and pictures of 15 more Serbs.

Dita's defiant article came as Kosovo's temporary media commissioner, Douglas Davidson, was already considering further action against the newspaper.

Davidson's secretary told AFP Tuesday that he was considering his response in light of the latest article.

Dita's Tuesday edition dedicated a front page article and a double page spread to a group photograph and two more pictures of Serbs it accused of committing atrocities against ethnic Albanians during the province's 1998-1999 civil war.

The paper named the men and gave details of their pre-war addresses and occupations.

Dita was shut down last month for 10 days after a Serb UN worker it accused of being a paramilitary was abducted and murdered less than two weeks after the daily published his photograph and personal details.

Immediately after the ban expired Dita again published the names of two more Serbs and threatened to carry on doing so.

"Publishing names can put people's lives at risk. It is also violating a fundamental principle of Western journalism that someone is innocent until proven guilty," said Davidson in a statement at the time.

He issued a warning to the Pristina-based daily on Wednesday last week, demanding an official explanation of what he called a breach of Kosovo's temporary media code brought into force after Dita's first offending article.

Claire Trevena, a spokeswoman for the OSCE which supports the media commissioner's office, said on Monday that Davidson's office had received a letter from Dita and that he was considering his response.

The first story quoted unidentified ethnic Albanian neighbors as saying that Petar Toplojski, 25, had been a Serbian paramilitary. The UN worker was later kidnapped and found a week later, stabbed to death.

Original article