Prospects for Journalism Education in Kosovo: Democracy and identity in a 'post-conflict' risk society

Warwick Blood, John Tulloch

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


    This paper examines prospects for journalism education and training within the context of the media’s role in democratization and identity in Kosovo – a ‘post conflict’ risk society. Research has investigated how European and US media reported and portrayed the US led NATO bombing during the Kosovo crisis of March-June 1999 but, in the wake of the crisis, the role of Kosovar journalists and their everyday experiences is much understudied. What role do journalists see themselves playing in contemporary society and democratization? And, what are the implications for the future of journalism? The paper traces the social context in which journalists work. Of critical importance is the devastating 16-17 March 2004 riot. Major violence erupted after three young Albanian Kosovar children were drowned trying to swim across the river Ibar near the divided city of Mitrovica. The only surviving boy told television reporters that hostile Serb men’s dog had chased them into the water. This event followed earlier tensions surrounding the shooting of a Kosovo Serb youth. Nineteen people died, nearly 900 people were injured, about 4,500 people were displaced, and homes, public buildings, churches and monasteries were destroyed or damaged. Mobs of up to 50,000 people – many of them school and universityage students – were reported looting Serb homes, burning Serb churches and attacking UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo) vehicles. UNMIK and KFOR (NATO-led peacekeeping forces) were caught unprepared. Kosovo is currently crippled by lack of national status under UN protection. UNMIK’s official policy of ‘standards before status’ insists that Kosovo meets a series of ‘standards’ (including functioning democratic institutions, rule of law, a developing economy, returns and reintegration of minorities, and property rights) before being ready for talks about its future ‘status’. Yet many Kosovars argue that without ‘status’ key ‘standards’, such as an improved economy, passport control, international banking and development lending, insurance, etc., cannot be met. About 60% to 70% of the population is officially unemployed with many families dependent on remittances from Europe. 30% of the GDP depends on the Diaspora. About 50% of the Kosovo population is under 20. Kosovo is economically dependent on the humiliating ‘black economy’ of Europe’s illegal immigration and forced returns. In the months before the March riots, UNMIK’s privatisation strategy stalled in the face of Serbian legal threats. The paper analyzes in-depth qualitative interviews with senior editors and journalists from Kosovo’s leading newspapers, and observations of key media stakeholders. How do newspaper journalists relate their perspectives, and day-to-day experiences, with official talk of Kosovo’s status? In some cases, these experiences span the years of communist media, the Milosevic period, and the new ‘post-conflict’ Kosovo. How do they view their responsibilities during the March 2004 riot? What is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ journalism in Kosovo today? And what are the implications of these observations for the future of journalism, and journalism training and education, including plans for the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communication, to be funded by the Norwegian government.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication2005 IAMCR Conference: Refereed Conference Proceedings: Professional Education Section
    EditorsBeate Josephi
    Place of PublicationUSA
    Number of pages21
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    EventInternational Association for Media & Communication Research - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
    Duration: 26 Jul 200528 Jul 2005


    ConferenceInternational Association for Media & Communication Research
    Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China


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