Improving relations Online and Offline – Kosovo 2.0

Kosovo 2.0

Kosovo 2.0 is a media organization offering feature analysis and commentary of current socio-political events and developments with the aim of triggering reform and critical debate, both in Kosovo and abroad. Through various media approaches, Kosovo 2.0 aims at giving a voice to the country’s silenced, disenfranchised majority: young people. Kosovo 2.0 consists of: an online platform, which in a self-sustaining way, features daily blogs, videos, photo reports and pod-casts. Subsequently, Kosovo 2.0 releases a high quality magazine two times a year, each issue having a different designated theme with a high sociocultural significance in Kosovo and abroad. Each significant content-release, being online or on paper, is connected to offline activities, such as workshops, screenings, debates and concerts, directed mainly at young people (aged 18 to 35 years old) throughout Kosovo.

Through this project, Kosovo 2.0 will, in cooperation with the Belgrade-based Policy Centre, implement the following project activities:

  1. Producing articles on Kosovo – Serbia relations from the angle of existing level of violence and discrimination in the two societies and possibilities for overcoming legacy of the past in such circumstances and establishing honest regional cooperation and neighborly relations. The researchers from Belgrade will interview relevant Serbian politicians, intellectuals, human rights defenders and civil society activists, state representatives, well-known figures from the cultural domain, University professors and journalists. Policy Centre will prepare logistics and broker interviews with targeted interviewees. Simultaneously, Kosovo 2.0 will conduct interviews with persons from Kosovo, with similar backgrounds and prepare comparative articles that will be published. All of the published articles will be widely promoted trough Kosovo 2.0 and Policy Centre’s web portals and connected social networks, but also through regular communication with media, through press conferences. A total of around 5-8 in depth articles will be published on the website of both Kosovo 2.0 and Policy Center.
  1. Kosovo 2.0 and Policy Centre will hire an expert that will conduct a research in Serbia and in Kosovo on media reporting on relations between the two countries. The expert will provide and analysis of the current influence of media on boosting hostility and violence in the two societies, most often resulting in increased hatred between Serbs and Albanians. The media are highly responsible for re-establishing connections and building sustainable peace in the region after the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, the media, both in Serbia and in Kosovo, are not prepared to work towards those goals; instead, they still seem to be lost in ethnic stereotypes, nationalism, hatred and/or simply ignorant silence. The media in Serbia spread hate speech, publish lies, misinterpret facts and ignore events. Most of them, even including those that are perceived as more liberal, stick to carrying prejudices about Kosovo, not allowing any information about positive developments in Kosovo society to penetrate into the Serbian public and media reality. Such behavior supports the political consensus in Serbia that there is no progress in Kosovo and that Kosovo is still not ready for independence. Through such an approach, future generations will be burdened with heavy concerns over “sacred Serbian land”, or “land imbued with blood”. The Kosovo media is characterized by silence. Most of them pay no attention to the situation in which minorities live. Stories about enclaves paint a picture in bright colours and nobody seems to care about essential problems. For Kosovo’s media, the problems of Kosovo Serbs are as important as any communal problem. The concrete product of this project will be analysis of media reporting on “the other side” and its repercussions to relations between the two societies. The analysis, presented in forms of articles, along with the reports from the public discussions that will be organised within the project (explained below) will be widely promote by the Kosovo 2.0 and Policy Centre.
  1. Two round tables will be organised within this project. The round table discussions will tackle the two issues that will be investigated through this project, both related to Kosovo-Serbia relations – 1) level of violence and discrimination in both societies (based on conducted interviews) and 2) media reporting and consequences of such reporting on Kosovo – Serbia relations (based on expert’s findings). Participants of both round table discussions will be civil society activists, journalists, representatives of relevant state institutions and representatives of international community. Media will be invited to report form these round table discussions.

The results excepted from the project are as follows:

Kosovo 2.0 will use a comprehensive, results-oriented monitoring and evaluation methodology that will enable partners to demonstrate project results; identify and address concerns in a proactive and timely fashion; and share information with participants so they see the results of what they are doing.

The project evaluation will include monitoring of project implementation, analysis and evaluation of procedures and results. This form of evaluation will be conducted for the purpose of securing effective completion of project tasks and as such is aimed at ensuring the work transparency, recognition and timely resolution of all possible problems, the introduction of necessary variations and amendments of initially planned program.

Project Coordinator (Online managing Editor) will be in charge of constant internal evaluation, from the beginning until the final phase of the project. Meetings, where issues of internal evaluation will be discussed, will be held weekly. These meetings will aim at resolving possible unforeseen problems, as well as maintaining or improving the quality of implemented activities. Meeting minutes will be presented upon the completion of the project, unless otherwise requested by the donor.

Sustainability, target audience and the promotion of the service:

Kosovo 2.0 is dealing with issues tackled by this project over the years. Organizational strategic plan define that organization will cover these topics in the future, develop on-line services and communication and provide tools for young people to build new relations in the region. The whole organization is dedicated to the goals of the project and that is one of the best models for making results sustainable. Kosovo 2.0 has a wide on-line public in Kosovo as well in whole region. The numbers of web site visitors and contributors are constantly growing. The main target audience is exactly the same as Kosovo 2.0 primary target groups – young people in Kosovo and region. Kosovo 2.0 and Policy Centre will secure the high visibility of all project activities through existing channels of communications as well as through designed promotional activities which are part of the project.

To conclude with, we have generations of young people uninterested in what is happening in their society, political changes that influence their daily life directly, young people unaware of personal responsibility and their importance in the process of democratization of the society in which they are living in. Both Serbia and Kosovo today are at an important crossroads in the consolidation of their democratic system. During the last thirteen years of democratic ruling after the Milosevic regime and 15 years since Kosovo’s independence, the two societies managed to create institutional frameworks that structurally resemble contemporary democratic models, but the real-life practice has demonstrated a great disregard for the rule of law. The high level of unacceptability from public institutions, starting from the highest political levels and all the way down to the civil service, has seriously fractured civic trust in the democratic system. The citizens (especially youth, as mentioned above) lack capacities to critically asses the social and political reality surrounding it and is therefore more prone to adhere to dogmatic and ready-made narratives from the older generations than to directly engage in changing the existing reality. This results in very high number of incidents of violence.  Kosovo 2.0 is dedicated to mainstreaming non-discrimination, gender equality, diversity, non-violent communication into education curriculum and teaching tools, employment environments, health centers/institutions and mass-media. This project will try to contribute to these strategic goals of the organization.

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