Life in Kosovo Discusses Human Rights

This Friday the “Life in Kosovo” show will analyse what people in Kosovo understand by human rights.

Who are the defenders of human rights in Kosovo? What kind of work do they do, and how do institutions deal with this issue? Who are the main victims of discrimination in Kosovo and why?

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If human rights are violated – to whom can citizens address their problems and complaints about them? Why did Kosovars lose their high sense of humanity and solidarity after the war? What do we do as a society in order to help the victims of heavy human rights violations?

To discuss these issues we will have the following panel in the studio:
Hilmi Jashari – Ombudsman of Kosovo;
Hina Jilani- Special Representative of the United Nations for Human Rights defenders
Sarah Maliqi – Director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR);
Behxhet Shala – from the Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms;
Habit Hajredini – Official for good governance and human rights within the Kosovo government
Afrim Caka – former prisoner of Dubrava prison

The “Life in Kosovo” show is a co-production of the public service radio television of Kosovo, RTK, and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. It is broadcast every Friday, beginning at 20:15.

Roma Journalist Training in Belgrade

BIRN Serbia is to train eight Roma journalists from all over Serbia, September 27-29. The training will be followed by publication of a special edition dedicated to key political, economic, and social issues of importance to the Roma community in Serbia.

Since the beginning of the inter-governmental “Decade of Roma Inclusion” programme in 2005, a number of measures have been taken to improve conditions for this disadvantaged community. But there is much more to be done before the current patterns are changed. Frequent attacks on Roma people and their settlements, exclusion from society, the huge obstacles in the way of breaking the cycle of poverty and ways of overcoming cultural barriers will be some of topics that we will tackle.
“Roma media are important, because they influence the emancipation of the Roma, the development of their culture and traditions. Roma media also play a very important role in the development of inter-ethnic relations between Roma and other nations”, said Orhan Galjus, journalist from Amsterdam and activist at the “Media and minorities in SEE” conference.
Galjus will be a guest trainer at the Belgrade event.
The trainees’ reports will be published in English, Serbian and Roma languages early November.
These training and publishing activities will be implemented under the framework of the “Minority Media Training and Reporting Project”, supported by the British Embassy in Belgrade and the OSCE mission in Serbia.

Life in Kosovo receives over 100 calls while on air

The Life in Kosovo TV debate, which is a co-production of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – BIRN and Kosovo’s public broadcaster, RTK increased once again its audience ratings during a live broadcast on Friday.

Last Friday’s show discussed whether the forthcoming electoral campaign and the election process are having a negative impact on the process of determining Kosovo’s long-term status. The programme asked if political parties and leaders have started to concentrate more on the elections at the expense of the status issue.

Panellists in the studio to discuss these and other election-related issues were prominent candidates standing for election: Genc Gorani, from the reformist party ORA, Edita Tahiri, from the Democratic Alternative of Kosovo, Ali Lajci, from the Democratic League of Kosovo, Bujar Dugolli from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo. They were joined by Shpend Ahmeti a civil society activist.

During the live broadcast of the TV debate, moderated by BIRN Kosovo director Jeta Xharra, the audience had a chance to address their questions to the panel through a call centre. The show received over 100 calls, with some of the best among them put to the panel during the broadcast.

Life in Kosovo is a weekly current affairs program with the highest audience ratings for current affairs programmes in Kosovo after the evening news. The program is transmitted prime time on RTK, and is the only Kosovo TV programme that is re-transmitted in Serbia, on B92 TV – valued for its credibility, fairness and unbiased treatment of its topics.

Xharra interviewed international diplomats regarding Kosovo’s status during the last 12 months including Javier Solana, Nicholas Burns, Frank Wisner, Richard Holbrooke, Madeleine Albright and other prominent regional and Kosovan politicians have also been interviewed.

BBC Journalist Joins BIRN as Editor of Balkan Insight

Gabriel Partos, the BBC’s South-east Europe analyst, joined BIRN this week as full time Editor of Balkan Insight.

Partos has been reporting and analysing developments in the Balkans and central Europe since 1986.

“I am looking forward to joining the talented BIRN team”, Partos says, “particularly at a time when Balkan Insight is broadening and deepening its coverage with more news stories, more business reporting and more life-style material.”

While at the BBC World Service, Partos worked in the Newsroom, ran its Current Affairs & Information Section and headed its Albanian Service.

However, he spent most of his time focusing on the changing face of the Balkans and central Europe – a subject on which he has contributed articles to a number of newspapers, specialist publications and web sites, including The Guardian, The Independent, and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

He is the author of an interview-based history of the Cold War.

In addition to his editorial duties, which he formally takes up on 15 September, Partos will be working also as a member of BIRN’s training team.

