Life in Kosovo Discusses Refugee Returns

The upcoming edition of BIRN’s Life in Kosovo TV show on March 23 will look at the return of refugees and displaced persons to the territory.


Large amounts of money have been spent on the returns process, which has engaged not only Kosovo’s government, but other local and international organisations as well.

Are people really returning in Kosovo? What are their expectations and what do they indeed find when theycome home? And who should be held responsible for securing the conditions for returns?

These are some of the points to be discussed during the debate between:

Nazmi Fejza, deputy minister for returns; Valdete Idrizi from the “Development of Communities” organisation in Mitrovica;
Hasim Uka, a returnee from the village Kashtanjeva, Shterpce municipality;
Dragana Gërciq, a returnee from Kosh village, Peja municipality; and
Nazmi Mikullovci, a Mitrovica local unable to access his property in the north part of the city.

Following the debate, BIRN will show a short documentary by Birol Urcan, which features the return of the Uka and Gercic families to their homes.

Life in Kosovo will be broadcast at its regular prime time of 20:30.

New BIRN Coordinator Appointed in Croatia

Goran Jungvirth has joined BIRN as coordinator for its editorial
activities in Croatia. He is currently editor of
the business programme Novac on Croatia’s Nova TV, and
has previously covered war crimes trials in The Hague as well as domestic
politics for various Croatian and international media.

He will
assist BIRN Croatia editor Anna McTaggart in building
an investigative team in Croatia, as she takes over management
of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic

For more
information on BIRN’s activities in
Croatia, email [email protected] or [email protected].


BIRN to Run New Balkan Journalism Fellowship

A new fellowship programme for young journalists in the Balkans was launched on 19 March 2007, giving ten reporters annually the chance to research in-depth articles for a special publication. The Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence is an initiative of the the Robert Bosch Stiftung and ERSTE Foundation, which will be run in cooperation with BIRN.

Journalists under the age of 35 from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania or Serbia, are encouraged to submit research proposals on this year’s theme – MOBILITY.

Successful applicants will participate in the fellowship programme, which features an introductory seminar in Vienna, supervision and mentoring from local editors, individual research trips to another country of the region and the EU, and a concluding seminar and award ceremony in Berlin.

They will receive a fellowship of 2000 Euros and a travel allowance of up to 2000 Euros, while the programme’s selection committee, composed of local and European journalists and experts, will award one fellow with an individually-tailored opportunity for further professional development, to the value of 8000 euros.

Fellows’ reports will be published at the end of the year in all local languages, English and German.

Applications must be received no later than 27 April 2007. For more information, application forms and guidelines, go to or contact Fellowship Programme Manager Anna McTaggart on [email protected].

Life in Kosovo Debates Visa Issues

On 9 March 2007, BIRN’s televised debate show will address the issue of visas and the numerous difficulties Kosovars have when seeking to travel abroad.

Life in Kosovo will look at the extent to which citizens are informed about procedures for obtaining visas, what diplomatic offices in Pristina offer, whether the territory is to be covered by visa liberalisation policies and who should negotiate for concessions in this regard.

Panelists in the debate will include: Yvana Enzler, head of the Swiss liaison office in Pristina;
Bernd Kuebart, deputy chief of the German office in Pristina;
Nikolay Kolev, head of the Bulgarian office in Pristina; Dardan Velija, advisor to the Kosovo Prime Minister;
Fatmir Curri, of the Kosovo Open Society Foundation and
Fehmi Hajra from the New European Federalists organisation, JEF.

This edition of Life in Kosovo will be broadcast in its regular prime time slot of 20.30 on RTK.

Life in Kosovo Debates Electricity

The Life in Kosovo show this Friday, 02 March, will discuss electricity in Kosovo, with a particular focus on the new power plant Thermo Central Kosova.

The plant, which has been commissioned by the ministry of energy and mines, has provoked a range of reactions from civil society, environmentalists and some opposition parties.

Life in Kosovo will feature supporters and opponents of project, in what is expected to be a lively debate.

The panelists in the studio will be: Agron Dida, deputy minister for energy and mines; Ardian Gjini, minister of environment and spatial planning; Bajrush Xhemajli, from Democratic Party of
Kosovo’s department of energy; Luan Shllaku, representative of civil society and an expert on environmental issues; Daut Maloku, Green Party of Kosovo; and Mehmet Krasniqi, member of the Kastriot municipal assembly.

The debate will be broadcast at its regular prime time slot, 20:30.

Life in Kosovo debates wave of plagiarism

BIRN’s Life in Kosovo television show, in its 23 February edition, will look at how key texts published by Kosovo academics and scholars plagiarise others’ work.

With recent cases exposing how medical professors published books passing off the work of foreign authors as their own, the debate will also address more general concerns about the quality of studies at the Public University of Pristina.

Panelists include: Avdullah Hoti, advisor to the Minister of Education and economics professor; Dr Ejup Pllana, head of the Department for Internal Medicine; Enver Hoxhaj, head of the Parliamentary Commission for Education and Pristina university professor; Adem Beha, member of the Political Science Students’ Association; Gazmend Gashi, medical student; and Arben Hyseni, journalist from the daily newspaper “Express”.

The debate will be broadcast in its regular prime time slot, 20:30.

Murder of Dusko Kondor condemned

BIRN condemns the brutal murder of Dusko Kondor, a Human Rights activist from Republika Srpska, and extends its sympathies to Mr. Kondor’s family and friends, as well as colleagues from the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska.

We hope that the authorities of Republika Srpska will act promptly and process those responsible for this crime, thereby sending a message to all those who do not believe in universality of human rights.

Life in Kosovo Discusses Latest Protest

This week’s show on Friday, February 16, features analysis and comment on developments since the February 10 protest in Pristina.

Two people died and over 80 were injured in the violent protest against the UN proposal for Kosovo’s final status organised by the Vetevendosje (self-determination) movement.

The show starts with exclusive footage of the protest followed by comment from panelists in the studio.
The discussion panel will consist of:

Naim Maloku, head of the security commission in the Kosovo assembly Ulpiana Lama, spokesman of the Kosovo government and political advisor to the prime minister; Visar Ymeri, Vetëvendosje movement activist; Veton Elshani, spokesman of the Kosovo Police Service, KPS; Nuredin Ibishi, former KPS officer and expert on policy issues; Berat Buxhala, editor-in-chief of the Kosovar daily newspaper Express;

Life in Kosovo will be broadcast at its regular prime time of 20:30.

BIRN Kosovo journalaists appear widely in international media

BIRN Kosovo staff made a number of regional and international media appearances in the last few weeks, in conjunction with the coming out of the plan for Kosovo’s final status.

BIRN Kosovo Country Director Jeta Xharra was interviewed by the Polish daily newspaper Republika, the France 24 news channel and the Aljazeera TV Station about the situation in Kosovo before UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari presented his proposal for Kosovo’s final status and possible reactions to it.

After the introduction of the plan, Xharra commented on reactions to the plan in an interview for Austrian national radio FM4.

BIRN Kosovo Editor Krenar Gashi was interviewed about Kosovo’s final status by the online publication Bulgarian Post. In addition, French daily newspaper La Croix questioned Gashi on the Kosovo media’s coverage of the Serbian elections.

BIRN Bosnia to train journalists in Uganda

BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina will hold a week long training seminar for 16 journalists from Uganda at the end of February.

Journalists from this African country will be tought about the work of the International Criminal Court and how to report on upcoming trials there.

The training – to be held in Kampala February 26 to March 2, 2007 – will bring together representatives of the ICC prosecution and registry, Human Rights Watch officials, Coalition for the ICC activists and leading trainers in court reporting, to seek ways of improving coverage of the ICC in the country.

The project is sponsored by UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.