OpisMEDIJavanje: Kosovo Serb journalists perceived as unfriendly and irrelevant

Only a small number of media crews reporting in the Serbian language can be seen at press conferences in Pristina. Very often, the only journalist reporting in Serbian attending these conferences is the Gracanica Online portal editor, Andjelka Cup. In the latest episode of “OpisMEDIJavanje”, Cup talked about why – as the only direct link between Pristina institutions and the Serbian-speaking public – she often feels humiliated and irrelevant, and why she perceives work from Pristina as the Torment of Tantalus.

In addition to financial (in)dependence, Kosovo Serb journalists face a more serious problem – obtaining information sources, Cup stressed.

„Kosovo Serb journalists face a problem with obtaining statements and information from certain institutions where Serbs are in power, because politicians assess which side you are on. Another problem is that politicians from the majority community perceive you as an unfriendly and as someone who is completely irrelevant. This is especially evident at press conferences, when issuing announcements and notices, which are rarely available in the Serbian language,“ Cup explained.

The editor of Gracanica Online, who is often the only Serbian journalist attending conferences in Pristina, described these conferences without the services of an interpreter as “the Torment of Tantalus“, adding that this is the reason why she often feels unimportant and humiliated while on duty.

„Because of the disrespect of your language and disrespect for the law that guarantees the equal use of Serbian and Albanian, you have to wonder what you are actually doing there. When in fact, you simply want to inform your readers, viewers, and listeners on time and professionally about everything that is happening in the area they live in,“ she said.

Cup added that she does not know whether this attitude by the Pristina authorities is a reflection of a perception of the irrelevance of Serbian journalists or the Serbian public. She, however, stressed that this approach has dangerous consequences, which were particularly evident during the state of emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

„At the beginning of this pandemic, there was absolutely no information in Serbian. We have had a hard time, we had to ask, persuade. We wrote requests to international and Kosovo institutions, asking for someone to provide information in our language – what decisions were made, who must respect them, how decisions were respected, when would they change,” Cup said, adding that the Serbian media were “spoon-fed information which was extremely badly translated”.

According to Cup, this situation is getting worse with each passing year and politicians and institutions in Pristina are not interested in informing citizens who do not speak the language of the majority. This policy also has clear consequences:

The media outlets reporting in the Serbian language are slowly turning to only reporting on events from their community, which is not good and does not lead to integration or toward building a democratic and multiethnic society – as the situation here aims to be presented

Journalists and spinners

The Kosovo media scene is no stranger to categorizing journalists by political affiliations. Therefore, in addition to the fact that Serb journalists are „unimportant“, journalists can also be perceived as „political opponents“.

Politicians or representatives of institutions often perceive journalists as their political opponents. If a journalist dares to ask something that a politician does not like or that he thinks the general public should not know, then he automatically classifies the journalist as being on the opposite side

According to Cup, such behavior by the politicians is also enabled by a part of the media, and it is possible to conclude „on whose side these media outlets are on“ based on the way they ask questions.

It is also worrying that politics is involved in founding the media, she warned.

„There are journalists who can barely make ends meet, they try to be realistic, to inform their readers on time and professionally, and they receive some minimal compensation, or they live from one project to another. And then there are also those others who spin news and information and they are paid a lot to do it,“ concluded Cup.

The KoSSev portal, in cooperation with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, launched a media literacy campaign. See what other journalists have had to say in the previous episodes of “OpisMEDIJavanje”:

OpisMEDIJavanje: Minority media in Kosovo are important but financially vulnerable

OpisMEDIJavanje: Even-steven, only in the interest of truth

OpisMEDIJavanje – A guide to the news you release into your world!

OpisMEDIJavanje: Fake news often lurks in headlines

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