Disinformation Stoking Interethnic Tensions in Kosovo

Kosovo is struggling with widespread disinformation spread on various online platforms which aims to exacerbate interethnic tensions and undermine trust in law enforcement, often misrepresenting incidents, manipulating facts, and presenting a climate of instability and suspicion between communities.

The reporting methods used by various websites and media outlets  in Kosovo and neighbouring countries are considered key contributors to citizen disinformation and strained relations between communities..

Kreshnik Gashi, managing editor at, stated  on Kallxo Përnime TV Programme on May 17 that these types of reports exploit interethnic relations by republishing fake news, making it seem as though the situation is always unstable. 

“There was a case where Serbia’s flag was removed from the Zvecan fortress. However, we learned that the flag was simply replaced. It was just a brief snapshot taken about two months ago, but it continues to be broadcast daily in Albanian media that attempt to push a nationalist agenda,”  Gashi stated.

According to Gashi, information about police arrests is also misinterpreted.

“The information produced in Kosovo and transmitted to countries such as Albania and North Macedonia is sensationalised”, he elaborated.

On May 14, Kosovo police seized a large arsenal of weapons in the municipality of Zvecan. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Xhelal Svecla, stated that the operation was based on information provided by citizens and the Kosovo Intelligence Agency.

“The news about the confiscation of some weapons in northern Kosovo on May 14 was directly linked to the Banjska attack (which occurred in September 2023) in reports to the community in Albania. However, in the press conference, it was not mentioned that the weapons seized by the Kosovo Police in the village of Rudare were connected to the Banjska” Gashi emphasised.

Regarding this type of reporting, Dusan Radakovic from the Mitrovica based non-governmental organisation Advocacy Center for Democratic Culture, ‘ACDC’, declared that interethnic relations are very poor between Serbs and Albanians in the north of the country on the “Kallxo Përnime” TV Programme.

“Every day, we have fake news directly promoting nationalism, radicalism among people, and hatred towards each other. I think this leads to nothing good, nor to any possibility for a better life,”  Radakovic said.

Misleading information to blame particular ethnic communities

Experts explain the existence of the tendency that everything that happens in a specific place is attributed to particular ethnic communities. 

“There was a case of graffiti on an Orthodox Church in the Peja region lately, and Albanians were blamed without knowing who actually wrote it” Gashi explained.

Gashi emphasised that there are many social media pages named after different cities that post incidents and immediately blame the Albanian community.

“Some of these social media accounts and online media outlets operate from Bosnia and Herzegovina, continually creating this narrative, even with problems in the north (of Kosovo). Fake news is republished, supposedly about very sick people, baby deaths, which when we check, are not true,”  Gashi added.

“We found a person living in  North Macedonia who manages over 20 pages with the names of Kosovo cities. Their content is mainly false narratives, information that provokes ethnic tensions,”  Gashi said.

Meanwhile, journalist Branislav Krstic stated that people in the north of the country are in a collective depression, as they are not getting any solution from Prishtina or Belgrade.

He stated that there are very wrong policies from the (Belgrade-backed party representing Kosovo Serbs), Srpska Lista, as well as from Prishtina. 

“Srpska Lista has taken on a very passive role and only reacts after receiving emails from Belgrade. Additionally, Prishtina has not offered anything either (to Serbian community in the north)”.

Gashi stated that more of the Serbian community of Kosovo is arrested in Serbia than by the Kosovo Police.

“We have more of the Serbian community representatives arrested in Serbia because they have cooperated with Kosovo institutions. Prosecutors and judges who have resigned in northern Kosovo can return to work but they do not do this fearing repercussions from the Serbian state”, Gashi emphasised.

On April 18, 2024 Serbia arrested Dejan Jankovic, Kosovo Police’s Deputy Director, who did not resign when Serb police officers were ordered to resign last year by Srpska Lista. Kosovo authorities claimed that Belgrade arrested Jankovic in a fit of  revenge following the vote for Kosovo to join the Council of Europe.

According to Gashi, the criminal groups in the north are dangerous, hence even international police do not go out without armoured vehicles, bulletproof vests, and special units in the north.

“The level of danger from this (criminal) group is high; they do not wait for the police with chocolates” Gashi mentioned.

Meanwhile, MP of the ruling party Vetëvendosje Movement, Enver Dugolli, said that the purpose of fake news is to sow as much distrust as possible among communities.

“All this with the aim of realising various agendas, which do not benefit the communities in Kosovo.”

Euro-only policy, target of disinformation

Apart from disinformation related to security, police actions, and unfounded news, misinformation has also spread regarding the Kosovo’s Central Bank regulation on removing the dinar as a payment method and applying a euro only currency policy, in line with its constitution.

The implementation of this regulation has become a controversial topic of discussion between parties, mediated by the EU in Brussels. Despite several meetings, no agreement has yet been reached .

Radakovic expressed concern about the issue of the Serbian dinar currency and its use in Kosovo, saying that politicians have met many times but there is still no solution. Serbs that are on Serbian government public salaries such as pensioners, teachers and social benefit receivers now have to go to Serbia to take their monthly payment and exchange it in euros once they want to use it in Kosovo.

“I think we have the lowest level of political responsibility to solve problems, somehow as if they are there to create bigger problems, not to create a more normal and better life,” he continued.

Asked what the Government is doing about this issue, Enver Dugolli said that the issue of the dinar has been highly politicised and that, this issue will be resolved very soon.

“A lot of propaganda has been made and disinformation campaigns launched about this issue. There has been a concrete proposal from the Government and the Central Bank of Kosovo for the Central Bank of Kosovo and the National Bank of Serbia to arrange this technical issue, but there has been a lack of willingness from Belgrade to resolve this issue,”  Dugolli stated.

Meanwhile, Kreshnik Gashi, editor at, said that the issue of pensions should not be seen as a problem of just one ethnicity.

“Even my mother’s contributory pension in Serbia has been stolen, and she has no access to her own pension contributions. Kosovo does not have an agreement with Serbia for the Pension Fund,”  Gashi added.

Gashi said that his mother contributed to a pension in the former Yugoslavia while  working as a doctor for 40 years and is not also able to get that contribution because there is no agreement between Kosovo and Serbia on those pensions.

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