Viewing cable 07PRISTINA161
Title: KOSOVO: MEDIA CAMPAIGN/PUBLIC OUTREACH ON

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07PRISTINA1612007-03-02 16:18:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Pristina
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P 021618Z MAR 07
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RUFOANA/USNIC PRISTINA SR
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PRISTINA 000161 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/SCE, FOR EUR/PPD - ROXANNE CABRAL, NSC FOR 
BRAUN, USUN FOR DREW SCHUFLETOWSKI, USOSCE FOR STEVE STEGER 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV KJUS EAID KDEM UNMIK YI KPAO
SUBJECT: KOSOVO: MEDIA CAMPAIGN/PUBLIC OUTREACH ON 
AHTISAARI PLAN KICKS INTO HIGHER GEAR 
 
REF: A. PRISTINA 27 
 
     ¶B. PRISTINA 118 
 
Sensitive but Unclassified.  Please handle accordingly. 
 
¶1.  (SBU) SUMMARY:  Since President Ahtisaari's February 2 
presentation of the final status settlement package for 
Kosovo, efforts to explain the package to both Kosovar 
Albanians and Serbs include a USAID-funded media campaign, 
televised educational programs, radio call-in shows, 
community roundtables with local leaders, and large public 
town hall meetings.  Unity Team members, UNMIK, OSCE, the 
International Civilian Office (ICO) planning team, KFOR, 
Contact Group members including USOP, and international and 
local NGOs have all participated.  On March 1, the second 
phase of the media campaign began under the slogan, "Kosovo, 
For Sure!," providing greater detail to both Kosovar 
Albanians and Serbs, but with different approaches.  For the 
Albanians, the emphasis is on the attributes of future 
sovereignty in the package (along with a flashy TV ad 
featuring a famous international Kosovar football star), 
while for the Serbs the focus is on the specific rights, 
including the decentralization concept, that will allow them 
to live in peace and security.  Challenges remain, 
particularly the skittishness of the Kosovar political 
leadership to discuss decentralization -- which remains a 
source of controversy in Kosovo -- in a forthright manner, as 
well as general ignorance about the concept among Kosovo 
Serbs, who rely in large part for their information on the 
anti-Ahtisaari oriented media based in Serbia.  The second 
phase of the Kosovo outreach program will attempt to remedy 
this ignorance by relying more on expanded radio coverage and 
use of local TV stations.  The media campaign and public 
outreach has kicked into higher gear and has made a 
difference already, but more work needs to be done.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
Media-based outreach sets the tone, reveals "the other 
side's" concerns 
 
¶2.  (SBU)  The first phase of the USAID-funded media campaign 
was oriented towards encouraging the Kosovar public to see 
the Ahtisaari package in a positive light (especially since 
much negative publicity had been levelled at the document 
before its presentation) -- without, however, addressing 
specifics of the package.  The first slogan, "Kosovo Welcomes 
the Future," appeared in two Public Service Announcements 
(PSAs) and two billboard designs (one each for Albanians and 
Serbs) and aired through February (Ref A).  The second phase, 
developed after Ahtisaari's visit on February 2, now provides 
a greater level of detail to assuage fears and counter 
specific misconceptions about elements of the package.  For 
Kosovo Albanians, the campaign has focused on those aspects 
of Ahtisaari's proposals that suggest the attributes and 
responsibilities of future sovereignty (delivered by an 
international Kosovar football star to make the message 
compelling for young people).  For Kosovo Serbs, the messages 
have focused closely on the decentralization and security 
elements of the package that will permit them to live safely 
and securely in post-status Kosovo.  At a March 1 meeting of 
the Public Outreach Working Group, the local PR firm engaged 
with this effort presented the final product, noting that it 
had been focus group-tested in both the Albanian and Serb 
communities.  With the slogan, "Kosovo, Secure" or "Kosovo, 
For Sure," the campaign began airing on March 1 wtih 3 TV 
PSAs (2 Albanian, 1 Serb), 3 billboard designs (2 Albanian, 1 
Serb), and 3 radio ads (all Serb).  A website 
(www.sigurt.info and www.sigurno.info) has all the 
information about the campaign, copies of the settlement 
document (as provided and translated by the Unity Team) in 
Albanian and Serbian, and other useful information that will 
be up and running by March 2. (Note: The Albanian word 
"sigurt" is versatile and useful in this context; it can mean 
safe, secure, certain or sure.  End note) 
 
¶3.  (U)  The TV magazine series, like the media campaign, has 
 
PRISTINA 00000161  002 OF 003 
 
 
been coordinated by the USAID contractor, Academy for 
Educational Development (AED), and consists of four 27-minute 
programs dealing with security, community rights, 
decentralization and cultural heritage, set to begin airing 
in mid-March.  The COM kicked off the series with an 
interview on February 12.  By partnering local TV stations 
from Albanian and Serb communities, each program highlights 
the specific concerns communities have about one of these 
four topics, to enhance Albanian understanding of Serb fears 
and vice versa.  In a separate effort, televised dialogues 
between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs, moderated by the 
well-regarded Belgrade-based NGO Fractal, also aim to educate 
each side on the other's feelings about status.  KFOR is also 
sponsoring radio shows (in both Q&A call-in and panel 
discussion formats) that reiterate KFOR's continuing presence 
in Kosovo and its commitment to Kosovo's security.  These 
shows are aimed primarily at Kosovo Serbs. 
 
