13. april. 2020. | 11:53

CfA: Understanding divisive narratives – Serbia and Kosovo


Amplifying local voices for equitable development is a 2-year project implemented by Peaceful Change initiative and People in Need and funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF). It looks to support municipal-level mechanisms in Kosovo and Serbia to contribute to the fair distribution of resources and help communities and groups – especially ethnic minorities enjoy their rights as citizens both in terms of the services they receive and in terms of their opportunities to contribute to local planning and decision making.

As part of its work to enable more inclusive service delivery and decision making, the Amplifying local voices project is looking to developing a communication strategy that will a) disseminate positive discourses that celebrate diversity and expertise, whilst incorporating different perspectives on subjects, b) amplify positive stories of change at the local level, and c) counter narratives of hate speech, prejudice and stereotyping. Furthermore, the project will convene regular Media Consultation Dialogues, which will bring together media professionals from Serbia and Kosovo in order to understand which national narratives are contributing to division and othering and what kind of strategies could be employed in order to create a more enabling media environment for highlighting good cross-community cooperation.


In order to inform this strand of work with the media, PCi is looking to commission a research project that provides contextual understanding of how divisive narratives in Serbia and Kosovo are generated and disseminated.

More specifically, the purpose of this research is to:

1. Understand the different types of divisive narratives being promoted through the media – essentially a typology of hate speech and othering in Kosovo and Serbia.

2. Gather insights into the different media – both new and old, print and on-line – that are carrying these messages and their respective reach.

3. Analyse how these narratives impact people.

4. Garner examples of initiatives, organizations and individuals that are working to counter hate speech and other examples of othering – i.e. so-called 'counter-speech', which confronts hateful content.

5. Gain insights into the differences and similarities between hate speech in national media versus that at the local level.

PCi is looking to make use of the research outputs in order to:

1. Identify stakeholders in traditional and new media who should be engaged in the Media Consultation Dialogues, either as participants who may be motivated to work to counter divisive narratives or as potential spoilers who should be targeted by the project’s media strategy.

2. Provide a contextual framework for participants in the Media Consultation Dialogues so as to allow them to see how specific narratives fit into broader trends and structures and allow them to think about their media work strategically.

3. Identify types of divisive narratives that could form the basis of a monitoring system for PCi, so that the transmission of such narratives could be tracked and addressed.

Research structure

In order to achieve these purposes, it is proposed to conduct research that:

1. Focuses on instances of hate speech in traditional and new media in Serbia and Kosovo within a specific time period deemed appropriate to best understand the context.

2. Targets several key local media outlets to explore possible differences in dynamics at the local level.

3. Supplements quantitative research with a number of focus groups, conducted on-line given the prevailing realities of the Coronavirus.

4. Explores other ways of tracking influence, especially on divisive issues.


The bidder is expected to provide the following deliverables:

1. Minimum number of days engagement foreseen – 20 working days.

2. Suggest length of the final report – 50 pages, excluding annexes.

3. Coverage of both Serbia and Kosovo, including Albanian language media.

4. Conduct of on-line focus groups – number to be determined.

5. Submission of final report by 29th May 2020.

All applications should be submitted by email to Nenad Sebek by midnight on Friday 24th Aprilnenad.sebek@peacefulchange.org