Peace Broadcasters Program Successfully Empowers Journalists as Peace Reporters in Kosovo*

(Pristina, 31st May 2023) – Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), in collaboration with Deutsche Welle (DW) and the Association of Kosovo Journalists (AJK), successfully completed the second cycle of the program “Peace Broadcasters: Empowering Journalists as Peace Reporters” in Kosovo.

The program gathered 20 journalists from different media and trained them in the topics of Transitional Journalism, Constructive Journalism, Fact-Checking and Fake News. Besides the training, young journalists had mentors from Deutsche Welle while working on stories addressing the above-mentioned topics.

Three best stories were awarded during the closing conference “Journalists as Catalysts of Peace Building in Post-Conflict Societies/Areas,” organized today in Pristina. Duo Butrint Avdyli and Albulena Mavraj won an award with their video story titles “Coexistence hotel”. Besian Beha was awarded for his story “The Hague: Visas make family visits difficult” and Mihane Hoxha for the article named “Meaningless visa regime between Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina”.

Head of the Local Branch Office in Pristina Krenare Gashi-Krasniqi inaugurated the conference and emphasized the vital role of journalism in promoting peace and understanding in society. She shared that the aim of the Peace Badcaster Program is to build a new generation of journalists who are aware of the role they play in promoting reconciliation in post-conflict societies, but also have sufficient capacity to exercise it in the best possible way.

“Journalists are indeed catalysts for peace and reconciliation in post-conflict societies by shedding light on untold stories, giving voice to marginalized perspectives, and fostering dialogue and understanding among diverse communities,” said Gashi-Krasniqi

Besides the awarding ceremony, two insightful panels were organized during the closing conference.

The first panel discussion “Behind the Headlines: Journalists’ Perspective on Reporting from Conflict Situations,” was skillfully moderated by Xhemajl Rexha, Chairperson of the Board of Associations of Journalists of Kosovo. Esteemed panelists were journalist at Klan Kosova Qëndresa Tërshani, journalist from Afghanistan Nadia Gulabzada and journalist from Ukraine Anastasiia Poia.

This panel consisted of journalists that have experience of reporting from conflict zones, hence they shared with the public personal experiences and overall perception of importance of the journalist role and hazards of such occupation. A special focus was in the great role of journalists on the feeling of safety they need to transmit to people watching/listening while reporting live.

Ms. Tërshani further explained that:

In such tense situations, it is not in our (journalists) place to confront protesters, nor to attack someone. We should do our best to work with these situations in a very calm manner. For example, just lately it happened that while having a live report and saying that protesters are calm, something happened just then that changed the whole narrative. It is important that journalists describe in such situations only ex what is happening, not to be biased and make conclusions.

The second panel “The Role of Journalists in Promoting Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict Societies,” was moderated by Vjosa Çerkini, a prominent journalist at Deutsche Welle. The panelists shed light on the institutional and media aspects of transitional justice, highlighting the crucial role journalists play in its promotion. Distinguished panelists were editor at BIRN Kreshnik Gashi, head of the Transitional Justice Division at the Ministry of Justice Baki Svirca, and editor at RTK Aleksandra T. Jovanovic.

They put an emphasis on the importance of transitional justice, and how journalists are one of the key factors that would help for this justice to be ensured. It was concluded that the region would benefit from putting more effort into working towards dealing with the past, peacebuilding and putting justice in place.

Mr. Gashi further explained stated:

All the challenges that we have discussed today, as a forum, must be addressed in the budget. Because at the end of the day, there has to be a decision of what the budget is going to be allocated for dealing with all the dimensions of transitional justice. Now, we are only at the stage of drafting the strategy, and lots of work awaits.

Program “Peace Broadcasters: Empowering Young Journalists as Peace Reporters” is implemented by the RYCO Local Branch Office in Kosovo in partnership with Deutsche Welle, and the Association of Journalists of Kosovo. The second cycle focused on strengthening and improving skills and knowledge on quality journalism standards in the field of intercultural dialogue, and transitional journalism in Kosovo, taking into account fact-checking and incorporating constructive journalism in their content, was organized from April 2022 until April 2023.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

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