Norway Continues to Support BIRN’s Justice Report

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to support BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Justice Report publication through to the end of 2008 after a new agreement was signed in August.

The agreement extends Norway’s support for BIRN’s highly-praised project for the next 18 months.

Justice Report has become a leading source of information in the local and English languages on war crimes trials before domestic courts and on the region’s struggle to deal with its past.

To subscribe to Justice Report or find out more about this project, please visit or write to BIRN BiH director, Nerma Jelacic at [email protected]

Justice Report to Expand its Radio Production

BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina’s quest to expand the reach of Justice Report to rural and diaspora communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina received support in September from the OSCE mission in Sarajevo

An agreement between BIRN BiH and OSCE has secured funding for the production of a series of eight radio programmes covering the issue of war crimes justice and transitional justice before lower-level judicial institutions.

This will expand BIRN BiH’s current presence on the radio-waves of Bosnia and Herzegovina which previously consisted of brief reports about the trials taking place before the state Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The programmes to be recorded September through to December will be aired on partner stations at the beginning of 2008.

To find out more about this project or to subscribe to Justice Report, please visit or write to BIRN BiH director Nerma Jelacic at [email protected]

Life in Kosovo recalls World Trade Center attacks on 9/11

This Friday the Life in Kosovo show presents a TV documentary special filmed in New York about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001.

The Life in Kosovo show travelled to New York in order to reveal the different stories and reflections of the city’s inhabitants about the day of the devastating attacks and their aftermath.

How did Americans feel on the day of the attack on the Twin Towers? What consequences did these attacks have for US society? What do they think of the ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and how do New Yorkers perceive Muslims after the 9/11 attacks?

The Life in Kosovo show is a co-production of BIRN and Kosovo’s public television, RTK. It is broadcast on RTK every Friday, starting at 20:15.

BIRN Project in Albania Underway

BIRN announces the extension of its network to Albania, thanks to the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy. BIRN’s project, which will run from September 2007 until July 2008, will consist of investigative journalism training and publication.

With this grant, the Network will strengthen the capacity of journalists in Albania to produce high quality reports on key issues in the country and the region. BIRN will also be able to help expand the reach and impact of local reporting on important issues affecting citizens in Albania. The project will consist of training and mentoring activities, thus offering Albanian journalists the opportunity to become familiar with and adopt the established international reporting standards. The project aims to train a group of journalists who will produce insightful and analytical stories of high quality for BIRN’s online regional news magazine, Balkan Insight.

Besar Likmeta will be editor and project manager for Albania. He can be directly contacted at [email protected]

Life in Kosovo Returns to Discussion of Education Quality

This Friday, the television show “Life in Kosovo” gets back to a discussion on the quality of education in Kosovo.

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Key points to be elaborated during the debates are: What is offered by university education in Kosovo? Is the quality of studies better in the University of Pristina or in recently established private universities? What are the values, advantages and disadvantages of university education in Kosovo? Is Kosovo producing enough educated people able to compete with graduates in the region and across Europe? To whom are the private universities accountable for the quality of studies?

Studio panelist discussing these issues and more are:

Luan Ahma – vice rector for academic issues in the University of Pristina; Lindita Tahiri – professor at the University of Pristina; Leon Malazogu – from the Kosova Institute for Policy Research and Development, KIPRED; Ismet Gashi – owner of the private Dardania University Basri Muja – former professor at Dardania University; Edmond Hajrizi – owner of UBT, University for Business and Technology; Salal Ahmetxhekaj – owner of FAMA University Mexhait Reci – owner of Iliria University

“Life in Kosovo” is a co-production of RTK and Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN Kosovo, and is broadcast every Friday beginning at 20:15.

Life in Kosovo Talks About Sexual Education

This Friday the Life in Kosovo show will focus on sexual education.

How much are young people and adults informed about contraception and unwanted pregnancies? Do they know how to use contraceptives? Is sexual education needed as a part of the curriculum in Kosovo’s schools, as in western countries? If so, in which grade? Or are we still ashamed to talk about sex in our homes and schools?

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Jeta Xharra’s guests for this show are:

Sueda Hoxha – Gynaecologist and chief of the maternity room in the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo;
Ramush Lekaj – Official from the Ministry of Education, who is in charge of primary and secondary school curriculum;
Linda Gucia – Sociologist,
Besfort Krasniqi – Activist in the NGO “Fisniket” from Prizren;
Lura Limani – Activist and student, who just finished the “Sami Frasheri” high school in Pristina.

The “Life in Kosovo” TV debate, is a cooperation between the public television of Kosovo RTK and Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN and is broadcasted every Friday at 20:15.