Disinformation in the Serbian media causes panic among non-majority communities in Kosovo
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3 month ago
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The fake news published by one of the media in Kosovo, quoting the Serbian media saying that after the decision to ban the use of the Serbian dinar in Kosovo, the Serbian army will enter our country, caused panic in the non-majority Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.

The same happened in the case of a deepfake video in which the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, says that we will start the war with Kosovo again.

This was said in the training, where some students from the non-majority community, together with their teachers from schools in Lipjan, were trained on media education. In addition, it was said that disinformation and misinformation have become a trend.

The student at the Primary and Lower Secondary School "Ismial Luma" in Lipjan from the Ashkali community, Anita Kryeziu, said that she has read fake news several times in the media, until she specified that she has read that supposedly the origin of the non-majority community is from India. Regarding this, Kryeziu said that she felt bad and that she was bullied by others at school.

In addition, Kryeziu emphasized that he did not receive the vaccine against Covid-19 because he read that upon receiving it, something will be placed on his hand.

She expressed her desire to participate in as many such trainings as possible, which are aimed at media education of students from non-majority communities.

"(I read) that when you get the vaccine (against Covid-19) a coin sticks to your hand or something else… I read in the media that we are of Indian origin; I was a little hurt because at our school (they bully us) … Today, I liked the training, I liked that we did different activities, about fake news and others… From this training I learned how to distinguish fake news from real news. I saw a deepfake that the president of Serbia said that we will continue the war again, we panicked, but as time went on, we found out that it was a fake news. I want to participate again in such trainings", said Kryeziu.

Meanwhile, Eljesa Komorani, a student at the "Ulpiana" Gymnasium, in Gadime, Lipjan, from the Ashkali community, said that she read a news in the media that after the visa liberalization, Kosovo is emptying, and citizens are leaving the country. In addition, she said that she has seen a fake news allegedly that after the decision to ban the use of the Serbian dinar in Kosovo, the Serbian army will enter Kosovo, for which she emphasized that this information has caused panic among them.

"The media in Kosovo have said that Kosovo is emptying, that (many) citizens are going abroad, after the visa liberalization… The media in Kosovo have written (quoted) the Serbian media that after the ban on the dinar, Serbian soldiers will come to Kosovo and we thought that there will be a war in Kosovo, this was a fake news… Should there be more training like this? Yes, we need them and we are learning a lot from them, even though we learn some of them at school, but it is good to repeat them in trainings, we have time to express ourselves better", said Komorani.

Likewise, the student from the same high school, from the Ashkali community, Elmedin Limani, said that some time ago he read an article in which it was said that the footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, will move to the Barcelona football club.

Among other things, Limani said that he has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, because he has read in the media that many people are dying after receiving this vaccine.

Regarding the training, he said that he has learned new things related to misinformation and disinformation.

"The fake news I heard is that Ronaldo went to Barcelona but he actually went to Al-NassrFC. How long ago did you read this news? About six months ago… Did you get the vaccine against Covid-19? I didn't get the vaccine (against Covid) because I heard it's not good and I heard a lot of people died from it. Did you read this somewhere? Yes, in newspapers and social networks. I really enjoyed the training, we learned how to distinguish information from misinformation. From this training I learned more about fake news. I think there should be more training for us to learn new things", said Limani.

Meanwhile, the teacher of the "Family Law" course, Salih Kërpuzi, said that such trainings for non-majority communities are welcome, because according to him, disinformation and misinformation have become a trend.

Kërpuzi said that taking into account that young people are users of social networks, the possibility of them falling prey to fake news is greater, while he emphasized the importance of such trainings.

"Trainings in general are welcome, especially for the non-majority community in Kosovo. Given that in legal terms they enjoy extremely rights that should be enabled to have faster and more accurate access to information. Today we live in Kosovo and disinformation and misinformation are almost a trend, especially the youth, considering that they are extremely users of social networks, not that they take them as right, but more or less influence their misinformation. Especially those misinformation or networks that lead them at things that are not good for the youth. Taking into account that the community is not very integrated, not because of the legislations, but because of them, 'their own fault, it is a little rude'. But, considering that they lack education, lack good life, economic conditions and so on. At school, I teach the subject 'Family Law', there we have extremely misinformation, especially in terms of violence, because sometimes it is misinterpreted and creates panic in the family, in society and so on", said Kërpuzi.

Likewise, the professor who teaches the subject "Albanian language" in one of the schools of Lipjan, Feim Olluri, said that the training on media education is targeted, because according to him, students from the non-majority community had the opportunity to learn how to distinguish fake news from real news.

According to him, such trainings should be held more often.

"I think it's a good training, the children of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, media education nowadays, since we all use social networks, is quite important. Here the students had the opportunity to learn about misinformation, disinformation and others that come from (the media), social networks. Maybe they have learned some details that they can catch before they read the news, because the headlines are different, the content is different, this probably causes a panic when we see the headlines, I think there should be more frequent trainings", said Olluri.

The project "Media education against disinformation for teachers, students and civil society activists from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities", is supported by the Embassy of the United States in Prishtina.

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