BIRN Stories on Multiethnic Coexistence in Kosovo Awarded

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Four BIRN articles won awards on Thursday in a ceremony held simultaneously in Pristina and Belgrade by the Peaceful Change Initiative in a competition showcasing stories about multiethnic coexistence in Kosovo and Serbia.

Journalists Serbeze Haxhiaj and Milica Stojanovic won First Prize with their article as part of Solidarity Stories, “Serb Monastery Shelters Kosovo Albanians”, which tells how a Serbian Orthodox Monastery provided shelter for Albanian civilians during the 1998-99 war in Kosovo.

Part of the First Prize was also the story by Serbeze Haxhiaj, “Serb Saves Albanian Neighbours in Kosovo”, published on November 9, 2002, which tells about a Kosovo Serb who protected his Albanian neighbours from Serbian police during the tough times of spring 1999. The article was also part of the series of Solidarity Stories which Balkan Insight published last year.

“These two articles address a taboo, a topic which is very rarely seen in our media …These two articles show that there were positive examples [of behaviour] that need to be highlighted,” Ismet Hajdari, a member of the jury and Kosovo journalist, said explaining the jury’s decision.

Another article published by BIRN Kosovo’s, “Coexistence between Serb and Albanian Youth”, authored by Bubulina Peni and Ardona Popova, was awarded Second Prize. The article is about young Albanians from South Serbia and Serbs from Kosovo and discrimination they face in their lives.

Shkelqim Xhaqkaj’s story, “At a Village Market, Kosovo’s Ethnic Tensions Fade Away”, published on February 14, 2022, won Third Prize. The story concerns a popular food market near Gjilan/Gnjilane, where Serbs and Albanians trade together without caring who comes from which community.

The goal of the Peaceful Change Initiative’s Media Award was to promote and reward media content from Kosovo and Serbia that explore themes of co-existence between communities. It rewards outstanding media content that explores multi-ethnic co-existence.