When journalists „guard“ the barricades, but guards are nowhere to be seen

novinari krst rudare barikade mediji

A barricade divided journalists from the Serbian and Albanian newsrooms in Rudare today – media crews reporting in Serbian on the Zvecan side and journalists from Albanian newsrooms on the other side. KFOR vehicles were also stationed at the site. None of the officials were present today, despite guarding the same barricades for the past three weeks, which were finally removed today. While some journalists believe that Srpska Lista officials belong at the barricades, others understand and justify their absence.

The barricade in Rudare near the cross installation at the site known as Veliko Rudare has been deserted since this morning. The cross in question was placed there during the barricades of 2011. The only things that remain are empty tents and a Christmas tree decorated in the colors of the Serbian flag. Employees were told last night not to come to the barricades.

Ivkovic from the barricades: SL should be here

Kontakt Plus radio journalist, Ana Marija Ivkovic, said that the leaders of SL were not present at the site of the barricades today to explain to the citizens what happened.

„What is noticeable today is that we expect the removal of the barricades, but we do not have representatives of SL here at the barricade itself, which was completely contrary to the previous days. I still think that they should be here. They should explain what happened to the citizens, what are the guarantees, and what it means,“ said Ivkovic.

She added that although the citizens are unwilling to speak in front of the cameras, behind the cameras – they complain of discontent.

„They speak very openly about the fact that in a way they feel very betrayed because, on the one hand, the barricades lasted for almost three weeks, the citizens felt threatened by the presence of special units, and on the other hand, they expected stronger guarantees and greater support in persevering at the barricades,“ she told KoSSev.

The possibility that the barricades will be removed was announced by the President of Serbia a few days ago. Last night, he confirmed that they will be dismantled in the next 48 hours.

The guarantees they received today are quite different from the original requests, Ivkovic also notes.

„Now they are talking about the Kosovo Security Forces, and the request actually concerned the presence of special units. Otherwise, the request that KSF cannot be deployed to the north has been around for ten years, and now they are giving it as a firm guarantee,“ she emphasizes.

Addressing the request concerning the ASM, Ivkovic said that although no one expected that it would be fulfilled, as some kind of guarantee, discussions on its formation could have been launched.

„Some requests were not met. Citizens were asked to come to the barricades. On the other hand, the citizens were afraid of what could await them in terms of the police and prosecution, so all this left a, I’m sure, bitter taste among the citizens,“ says the Kontakt Plus radio journalist.

Cup: I have an excuse why they are not here, it was said that these were citizens’ protests

On the other hand, the journalist of Euronews, Andjelka Cup, said that there is nothing strange in the fact that the journalists are at their workplaces – at the barricade and that she understands why no representatives of the authorities were present today.

„There is some logic in the fact that SL is not here because it was underlined the entire time that these were citizens’ protests, that the citizens organized themselves. I have some justification for why they are not there,“ she says.

According to Cup, someone should have still notified the media about the time of the removal of the barricade – „if it is not some kind of a secret“.

„It shouldn’t be a secret because everyone knows that the decision has already been made, and the citizens I spoke to are pretty divided,“ says Cup.

„Some say that it is a good thing that the barricades have been removed and that they hope that the situation will completely stabilize. Others are very revolted, they do not consider this a good move. Some even consider it a kind of betrayal. The reinstatement of barricades is expected soon, so the situation is very complex, and as a journalist who has been following the situation in Kosovo for a long time, I can only say that I am afraid that many problems remain, which will cause similar or even greater tensions.“

In her words, unresolved issues such as the ASM, elections, the withdrawal of Serbs from institutions, the arrest of Dejan Pantic, and all unresolved issues between Serbs and Albanians can jeopardize the coming days.

He surrendered everything and tired you out on the barricades – Why are you complaining now?

Journalist Branislav Krstic said: „He did all this to you, humiliated you, threatened and pressured you, blackmailed bandits, divided you… He ousted Serbian institutions from Kosovo and then shut down the implemented ones. He surrendered everything! Tired you out at the barricades. He lies that he believes in guarantees and swears by those he said he ‘does not trust’. He turned off your light and pulled down the blinds. Why are you now feeling betrayed and tricked and why do you complain? F**k Vucic!

Colleagues from Albanian newsrooms had no comment

We also reached out to our colleagues from the Albanian newsrooms on the other side of the barricade for comment. There were six such media teams, who, like us, were waiting for the barricades to be removed.

Most of them refused to comment on the atmosphere, stating that the editorial rules do not allow them to „speak for other media“.

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