WASHINGTON – During a visit to RFE/RL bureaus in Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia last week, RFE/RL President Jamie Fly met with North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučic. Fly also spent time with RFE/RL`s journalists—including a group of Afghan journalists recently evacuated from Afghanistan—to discuss the important role that RFE/RL`s journalism plays in supporting democracy in the Balkan region and throughout its 23-country service area.
During his meetings, Fly discussed the changing media landscape in each country and the importance of maintaining space for freedom of the press and the ability of independent journalists to do their jobs without pressure from government authorities. In Kosovo, Fly also met with former Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga and in Serbia, he also talked to Serbian opposition figure Marinika Tepić.
RFE/RL’s Balkan Service serves one mission in three languages in five countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. In 2019, the Balkan Service marked 25 years of reporting in one of the world’s most contested regions, championing professionalism and moderation in a media landscape that is sharply divided along ethnic and partisan lines and subject to external influences including Russian misinformation, Chinese investment, and influence from the Gulf and Turkey. From October 2020-September 2021, the Service’s three websites earned 17.85 million visits and 26 million page views, and 56.1 million video views on its Facebook pages.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 41 million people every week in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed 6.5 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram/IGTV in FY2020. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.