This case study describes PCi’s experience of convening a partnership among media organisations working in the Kosovo informational space; a partnership created with a view to drawing out lessons for the ways in which international support can help independent media achieve a greater impact on democratisation, inter-communal relationships and peacebuilding.
The study, which analyses work carried out by Peaceful Change initiative as part of the Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED), concludes the following:
- Independent media in Kosovo have a natural inclination to seek out partnerships, including those that transcend the conflict divide. Such collaborations should be encouraged and supported, but they should look beyond the symbolism of cross-conflict cooperation and focus on the added value that different media can bring to each other’s core business.
- For partnerships to succeed and achieve some form of sustainability, at least one partner should have a clear idea of the value that they seek to gain from the cooperation, beyond the symbolism of developing broader networks.
- Professional media consider development projects as being of interest to their readership and are prepared to devote resources to cover them. Development projects should view independent media, and especially local media, as partners in achieving their social change objectives – and should support their development in ways that allows them to maintain their independence.
- Direct support for media in Kosovo should make allowances for the language gap within the country, allocating resources that allow media to work in both Serbian and Albanian in the interest of building more of a unitary informational space. Concurrently, investments should continue to be made to support multilingualism and language rights.
- Partnership-focused projects should be designed with a view to strengthening authentic drivers of cooperation. To a great extent, this may mean applying monitoring systems that prioritise process over output – especially at the early stages of cooperation. Close monitoring could allow later-stage projects to draw attention to where opportunities to improve output are being overlooked.
- Cooperation that is rooted in mutual organisational interests can provide the basis for sustainable collaboration and the transformation of relationships on an individual basis. This does not, however, translate into broader transformations in ways of working. Despite the sense of mutual reward from the partnership, the participants applied conflict-avoidance strategies regarding content that was sensitive for their audiences. Investment in partnerships should be long-term; this would allow partnerships to build resilience and let them apply specific strategies for transcending discourses on sensitive topics.
The case study is available to download and read below:
The work described in the case study was part of the project Amplifying Local Voices for Equitable Development (ALVED), funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund.