Stankovic: By disregarding the Law on the Use of Languages, a message is being sent to Serbs that their voice does not matter

 Zoran Stanković
Source: Kosovo Online

By disregarding the Law on the Use of Languages, a message is being sent to Serbs in Kosovo that their voice does not matter, says journalist from Gracanica, Zoran Stankovic. He notes that Serbs face significant issues with translation in their daily lives, particularly when it comes to official documents from Kosovo's institutions.

Foreign entities are aware of the lack of respect for language rights, but they take no action on the matter, Stankovic points out.

He warns that Serbs in Kosovo have significant difficulties in communication and exercising their rights, while the international community does not address this problem.

"This is evident. In recent years, there has been a large campaign from the Serbian side, constantly highlighting that the language is not respected. I believe that foreigners in Kosovo are aware of this, that everyone can notice it, but there are no changes. Any change that needs to happen in Kosovo would have to be directed and ordered by a stronger hand from across the ocean," Stankovic told Kosovo Online.

Until that happens, Serbs will not be able to cope, he added.

"Our people cannot manage in Pristina, in official premises, not even in stores. Even where there is a sign in Serbian, it gets crossed out and becomes bothersome," Stankovic explains.

Serbs can function in municipalities with a Serbian population, as local institution employees are mostly Serbs. However, problems arise when they need a document issued by institutions in Pristina.

"When you leave Gracanica, you encounter problems; you need to know the language. The Law is often not respected, and those responsible for having a translator or someone for communication in Serbian—do not have one. Whether we go to a court, public institution, or municipality in Pristina, no matter the resource, we cannot communicate. We manage as best as we can," Stankovic emphasizes.

He also mentions that the lack of respect for this right hinders the performance of work duties.

As a Serbian journalist in Kosovo, he often faces problems due to the lack of translation at various events and poor translation in institutional statements.

"It often happens that we receive instructions, statements, invitations that are so unclear when translated into Serbian that it is impossible to understand what they are about," Stankovic notes.

He says that due to poor translation, journalists often provide incorrect information.

"I often wonder who translates and how these translators send us statements. It often happens that we receive a statement from a ministry that is supposedly translated, but it has nothing to do with anything, maybe they are even using online translation," Stankovic mentioned.

Everywhere in the world where two nations live, bilingualism is respected. However, Stankovic notes that this is not the case with Kosovo.

He believes that the message from Kosovo's institutions to Serbs is that their voice is not important and that they do not have a say in anything.

"The message being sent is: 'You are irrelevant, your voice is not important at this moment, you have no say, and you must learn our language to communicate.' We are aware that, for example, in Vojvodina, bilingualism exists, as well as in many countries, and wherever there are two nations, it must be represented. But the fact is that these standards do not exist in Kosovo or do not apply to everyone," Stankovic concluded.