The Southeast Europe Coalition on Whistleblower Protection and the European Center for Whistleblower Rights in cooperation with local activists, journalists and universities organized from 19-24 March, 2018 the International Whistleblower Day and Kosovo Free Speech Week. International Whistleblower Day, which is the day each year on 24 March, serves to honor citizens who report wrongdoings and acts of corruption, by playing in this way an important role for the protection of public interest and financial resources. Just like every year, through a press conference, it was introduced the “Free Speech Award”. This award was given by the Kosovo whistleblower of the fiscal evasion scheme at the Tax Administration of Kosovo, Mr. Murat Mehmeti to the two Macedonian whistleblowers Mr. Gjorgji Lazarevski and Mr. Zvonko Kostovski for their courage in exposing covertly recorded wiretaps of over 20 thousand political opponents that were allegedly recorded by the government of former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. At the end of the activities, there were organized meetings with other whistleblowers, delivered speeches by citizens, various activists and opinion leaders, which took place at a closing festive event. In addition to the contribution of the co-coordinators and participating organizations members of the Coalition, including CSDG Albania, the activity draw attention not only to the local media, which widely informed on the importance, purpose and organization of the event but also to other intergovernmental organizations and relevant media outlets in the region.
CSDG’s Executive Director, Arjan Dyrmishi, hosting the press conference and the Free Speech Award in Prishtina, 23 March 2018. Photo: Bestar Osmani
Macedonian Whistleblower Gjorgji Lazarevski accepts also the Free Speech Award on behalf of fellow whistleblower Zvonko Kostovski, Prishtina, 23 March 2018. Photo: Bestar Osmani
During the ceremony of the Free Speech Award: Mark Worth (left-Coalition Co-coordinator), Kistina Stevancevic (Coalition Consultant), Murat Mehmeti (Kosovo Whistleblower), Gjorgji Lazarevski (Macedonian Whistleblower), Arjan Dyrmishi (Coalition Co-coordinator) and Gelonida Bajraktari. Prishtina, 23 March 2018. Photo: Bestar Osmani