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Kosovo parliament passes new media laws

Kosovo's parliament approved a penal code with new laws on Friday that require journalists to reveal their sources and make defamation a crime. In response to the new laws, Kosovo's deputy prime minister, Hajredin Kuci, resigned from office [Reuters report] because he feels they undermine media freedom. Kosovo's parliament originally approved the new law in April, but president Atifete Jahjaga [official website] sent it back for a second vote after he rejected it. The country's prime minister, Hashim Thaci [official website], pledged to send the code back for a third vote, but will exclude the controversial media laws.

Kosovo has been in the news since it declared independence in 2008. Last month, Moshe Harel was arrested in connection with the organ trafficking operation [JURIST report] in Kosovo during the 1998-1999 Kosovo War. This organ trafficking scandal has been receiving more attention after a report implicated [JURIST report] Thaci in the scheme. Since then, an EU prosecutor began investigating organ trafficking in Albania [JURIST report] in October 2011. In August of that year a US prosecutor began investigating Thaci's role in the scandal [JURIST report]. In February 2011 UN Special Representative to Kosovo Lamberto Zannier requested [JURIST report] that the UN Security Council open an independent investigation into alleged incidents of organ trafficking. That January, the COE also demanded that Albania and Kosovo investigate the claims [JURIST report].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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