OpisMEDIJavanje: Only media close to the government in Belgrade can reach Kosovo Serb politicians

Although there are journalists who regularly report from Serb communities, in Kosovo, multi-ethnicity is mostly talked about only when it is part of a project, Klan TV journalist, Besnik Tahiri said.

For the few media workers from the majority community who report from Serbian communities, however, security is a big problem, but so are the stereotypes they face.
In the latest episode of the media literacy campaign “OpisMEDIJavanje,” Besnik Tahiri, a Kosovo Albanian reporter who covers all major events in Kosovo Serb communities, spoke about the problems he faces when reporting on the problems of the Serb community.

When the Serbian community is reported about in Albanian-language media, it is mostly related to security and political events, while ordinary problems of citizens, such as urban planning, are disregarded. The reason behind this is limited access of the journalists from the majority community, but also stereotypes, Tahiri explained.

„When an Albanian journalist goes to a municipality with a Serb majority, then people look at him differently and take a different approach toward him. For example, when they notice that the journalist speaks Serbian, they started asking questions that are full of prejudice. That is also my case. They ask: Why do you speak Serbian? You are part of the younger generation, how is it possible that you speak our language?“

On the other hand, an obstacle in reporting is not only the limited access of journalists from the majority community, as Albanian-language media are also not easily accessible to the Serb community.

„Serbs in Kosovo do not follow the domestic media, so that is one big obstacle. Serbs are mainly informed through the media outlets from Serbia, which in most cases, do not represent the real situation in Kosovo. Serb media have a lot of prejudices, but also a large number of false news regarding the coexistence between Albanians as a majority and Serbs as a minority in Kosovo,“ he said.

Tahiri warned that the safety of Albanian journalists in Serb-majority areas is jeopardized; adding that he had been threatened several times, which did not prevent him from continuing to report on people’s problems.

 „Due to the entire situation, I believe that we should always give the other side a chance, ordinary people, to hear out what they have to say about this situation, and not stop at what politicians in Pristina or Belgrade can tell us.“

In addition to the inaccessibility of community itself, Serb politicians in Kosovo institutions are also inaccessible to Albanian-language media, Tahiri said, adding that he is aware that the situation is the same for Serbian-language media, except for those media outlets that are „close to the government in Belgrade.”

„Reporting on the political life of Kosovo Serbs is very difficult. Politicians representing them in the Assembly of Kosovo are not always ready to talk to journalists and are very often unavailable. They rarely agree to give an interview to the media reporting in the Albanian language. I also know that the media in the Serbian language face the same challenge. But the media that are closer to the government in Belgrade do not have that problem, they can always get statements from those politicians“


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