Media reporting on peace, conflict and security issues

A free and impartial media should be one of the pillars of a stable society. Media organisations have direct communication with a considerable portion of the population and are in a powerful position to support peace and security-related efforts. In a country like Kosovo, with a violent past, the media needs to pay special attention when covering emotionally charged issues, as failure to do so threatens to heighten tensions.

This study, ‘Media reporting on peace, conflict and security issues: How objective and conflict-sensitive is media coverage and reporting on these issues?’, examines the existing legal framework governing media and the perceptions of citizens on whether media outlets are sensitive or partisan in their reporting. Amongst other things, these perceptions are key in shaping people’s opinions and perceptions of Kosovar institutions. Currently, there are two regulatory bodies for press and broadcast media, but nothing for online media.

In recent months the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue has been prioritised in the media, and though the reporting is generally perceived to be impartial, there is a potential for inciting conflict if there is ambiguity and a perceived lack of objective reporting, particularly the use of conflict-insensitive language. This report concludes with suggestions for how media outlets could work towards more conflict sensitive news coverage.

This report was the result of joint work and collaboration between 11 organisations, including members of the Forum for Security in Pristina and Conflict Prevention Forum in the north, and through community dialogue meetings and desk research facilitated by FIQ and AKTIV.

This paper is available in English, Albanian and Serbian on the Saferworld website.

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2014

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