Based on the Law on the Use of Languages, Albanian and Serbian have equal status in Kosovo institutions. However, in practice very often this law is not applied, reports Gracanica based portal gracanicaonline.info.
The journalists who follow the work of the Assembly are faced with a big problem because they do not have a translation if there are no Serb deputies in the room.
The representatives of the institutions say that Kosovo is multicultural and multilingual and say it is a fortune. However, the Law on the Use of Languages, guaranteed by the Kosovo Constitution, is often ignored even in the most important legislative body, the Kosovo Assembly.
The Secretariat of the Assembly told the portal that that they have a contract with the translation service to have the simultaneous translation but to last until the Serb members are in the Assembly benches.
In recent months, often there are no Serbian MPs, neither in assembly committee meetings, nor in the Assembly sessions, and journalists who report in Serbian face great problems to inform their readers, viewers and listeners in a timely and accurate manner about important laws and decisions that directly affect their lives.
The quality of translation of parliamentary documents, decisions and laws is also very bad and sometimes vague, even ambiguous.
The deputy of the Serbian List in the Assembly of Kosovo, Igor Simic, told the portal earlier that the bad translation is very dangerous when it comes to legislation.
“What is most important to us is the translation. Although the Kosovo Constitution says that the Serbian and Albanian languages are absolutely equal, and journalists know this, but also the entire Serbian people living in this region, the total devastation and non-use of the Serbian language makes work difficult. We are in the Assembly, which should adopt the highest legal acts and if these laws in one letter or comma are changed, they can drastically change the substance and have consequences for the citizens,” said Simic.
Kadri Veseli, Speaker of the Assembly, says that he was not informed that the Law on the Use of Languages in the highest legislative institution is most often not respected and that Serbian journalists have problems in reporting.
“In fact, the translation exists in the Assembly of Kosovo, the Serbian language is official, I do not know why you are asking that question. I really do not know what you are asking me, we can check it, but I can tell you again that the translation into Serbian exists,” says Veseli, not wanting to listen the portal further claim on why this was not true.
The editor of RTV KIM denies Veseli and says that there is more than a year that the information service of the Kosovo Assembly decided to deny the translation to Serbian journalists from the moment when Serbian deputies are not present in the room.
“Unfortunately, this is often happening because the Serbian MPs are absent most often from the parliamentary sessions. This is a big problem for us, because we cannot inform the public in a timely manner about important events discussed in the Assembly, for example on the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and for example, on the topic of the transformation of the Kosovo Security Forces. Also, this affects us financially, because we are forced to engage translators in such cases in order to translate what is being discussed in the Assembly Hall.”
President of the Association of Journalists of Serbia in Kosovo Budimir Nicic confirms that the translation in the Assembly of Kosovo automatically interrupts, when the last Serbian deputy goes out.
“It is probably a unique case in the world that the Kosovo Parliament makes it impossible for journalists and the public to know what Parliament is doing. It is about discrimination against the Serbs, towards the Serbian public and to all those who use the Serbian language, and this sends several messages. Firstly, it is obviously not important for Albanians that the Serbs know what they are doing there; secondly, if the highest legislative body in Kosovo violates the Law on the Use of Languages or the Constitution of Kosovo, what can we expect at a lower level and third, this shows us how much Serbian deputies in that parliament are incapable, or how much they have no influence to solve anything,” Nicic says, confirming that the Secretariat of the Assembly said that translation agencies were obliged to translate only to MPs in the Assembly Hall.
Journalists who report in the Serbian language from the Kosovo parliament need help from politicians, but also from Albanian colleagues and the civil sector. The promise to find solution to the problem came from the ruling coalition, says the editor of RTV KIM based in Caglavica.
She says that in early November, the deputy of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, Fatmir Xhelili, promised Serbian journalists that he would personally engage that the translation was provided and when Serbian MPs were not present, however, this did not happen to date.
Director of the Institute for Affirmation of Interethnic Relations Fatmir Sheholi says that he is familiar with the problem, and according to him, the reaction of the Commissioner for the languages of the Government of Kosovo is needed, as well as the greater engagement of Serbian and Albanian MPs in solving the translation problem.
“As an institute, we have done a project and handed over to UNMIK and we expect very soon, already in June to open the school in Pristina and Gracanica, with professors Albanians and Serbs, who will teach Albanian and Serbian people who want to learn languages,” says Sheholli but also pointing out that the assembly translation service is not at the level that it should be.