Journalists of Serbian and Albanian media editions: Language barrier, lack of information exchange, cooperation is necessary

To what extent is there currently cooperation between journalists in Kosovo, primarily those from Serbian and Albanian newsrooms; what are the biggest obstacles to cooperation; how it can be improved – those were the topics for the Serbian and Albanian journalists to discuss in North Mitrovica during a recent open working meeting. The discussion was conducted at the premises of the EU Info Centre, with the support of BIRN and the European Union.

Any contact between the journalists who report in Serbian or Albanian, or any other language in Kosovo is precious. The language barrier, however, is one of the biggest obstacles, however, it is not the only one; said the editor of the KoSSev portal, Tatjana Lazarevic.

Whilst recalling Kosovo media monitoring on the KoSSev portal that supplies Serbian and regional readers with translated editions of  original texts from Albanian, Lazarevic stated that this kind of „petit media revolution“ that was launched four years ago has become a trend among other Serbian media also.

Contrary to this, she pointed out that Kosovo Albanian media were not sufficiently open to Kosovo Serbian media; as such they would be more open to reporting about an event that happens „forty kilometers from Pristina“ by using news from Belgrade-based agencies, instead of taking the news produced directly at the event and reported by their local Serbian colleagues.

An additional problem is enhancing mutual cooperation, Lazarevic views improper citing of news sources:

Even when major offices in Pristina decide to rebroadcast Kosovo-Serb media sourced news, the news is often sourced “as per media”, or “as per local media”, or both without stating the source at all, said Lazarevic. In her words, the most drastic example is complete plagiarism – the downloading of Kosovo Serb media news and re-signing the authors of the article as if written by Pristina-based editorial offices.

Precisely, news exchange, Lazarevic sees as one of the solutions to increase the cooperation between Serbian and Albanian newsrooms in Kosovo.

Kosovska Mitrovica Radio Director, Maja Ficovic, emphasized that the cooperation between Serbian and Albanian journalists used to be better 15 years ago – when joint media conferences were organized, if there were  joint media opportunities.

As one of the problems in current cooperation, Ficovic views insufficient exchange of local news.

“We would rather see news published in Pristina that matters here in the north rather than knowing what is happening, for example, in South Mitrovica. Mitrovica acts like it is two different towns. We have more events in the news coming from Pristina than from South Mitrovica, and it’s the same town,“ said Ficovic.

Ficovic sees launching a joint news agency as a chance and an opportunity for increased cooperation.

BIRN journalist from Pristina Perparim Isufi, emphasized the importance of the open working meeting in North Mitrovica

He believes that success is already evident: “The fact that last year we managed to gather journalists from different communities in one place – which is, per se, a great success. Therefore, we decided to organize the event again this year. „

As a positive example, Isufi pointed out the efforts of two journalists’ associations – the Society of Kosovo and Metohija Journalists (DNKIM) and the Association of Kosovo Journalists.

Their joint goal is to protect the journalists’ profession via developing a common platform, said Isufi.

He said that there is regular and excellent communication and joint activities been carried out.

He particularly emphasized the organization of a joint protest in Pristina and, above all, a struggle for revealing the full truth about the disappearance of 14 Serbian and Albanian journalists in Kosovo from 1998, with continued incidents during the 2000s.

„We have just had the European Federation of Journalists who have adopted a resolution on the investigation of murdered journalists. We had a meeting with the state prosecutor. We will also meet families and report stories, because it is important to continue with efforts and cases will not be closed,“ Isufi said.

The project for strengthening cooperation between journalists from different communities in Kosovo is funded i.e. supported by, the EU Office in Kosovo and implemented by the Balkan Investigating Reporting Network (BIRN).

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Preuzimanje i objavljivanje tekstova sa portala KoSSev nije dozvoljeno bez navođenja izvora. Hvala na poštovanju etike novinarske profesije.