A new report by BIRN Serbia and Internews Kosova says the media need to uphold standards when reporting on Kosovo-Serbia relations – and not just rely on politicians as sources.
Media from Kosovo and Serbia only partially uphold standards when reporting on relations between the two countries, a new report from BIRN Serbia and Internews Kosova has concluded.
The report, “Media Reporting on Serbia and Kosovo Relations: Conflict or Cooperation”, published on Friday found out that about a third of media stories are related to “incidents”, while the others are dedicated to diplomatic negotiations and policy efforts.
“Mainstream media fail to let all sides be heard. Sources are limited, the majority of them are high-level officials promoting their own agendas. Potentials for cooperation are also rarely visible through reporting. Direct quotes of Albanian in Serbian media and vice versa are rarely heard,” it says.
Tanja Maksic, from BIRN Serbia, said that during the reporting period, the media intensively reported on Kosovo-Serbia issues. “In the seven media alone that we have selected, we found around 50 news articles produced every day, most of them short news,” Maksic said.
Kreshnik Gashi from Internews Kosova said media reporting is too much focused on transmitting politicians’ statements.
“Politicians continue to be the main source of information for media and this is problematic. Journalist should have filters when they decide to transmit their statements … their statements should go through checks,” Gashi said.
The report says the perspectives and lives of ordinary people on the ground are rarely presented, not only in terms of dealing with everyday problems caused by unresolved political situations but also in terms of potential for mutual cooperation.
“Although not many breaches of journalistic ethics were mapped by this research, we could identify some narratives and strategies that derive from different editorial policies and hamper the objectiveness of reporting,” it added.
The report urges media and journalists to expand the base of their sources, give “others” chance to voice their opinions and highlight topics that also emphasize cooperation and peace-building.
It also suggests that governments and decision-makers should be held accountable and their policies questioned, including the ones on mutual relations.
The report concludes that times of crisis again emphasize the importance of robust media systems that nourish independent and professional media outlets.
“The media plays a crucial role in disseminating timely and accurate information during crises. It helps the public understand the situation, potential risks, and government responses. It also holds governments and crisis actors accountable for their actions,” it says.
Source: Balkan Insight