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Kosovo newspaper accused of misleading defence minister

Samuel Schmid gave the interview at a briefing of the Swiss Press Club in May Keystone

The Swiss authorities have accused an Albanian-language newspaper, "Bota Sot", of publishing a partly made-up interview with the defence minister, Samuel Schmid. The paper also faces allegations of inciting hatred and helping to precipitate the ethnic Albanian rebellion in Macedonia.

This content was published on May 31, 2001 - 15:14

A spokesman for the defence ministry, Oswald Sigg, said the paper had misled the defence ministry about the nature of the interview.

He said the journalist who conducted the interview had failed to make clear that the paper intended to publish it as an exclusive when he was given 10 minutes with the minister during a press briefing in May.

The newspaper is also accused of making-up parts of the interview, which was translated into Albanian.

However, the defence ministry admitted Schmid was not sufficiently briefed on the identity of the journalist or the newspaper for which he worked.

The interview took place at the beginning of May following a meeting between Schmid and members of Swiss Press Club in Geneva. It was published on May 7.

The defence ministry said it had rejected previous requests by Bota Sot for an interview with Schmid.

In March, the Federal Police Office filed a complaint against the Zurich-based office of Bota Sot for breaching Swiss anti-racism laws.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has accused Bota Sot of inciting hatred and helping to precipitate the ethnic Albanian rebellions in Macedonia and in Kosovo. It also stands accused of having tampered with photographs.

Bota Sot is the biggest daily in Kosovo and has five offices abroad, including one in Zurich. It allegedly has a circulation of up to 120,000, and sells about 7,000 copies in Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

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