* Parliament approves disputed media law, EU disappointed
* PM says he "ashamed" of vote
* Government will sent code back to lawmakers for a third
(Adds Kosovo PM reaction)
By Fatos Bytyci
PRISTINA, June 22 Kosovo's justice minister and
deputy prime minister, Hajredin Kuci, resigned on Friday after
parliament passed a new penal code including two articles the
European Union says will undermine the freedom of the press.
The disputed articles force journalists to reveal their
sources and make defamation a criminal offence.
Parliament approved the code in late April but President
Atifete Jahjaga rejected it and returned it to parliament for a
second vote but lawmakers again voted on Friday in favour of
keeping both articles.
Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said he was ashamed of
parliament's decision and would send the code back for a third
vote, without the disputed articles.
Members of his own party voted against removing the
articles, which had been backed by the opposition.
Thaci told an urgent cabinet meeting he could not "agree
with the laws and codes that create fear among free media".
Kuci, who has been Thaci's closest ally since Kosovo
declared independence from Serbia in 2008, told a news
conference: "I can inform you that from this moment I have
offered my resignation to the prime minister."
Kosovo has faced steady criticism from international bodies
for not doing enough to protect journalists and the freedom of
the press. Almost all Balkan countries have abolished laws that
penalise journalists for what they write and report.
The European Union representative in Kosovo said he was
disappointed with parliament's decision.
"It is unfortunate that such a decision was taken despite
continuous advice from the European Union that these articles
are in contradiction with EU conventions ... that protect the
freedom of speech and the freedom of media," Samuel Zbogar, the
EU representative in Kosovo said in a statement.
(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and