Media wheel: Rromani language programme at the Radio Television of Kosovo RTK – Promoting the role of language in the preservation of identity

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Foto: Flickr/Dave Kleinschmidt

Newsroom of the Rromani language programme at the Radio Television of Kosovo RTK consists of Daut Qulangi, the editor and four journalists and moderators: Drita Berisha, Ridvan Gashi, Aza Avdi and Valon Korllak. They started broadcasting in 2013 with a 20-minute show once a week. Due to high viewing ratings, the program soon increased into 50-minute show twice a week both on RTK 1 and RTK 2 channels. Additionally, they prepare and broadcast 15-minute daily news in Rromani language.

I remember telling us that we would not survive because the Rroma community was not staffed enough to edit the program and run the show, but we have persevered in order to have a chance to work on both the radio and television, Qulangji says remembering their beginnings.

And unlike such predictions, the activity of this Rromani newsroom has been increasing. They were named the best television newsroom by the Radio Television of Kosovo in 2015 and they received a certificate on this basis. Their program is broadcast on social networks as well, and some have been viewed 10,000 times each, as social networks provide the possibility of replay and catch-up.

Talking about the challenges related to journalism we have also mentioned the stereotypes usually used when presenting the Rroma in the media in general.

Shows on the Rroma are full of prejudices, so it is important for the Rroma to educate themselves to become journalists and that way the material published and broadcast would not convey a negative image. Our Editorial Board is part of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) which monitors public media services in 56 countries, within which the EBU Rroma Task Force Group was established. We have prepared a project to teach journalists about the Rroma community helping them to interview the Rroma and prepare reports about them. First, we plan to train Rroma journalists for trainers who would later teach other non-Rroma journalists.

Their newsroom received many awards for their work, and the editor-in-chief particularly emphasized the “Ferenc Sztojka” Life Award presented to him by the Croatian Rromani Union “KALI SARA” at the International Symposium on Rromani Language in Zagreb in 2017. I have received the Award for my contribution to the promotion of Rromani language and identity in Kosovo and beyond. It has served as further motivation for me to strive for the existence of the Rromani language.

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