CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND RECONCILIATION IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE

Albanian-Serb Information Exchange Forum (2005)

Overview:

In 2005, the CDRSEE, in cooperation with the Beta Media Center in Belgrade and the KosovaLive Agency in Pristina, established an internet news forum with the aim of providing high quality, independent and unbiased news about Kosovo, for Kosovo and the diaspora, produced by journalists from all of the communities in Kosovo. The news forum and website carried the same information in three languages simultaneously- Albanian, Serbian an  English and created a space for both  journalists and the public to exchange news information, state their opinions, and discuss critical issues. The project’s objective was to strengthen and promote dialogue among the Albanian and Serbian societies/communities. 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 was the main local provider of daily news from Pristina and Kosovo in both Albanian and English, with a focus on grass roots issues of everyday life.  It was established as an unaffiliated nonprofit NGO and supported by contributions from a consortium of donors. In addition to its provision of news directly to the public,   KosovaLive also provided a subscription  service to the media and other organisations. The first category includes print and broadcasters, among them the most relevant local radio stations in towns throughout Kosovo, for most of whom KosovaLive is the main source of information. The other category includes local and international governmental and non-governmental institutions/organisations.

Beta Media Center: Beta Media Center is the -non- 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 is responsible for  the agency's non-commercial activities, which aim to raise 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.

 

Objectives

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.  The re-establishment of direct information exchange channels between Albanians and Serbians was crucial and in 2005 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 the 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.