Certain media have deliberately twisted the events of the late November in Kosovo. It’s about some foreign media that aim to disinform and spread propaganda against Kosovo. It’s some Serbian and Russian media, supported by official Moscow and Belgrade, while aiming to create a narrative that “the security situation in Kosovo is unstable” and that, allegedly, the Serb community and other non-Albanian communities are at risk.
Furthermore, their stories are aimed at creating a climate of hatred between Albanians in one side and Serb and other non-Albanian communities in the other. They also aim to strengthen the narrative of “instability of Kosovo’s statehood” and “Kosovo’s connection to extremism and terrorism” to use these narratives against Kosovo, in the process of its membership in international organizations and international recognitions.
It is not uncommon for tragic events and human lives to be used for propaganda and misinformation purposes. The last case was that of 26.11.2021, where someone shot a bus with passengers in Gllogjan, in which case the bus driver and two students were killed, and the perpetrator/s or possible motives have not been identified yet. Although this case was assessed by the Kosovo Police as not a terrorist act and had nothing to do with such a thing, Serbian and Russian media considered it a terrorist act and used this news for politicization of the case and propaganda against Kosovo.
Immediately after the incident, the Serbian media “Informer” presented the case with a misinformative headline as “It is revealed if there were Serbs on the attacked bus in Deçan”. This headline presents the open tendency to incite Serbian readers to speculate whether there may have been citizens of Serbian nationality on the attacked bus and consequently to incite hatred among Serbs, who might not have read the full article. The damage caused to Kosovo by this news doesn’t end here. Web browsers already have automatic translation into various languages around the world, and consequently such news for a foreign reader who does not know “Informer”‘s approach to Kosovo, may give him a completely wrong perception.
On 27.11.2021, the Serbian media “Kosovo-Online” known for spreading fake news, as was the case during the barricades in northern Kosovo, published several articles with misleading and tendentious headlines and content about the incident in Gllogjan. The article published by this media with the title “Shots on the bus shook Kosovo: Gllogjan was the KLA’s base, many weapons in the houses, the police were powerless”, presents the security situation in Kosovo is fragile and tries to link this incident with weapons used by the KLA during the war (1998-1999), as according to them, “It should not be forgotten that a large number of illegal weapons remained in the hands of civilians in the area of Gllogjan, because some of the most harsh battles happened there in 1998 and 1999. This narrative fits Serbian, but also the Russian narrative, towards Kosovo, who attack not only the KLA, but also NATO, which had intervened in 1999 with bombings to stop the humanitarian catastrophe.
Moreover, “Kosovo-Online” uses the tragic case to spread propaganda against the image of Kosovo, presenting Serbs as victims of the recent war. The article states that “In Gllogjan was also the headquarters of the former KLA commander, Ramush Haradinaj, as well as the camp for abducted Serbs and other non-Albanians. Lake Radoniq is also nearby, where KLA members killed at least 34 Serbs and Albanians in 1998.” While the article presents no evidence of “police impotence” that is a a part of the title.
On the same day, “Kosovo Online” published another article-interview with a person who is known for his pro-Serbian and Russian opinions against Kosovo, entitled “Galijasevic: The attack in Glogjan is a classic pre-state terrorism.” In this article, the so-called security expert, Dzevad Galijasevic, describes the incident in Glogjan as “terrorist” and Kosovo as a “source of terrorism and other serious crimes.” He also misinformed about the security situation in Kosovo, stating that “Kosovo is an open space for organized crime and that Kosovo would not exist if there is no organized crime, terrorism and drugs.”
While openly presenting the tendency to distort the security situation and “victimization of local Serbs, claiming that “Kosovo is a terrorist base that receives a large amount of weapons, mainly from Albania”, Galijasevic continues the well-known narrative of attack not only on Kosovo , but also Albanians in general, including the Republic of Albania.
His false statements such as, “This is systematically adapted to what happens in Kosovo every 10 or 15 days when it comes to violence against the Serb community”, in addition to not being true, are aimed at inciting hatred between communities in Kosovo and spreading panic to certain ethnic communities.
Another Kosovo-Online article of the same date entitled: “Trajkoviq: Condolences to the families of the victims in Glogjan, unfortunately there were similar things, like the attack in Gorazhdevac in 2003”, by drawing parallels between these cases intends to present them as “interethnic incidents” assuming that they were carried out by the “other side” . This news incites hatred between communities in Kosovo and is not based on facts.
A similar narration was presented by the Russian media “Sputnik” through various misinformation headlines such as “Strike on the security system, terrorist act”: “Reactions from Pristina for the murder of a student near Deçan”. Apart from the fact that the title does not correspond to the content of the article, which presents the reactions of institutional and political leaders in Kosovo, the article tries to falsely present the Kosovo institutions’ characterization of this act as terrorist and moreover uses this tragic case to present the system security in Kosovo as weak. So, all the declarations of Kosovo instititions in this article are fake.
Serbian and Russian media have been very active on November 26 and 27, 2021, in order to misinform the security situation in Kosovo. They used the news published in the Kosovo media, with headlines like “Danger of attack, embassies in Kosovo warn employees to avoid crowds”, to then distort the same and use them for propaganda purposes.
The same news was spread in most Serbian and Russian media with “bombastic” headlines and content that spreads propaganda and misinformation about the security situation in Kosovo, in order to present a false narrative about Kosovo.
Russian media “Sputnik” in an article titled ” America’s warning with a dangerous innovation:” Lone wolf “in the Kosovar extremist network” warns of a possible terrorist attack in Kosovo saying that is normal, given that a strong jihadist network has been established in the province.” A new moment in the announcement is the warning of the ‘lone wolf’ who is preparing a terrorist attack outside the organizations.” Consequently, the article, in addition to containing a misinformation title in order to present Kosovo as a “hotbed of extremism”, tries to present such a thing as a statement of the American authorities.
Only in cases when there is “terrorism in Kosovo”, “Sputnik” “refers” to American sources. Otherwise, in any other case, the US, American institutions and Americans in general, are “collaborators with Kosovo” and Kosovo is labeled as “American creature” or “NATO creature”.
Serbian and Russian media publish such news in order to misinform public opinion in Serbia and Russia, as well as in order to demonize the Albanian people of Kosovo and incite hatred among these peoples against Kosovo Albanians.
Through false news, these media try to present a false narrative that “the security situation in Kosovo is unstable” and that “Kosovo institutions and their international partners have failed. ”
The publication of propaganda articles by the Serbian and Russian media aims to present the large number of interethnic incidents, consequently presenting each incident as an “attack on Serbs”. Also, the publication of tendentious articles aims to reflect the worst possible political and security situation in Kosovo in order to hinder the process of Kosovo’s membership in international organizations and new international recognitions. Such fake news are intended to spread panic among the public.