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Our experiment with the
media on Kosovo's secession



Jan Oberg

February 20, 2008

Do you believe that freedom of opinion, diversity, fairness, impartiality, basic knowledge, and research should be defining principles behind the news YOU get?

Then read the press release from TFF below which contains a fairly unique background story. It was mailed to about 400 journalists and editorial offices in Scandinavia and over 1000 worldwide, specialised in international affairs.

We got about the response we expected: 3 - CNN International, Radio Netherlands and Voima in Finland.

1397 chose to cut and paste telegrams from exclusively Western bureaus or write without relying on external expertise or research. So, routine-routine and politically correct - they repeat what for instance George W. Bush, Javier Solana, Nikolas Sarkozy and other Western leaders say interspersed with “angry” Serbs torching a border station on the Kosovo-Serbia border and “defiant” Belgrade – allied with the Russians so we know what to think about them – may say about the illegality of this recognition of secession.

Almost 20 years after the dissolution of Yugoslavia began, one must wonder how much genuine understanding people around the world have received from their dailies, radio and television?

With a few exceptions, knowledge is systematically substituted with statements, complex reality with appearances and make-believe. With an increasingly homogenized media coverage of world events, there is tremendous repetition – our media tend to imitate the selection and copy the angles of  “leading” media whatever that means.

Conclusion 1: Most organisations dare not point out this sort of thing because they want media attention themselves. Of course, TFF appreciates media attention too and recognition of what we do – but we don’t grovel for it. Media has tremendous power, and power should be criticized and confronted when important principles and human suffering is at stake.

Conclusion 2: Consider reducing the time you spend with dailies, radio and television and find the larger truths on the Internet. It may take some time, yes, but you will be so much better informed.



February 18, 2008
Lund, Sweden

Kosovo secession - Speak with TFF's uniquely experienced experts

TFF's Associates have worked in and with Kosovo since 1991; it has resulted in hundreds of articles, reports and books.

Little known publicly, the foundation was very instrumental in developing the original model for independence, serving as goodwill advisers to the Kosovo-Albanian leader at the time, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova who advocated pragmatic nonviolence. TFF's first report (1992) was "Preventing War in Kosovo".

The model independent state we developed - and the suggested path to it - was completely different from the unilateral secession declared on February 17, 2008.

A few years later the foundation published an international treaty text with arguments. It was based on this co-operation with the highest Albanian leadership in Kosovo and, impartially, consultations with three successive governments in Belgrade, including the then foreign minister and, in 2005, president Milosevic. It suggested a UN-mediated, three-year negotiation process.

TFF has never taken a stand for or against independence. We do conflict-mitigation which means that our associates and experts have only facilitated peaceful exchanges of views and a process through which the parties would have been able to find their own sustainable solution - which is a basic criteria of all decent, professional conflict management.

"Would have been able to" - that is, if Western forces had not clandestinely helped extremist Albanians develop the Kosovo-Albanian Liberation Army, KLA/UCK from 1993 onwards which undermined Dr. Rugova's position and thereby that of a peaceful, longterm solution.

Some of TFF's analyses appear, to some at least, as anti-independence. That is - due to the above fact - a misunderstanding. But there is independence and independence. There are negotiations and negotiations. And there is conflict management and mis-management.

This secession is called the only on possible for two reasons:

1) US and EU politicians involved in ex-Yugoslava lack basic skills in conflict-management and -resolution as well as creativity. Therefore, the result of their intervention will be the same as will a surgeon with no medical education operating on a patient.

2) Certain Western governments have to endorse independence because

a) if they don't, NATO's 1999 bombing will now be seen as a moral and political failure in addition to being a gross violation of human rights, international law and the UN;

b) they began with a wrongheaded, intellectually impossible black-and-white perception of the bad Serbs and the good everybody else - and can't change that now;

c) Kosovo-Albanians have all rights to interpret Western policies as pro-independence, and their leaders were probably promised during the fake Rambouillet "negotiations" preceding NATO's bombings that they would get an independent state if only they remained patient and accepted foreigners on their territory.

Are YOU interested in discussing these WIDER perspectives with TFF Associates - all of whom have between 10 and 40 years of personal experience with Yugoslavia?

Are YOU interested in the intellectual freedom underlying both a free press and free research?

Are YOU willing to do some search and re-search of a larger truth that is not black-and-white and which gives a fair hearing to all sides in this conflict, including the US, EU, Russia and others?

Do YOU want to interview or simply talk with these resource persons for your personal benefit?

Then contact
Jan Oberg, director of TFF
Head of TFF's work in former Yugoslavia since 1991
E-mail - see above
Phone: +46 46 14 59 09
Skype: janoberg

- and I shall be pleased to connect you with the following TFF Associates who are area experts, conflict-resolution specialists, media connoiseurs, and more:

Radmila Nakarada, Belgrade

Biljana Vankovska, Skopje

Aleksandar Mitic, Brussels

Johan Galtung, Spain/France/US
<>or through
Dietrich Fischer
or through me

Soren Sommelius, Sweden

Vasiliki Neofotistos, US

Richard Falk, US

Michel Chossudovsky


All materials about Yugoslavia and Kosovo here
where you also find the links to the above-mentioned Associates' CV

With reference to the importance of free media, we look forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards

Jan Oberg



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