CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND RECONCILIATION IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE

Albanian-Serb Information Exchange Forum

Overview:

In 2005, CDRSEE in cooperation with the Beta Media Center in Belgrade and the KosovaLive Agency in Pristina, established an internet news forum. Using three languages- Albanian, Serb, or English- journalists and common readers could exchange news information, state their opinions, and discuss critical issues. The project’s aim was to strengthen and promote dialogue among the Albanian and Serb societies. Furthermore, the project helped facilitate the availability of quality news and overcome detrimental stereotypes in the region.

Partners:

KosovaLive news agency: Since the end of 2000, when it was launched, KosovaLive has been the main local provider of daily news from Prishtina and Kosova with a focus on grass roots issues of everyday life in English and Albanian. It was established as an unaffiliated nonprofit NGO and supported by contributions from a consortium of donors. Starting 2001, KosovaLive provides a subscription paid service to media and organizations. The first category includes print and broadcasters, among them most relevant local radio stations in towns throughout Kosova, for most of which KosovaLive is the main source of information. The other category includes local and international governmental and non-governmental institutions/organizations.

Beta Media Center: Beta Media Center is the not-for-profit arm of BETA news agency, established in 2004. The Center's Council brings together a number of prominent public figures intent on strengthening the freedom and responsibility of the media in Southeastern Europe. The Beta Media Center has taken over the agency's non-commercial activities, which aim at raising public awareness of current affairs and, particularly, of contentious political, economic and social issues. The Beta news agency began operating in 1994 and has meanwhile grown into one of the leading news agencies of the Western Balkans. For more information on Beta visit www.beta.rs

 

The project was made possible by the kind support of UNESCO, OSCE Belgrade, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Three project partners - the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe (CDRSEE) in Thessaloniki, the Beta Media Center in Belgrade and KosovaLive agency in Pristina jointly established an internet based, interactive news resource called, The Albanian-Serb Information Forum. The Forum was locally owned and used three languages: Albanian, English and Serbian. The actions of the project consisted of creating an Internet Forum, providing a news service in three languages, conducting opinion polls, and convening two conferences for journalists. Re-establishing direct information exchange channels between Albanians and Serbs was crucial in the year 2005 and the Albanian-Serb Information Exchange Forum did just that.

Objectives

The overarching and long-term objective of this project was to broaden and strengthen the common ground between Serb and Albanian media and journalists as well as the respective societies at large. The idea was to help enhance a robust peace process between the two communities.

The specific project objectives were:

  • To facilitate and improve dialogue between Albanian and Serb journalists and media and their readers;
  • To combat stereotypes that Serbs and Albanians have of each other by providing informed and reliable news;

The above objectives were achieved through the following time-bound project aims:

  • To re-establish direct information channels between Albanians and Serbs;
  • To improve the quality and accuracy of the news in the Albanian and Serb communities in the region and in the diaspora;
  • To increase the availability to the public of good quality news on the other community;
  • To increase the communication and contacts between Albanian and Serb journalists;
  • To de-polarise the extreme views that Serbs and Albanians have of each other through conducting and publishing an opinion poll.