March 28, 2024

28.03.2024 – Navigating Gendered Challanges: Female Journalists Reporting on Kosovo’s Complex Landscape

In a landscape fraught with security risks and conflicting interests, female journalists reporting in Kosovo encounter various forms of discomfort solely because of their gender: from invitations to evening outings and unwanted hugs to smear campaigns and threats of sexual violence. Speaking to Cenzolovka (, journalists Jelena Petković and Una Hajdari shed light on these challenges. Reporting on sensitive issues related to Kosovo poses numerous obstacles for journalists, with female reporters facing additional hurdles due to their gender.

Una Hajdari, a journalist reporting on Kosovo for international media outlets such as The New York Times (, Politico (, and The Boston Globe (, notes the inherent misogyny ingrained in the attitudes of politicians towards complex political issues like dialogue, minority rights, and security matters. Hajdari recounts instances where politicians attempted to undermine her credibility and sideline her from events or press tours simply because of her gender. She further elaborates on the discomfort she has experienced during interviews, with ministers offering her alcohol in the middle of the day or inviting her to evening outings.

Similarly, Jelena Petković, a freelance journalist reporting on Kosovo highlights the gender discrimination faced by female journalists as just one aspect of the challenging working conditions in the region. Petković emphasizes the need for journalists to navigate a sea of security risks and competing interests, with their work scrutinized not just for its content but also for their name, the media outlet they represent, and the language they use.

Both journalists acknowledge the online attacks and smear campaigns they endure, with Una Hajdari noting that the transition from real-world harassment to online abuse amplifies the vitriol, particularly when it comes to misogynistic attacks on female reporters. Despite the challenges, Petković and Hajdari underscore the importance of objective reporting in empowering citizens with accurate information and holding politicians accountable for their actions.

Additionally, the article touches upon the experiences of local female journalists covering protests in northern Kosovo, highlighting the unique perspectives of Serbian and Albanian reporters amidst tensions in the region. The overall sentiment underscores the shared challenges experienced by female journalists irrespective of their ethnic background.

In conclusion, the article underscores the critical role of female journalists in providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Kosovo while navigating gender-based discrimination, online harassment, and political pressures. Despite these obstacles, journalists like Petković and Hajdari remain committed to their profession, striving to uphold journalistic integrity and inform the public about the complex realities of the region. You can read the full Cenzolovka article here:

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) stands in solidarity with female journalists reporting in the SEEMO region, including Kosovo. We extend our support to these courageous individuals who navigate through a landscape fraught with gendered obstacles and security risks, demonstrating resilience in the face of adversity.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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