Kosovo’s public broadcaster, RTK, suffered a second attack last week on its premises by a group that is against the government’s demarcation deal with Montenegro.

On 28 August, an unknown person threw an explosive device at the home of the Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK) General Director, Mentor Shala, in Pristina while he was inside with his family. No injuries were reported but this second attack in two weeks against the public broadcaster has spiked tensions.

On 22 August, another explosive device hit RTK’s headquarters in Pristina. There were some journalists and media workers inside the building at the time, but no injuries were sustained, despite there being some material damage.

“This attack is a criminal act against media freedom and should be sanctioned,” said Shkelqim Hysenaj, the president of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AGK). The government as well as the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) also condemned the attacks.

The group “Rugovasit” claimed responsibility for both attacks. The term indicates the people inhabiting the region of the Rugova mountains at the border with Montenegro, which is a site of border dispute. In fact, the Kosovo parliament will soon be voting on a demarcation deal with Montenegro.  

Some parties and social movements are against the deal as it might cede some Kosovan territories to Montenegro. However, the government argues that the new demarcation would make Kosovo closer to gaining visa-free travel within the EU and improve integration within the union.

In an email, Rugovasit argued that RTK was taking the side of the government by overlooking the issues that would come with the deal and by ignoring the opposition that spoke against the demarcation.

Pressure continues to grow as Rugovasit is not willing to recede anytime soon. “We urge the government to take us seriously and not to make the demarcation,” the group added, warning that there will be further “victims” if their requests are not heard.

The attacks on the Kosovan PSB add to the myriad pressures facing broadcasters across the Balkan region, from economic and funding pressures in Bosnia to political incursions against PSB in Croatia.