HLC-Kosovo: Kosovo media coverage of the Kosovo Government’s decision to reconstruct the Kamenica Medical Clinic inadequate
The Humanitarian Law Center-Kosovo (HLC-Kosovo) considers inadequate the way in which Kosovar media and especially RTK public television reported the decision of the Kosovo Government and the Mayor of Kamenica, Begzat Sinani, to support the reconstruction of the Kamenica Medical Clinic.
RTK coverage was focused only on the decision of the government to support parallel structures of Serbia providing images of inscription in the name of this facility written only in Serbian language in Cyrillic alphabet. This unconstructive approach fails to appreciate the fact that the Kamenica Medical Clinic had, until it was burnt down last month, provided medical services to all inhabitants of the Kamenica region irrespective of ethnicity, and was supported from the budget of the Kosovo government. The media reported how the Kosovo government is supporting parallel structures but they completely left aside the importance and services of this Medical Clinic for all the citizens of Kosovo that live in this area, especially for the Serbian and Roma community. Journalists are not interested in facts; their goal is only to make sensational stories. B.S.- President of the Kamenica Municipality, HLC Interview 3 April 2009. On the 19:30 evening news edition of RTK on the 30th of March 2009, the statement of a nurse that works at the Kamenica Medical Clinic was presented in a way that has the potential to cause interethnic tensions. Her statement was cut so that the only word that was broadcast on RTK was ‘Serbia’. The journalist’s conclusion was that: ‘her country is Serbia’. I won’t give a statement to the media because last time I was misunderstood on Kosovo TV and I don’t want people to misunderstand me because I was born here and I intend to live here. Don’t be insulted, just try to understand me. J.N. – nurse in the Kamenica Ambulance, HLC Interview, 3 April 2009
Until 10 of March 2008 when it was burnt down, the Kamenica Medical Clinic had been in operation since June 1999 and provided healthcare mainly to the Serbian and Roma Communities but also to Albanians that live in the municipality of Kamenica. Five medical doctors, 20 nurses, two paramedics, and two drivers1 – all citizens of Kosovo – worked in this Medical Clinic, considered by the public as a Serbian parallel structure since June 1999. Although all the Clinic’s staff are Serbs, they have received their salaries from the Kosovo Budget since 19992. Further, the utilities of this Medical Clinic are covered by the Kamenica municipal assembly3. Only the medicaments for this Medical Clinic are provided by the Serbian Ministry of Health. This Medical Clinic plays a key role for the lives of all citizens of this area. I, my wife and all Serbs that live in the municipality of Kamenica and also Novobrdo received all our healthcare from the Kamenica Medical Clinic. […] It was tough for me when I heard that it had been burnt down. For us the clinic is really important. Č. A. – Serb , HLC Interview -3 April 2009
1 Z. (T). M. – director of the Kamenica Medical Clinic e, -HLC interview 3 April 2009. 2 R. H. -director of the Kamenica municipal Health Care Center-HLC Interview 7 April 2009. 3 N.S. Director of Kamenica municipal administration, HLC Interview, 3 april 2009.
Our Medical Clinic provided healthcare to all citizens of our municipality. The usual beneficiaries were Serbs and Roma but there were also Albanian patients that came to us seeking help. We had between 50 to 70 patients daily and we worked everyday from 7a.m. to 7 p.m. so just imagine how many patients we would have in a week. Currently we’re temporarily working from the Parish House of the Orthodox Church, while hoping that another solution will be found or that the Clinic will be rebuilt. Z. (T). M. – director of the Kamenica Medical Clinic, HLC interview 3 April 2009 HLC-Kosovo calls on Kosovar media to be more professional and conduct journalistic research when informing the public. Kosovar media should also be much more open towards minority communities and should broadcast programmes in minority languages and Albanian that seek to promote the multi-ethnicity of Kosovo.
For further information please contact: Ardita Metaj-Dika, Project Coordinator Minority Rights Protection
NGO’s that support this communication are: Kosovo Democratic Institute -KDI Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims- KRCT Advocacy Training Resource Center -ATRC Civil Rights Programme-CRP Initiative for Progress-INPO Syri i Vizionit Youth Initiative for Human Rights-YIHR Center for Civil Society Development- CCSD Omladina Jazas Integra Norwegian Church Aid -NCA Center for Social Studies- CSS NGO Communication for Social Development Norma Sami Kurteshi