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Media as a Means for Dialogue: Journalist Exchange – Kosovo-Serbia

The project addresses the normalization of relations between the countries, while deepening the understanding between two societies deeply distrustful of one another.  It was envisioned as a project that breaks down stereotypes and deep misconceptions between citizens.

Results: The participating journalists from 8 major print and broadcast outlets, and journalists/cameramen both from Kosovo and Serbia were placed for a period of one week in host media outlets on the other side of the border.

Apart from building more lasting relations between journalists and outlets, the exchange was a unique opportunity for participants to gain more insight on the realities in the respective countries, and promote coverage of stories that are going underreported.

In the years following the Kosovo conflict in 1999 and even following the April 2013 dialogue agreement, reporting by Kosovar media about Serbia, and vice-versa, has been limited to strictly political themes, almost exclusively focused on status negotiations, conflict, and ethnic tensions. There has been scant coverage about the everyday struggles of average citizens in both countries, particularly regarding the issues that matter most, including challenges in education, health care, and economic growth.

The Media as a Means for Dialogue (MMD) breaks down barriers of communication and mistrust between everyday citizens in Kosovo and Serbia. The program also seeks to build lasting relations between talented journalists and outlets, that should make it easier for media agencies in both countries to collaborate in the future.

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