Kosovo 2.0, an independent media outlet and webportal published in Albanian, Serbian and English, has been forced to cancel its presentation at this year’s Share Conference in Belgrade for security reasons.
The ultra right-wing group Nasi (“ours”) released a semi-literate statement urging “all patriotic groups and football club fans” to stage a rally in front of the conference venue Dom Omladine on Saturday, the day of Kosovo 2.0’s scheduled presentation.
Nasi’s announcement condemned the webportal as “a direct promoter of the narco-state of Kosovo as independent and not a part of the Republic of Serbia”.
Members of Nasi have been participants in all of the worst shit that has gone down on the streets of Belgrade during the last several years: the violence following Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence in which the American embassy was set on fire and one individual was killed, and the 2010 Pride Parade in which 147 policemen and nearly 20 civilians were injured.
At no point did the police or any government official make a public statement pledging to protect members of Kosovo 2.0 and other Share participants from any potential violence. As a result, members of the group felt that their safety could very well be jeopardy, and were forced to cancel their planned presentation and visit to Serbia.
Kosovo 2.0 is a quality, independent media outlet in a climate of lazy, nationalist journalism. In the brief “About us” section on its website, the magazine describes itself as “pulsing with voices unfettered and unafraid.” But Nasi’s call to stage a mass rally of hooligans against the very presence of several Kosovar Albanians at a conference, and the Serbian government’s complete lack of response to that call, indicates that there are still some things to be afraid of.
While the Serbian government failed to ensure protection of the group, other independent media outlets, partner organizations, and Share Conference participants can still demonstrate their support for the webportal. Dokukino, a Belgrade-based organization that promotes digital activism, has responded quickly by printing hundreds of stickers for Kosovo 2.0. These stickers will be available at the Bturn corner inside Dom Omladine throughout Share Conference. Come pick up your Bturn and Kosovo 2.0 sticker, take a picture with our photographer, chat with some of our creative team, and help support independent media across the region.