Community roundtables and town hall meetings 
 
¶4. (SBU)  AED, through a subcontract with the local Advocacy, 
Training and Resource Center (ATRC), is also conducting 33 
community roundtables.  After participating in a two-day 
training session, NGOs from designated municipalities have 
brought together community leaders to discuss their concerns 
about the status settlement package and process.  Some of the 
roundtables include international experts on various issues 
dealt with in the package.  After each roundtable the NGO 
produces a report outlining that particular community's 
concerns.  In addition, OSCE plans to hold a series of small 
workshops for university students in Pristina to address 
their specific questions, concerns and (mis)perceptions. 
 
¶5.  (SBU)  The most extensive community outreach being done 
is a series of public town hall meetings.  AED, Fractal, 
UNMIK and OSCE, which keeps a centralized, running calendar 
of events which all can plug into, have organized public town 
hall meetings designed to allow citizens to interact directly 
with their leaders and with international representatives. 
Regular participants in these town halls include Unity Team 
Members (President Sejdiu, PM Ceku and opposition leader 
Thaci), SRSG Ruecker, Municipal Assembly presidents, ICO 
planning team head Sohlstrom, KFOR representatives, and 
Contact Group representatives, including COM.  AED has 7 
regional town halls scheduled for April and will determine 
the panelists based on concerns expressed in the community 
roundtables.  Fractal, as part of its "Enclavia Project," an 
effort to foster civic involvement in Kosovo Serb enclaves, 
has already facilitated one town hall meeting in Gracanica 
for the local Serb community with the COM as the featured 
speaker (ref B), and anticipates two more with her as keynote 
speaker in Strpce and northern Mitrovica.  UNMIK and the OSCE 
have also organized events at the University of Pristina, in 
Gjilan and in Viti, two municipalities directly affected by 
decentralization.  The OSCE has future town hall meetings 
planned for Kamenice, Strpce, Decan, Ranilug, Velica Hoca and 
with the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce.  Thus far, these 
community outreach efforts have revealed that many Kosovars 
have a very limited understanding of the package.  Most have 
not read the package and some think the UNOSEK fact sheets 
are actually the complete document.  (Note: USOP is also 
using its FSO Albanian speakers for USOP-sponsored events, 
which include meetings with students from the University of 
Pristina, Journalism Institute, and other schools.  End 
Note.) 
 
Decentralization: UT member shy away, Kosovo Serbs have 
little knowledge 
 
¶6.  (SBU)  While the media campaign and coordinated public 
outreach effort is promising, challenges remain.  Unity Team 
members tend to shy away from directly addressing what are 
seen as controversial topics by Kosovar Albanians -- 
especially decentralization -- and to worry about their image 
among their constituents.  They stop short of discussing the 
benefits for all, not just for Kosovo Serbs, of a 
 
PRISTINA 00000161  003 OF 003 
 
 
decentralized structure of government.  Indeed, they and 
their representatives on the Public Outreach Working Group, 
who are an integral part of creating the messages for the 
media campaign, believe that decentralization is just the 
bitter pill Kosovo has to swallow in order to be independent, 
and so have refused to address it directly in the ads that 
are geared for Kosovo Albanians.  That unwillingness to 
discuss the issue head-on negatively affects public 
understanding of the concept.  To make matters worse, 
National Democratic Institute focus groups and ATRC 
roundtables reveal that many Albanians in any event do not 
believe that decentralization will be implemented. 
 
¶7.  (SBU)  Regarding Kosovo's Serbs, especially those in the 
Serb-majority areas of the north, the problem is not so much 
the message as it is a lack of basic information about what 
decentralization means.  Participants in focus groups in 
these areas for the second phase of the media campaign 
revealed how limited their understanding is of 
decentralization.  During the tests, trial ads that explained 
decentralization and its impact on their daily lives turned 
out to be the first exposure many of the participants had had 
to the whole concept.  Some were favorably surprised.  Many 
of the participants had not seen the first phase ads on 
television because they only watch Serbia-based electronic 
media -- the result of refusal or prohibitive pricing from 
these media to take part in the campaign.  To remedy this, 
the second phase plans expanded radio coverage and the use of 
local TV stations to attempt to reach a wider audience. 
Although operating in a much more constrained and difficult 
environment than in the Serb enclaves of the south, this 
media campaign in the north will be supplemented as well by 
town hall meetings.  Current outreach planning includes one 
ATRC community roundtable, one ATRC town hall, and one 
Fractal town hall in north Mitrovica.  In addition to public 
town halls, USAID and PD are looking to find local NGOs which 
would be willing to conduct "micro-level" outreach to Kosovo 
Serbs throughout Kosovo, going door-to-door to answer 
questions and concerns. 
 
¶8.  (SBU) COMMENT:  Media campaign and public outreach 
efforts to inform the Kosovar public about the final status 
document and process are making a difference.  President 
Sejdiu, PM Ceku and main opposition leader Thaci, as well as 
USOP, UNMIK OSCE and the other key internationals here, are 
on board and have taken on mutually supportive roles to get 
the word out.  The most difficult tasks will continue to be 
getting the Kosovar political leadership to be more 
forthright in its support for the Ahtisaari package, as well 
as educating and reassuring Kosovo's Serbs that the document 
means a safe and secure life for them in Kosovo.  USOP will 
continue to use its position on the Public Outreach Working 
Group to push these issues and look for opportunities to use 
its voice to garner support for the document.  END COMMMENT. 
 
¶10.  (SBU)  USOP clears this cable in its entirety for 
release to UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari. 
KAIDANOW