Prepared by: Ridona Berisha
The outbreak of a new conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine has also affected the sphere of information in Kosovo. In relation to this, the Ministry of Defense of Kosovo has refuted the claim made in an article on a Kosovo portal that purportedly a member of the Kosovo Security Force (KFS) has opposed the official stance of the state of Kosovo, which condemned the Hamas attack and has supported the terrorists’ massacre. However, the individual cited by the portal has not been a part of the KFS since 2018.
On October 11th, 2023, Gazeta Metro published an article titled “Member of the Kosovo Security Force Takes a Stance Against Kosovo, Supports the Hamas Terrorist Massacre Involving 40 Infants.” The article’s content stated that a member of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) commented on the news post of at least 40 infants being killed in Israel on September 10th, expressing respect for Hamas, which, according to him, had been professionals in this massacre.
Ministry of Defense press release
However, this claim was refuted by the Ministry of Defense of Kosovo, which, through a media statement, declared that the provided information was false and labeled it as tendentious, aimed at damaging the image of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF). Furthermore, the Ministry of Defense of Kosovo clarified that the individual in question is no longer a part of the KSF.
“We inform the media and citizens that the alleged individual, Hajzer Shyti, mentioned on the METRO portal, has no connection whatsoever with the KSF. The person in question was demobilized from the KSF five years ago,” states the Ministry of Defense’s response sent to the media.
In Sbunker’s investigation regarding this comment, it was found that the quoted individual has deleted his Facebook account. Additionally, the online media that later published the news has also removed it.
The Ministry of Defense has urged the media to verify fake news related to the image of the Kosovo Army, especially in such exceptional circumstances. “They should be cautious not to spread unverified news because by doing so, they only serve those who do not want the state of Kosovo and its security,” was the Ministry of Defense’s plea.
The Kosovo Security Force (KSF) continues to be one of the most reliable institutions in the country, and the publication of articles influences the creation of a perception that the KSF and its members support terrorist organizations. Furthermore, the Ministry of Defense has emphasized that they do not understand the motivation of the media to spread falsehoods, misinform, and tarnish the reputation of the Kosovo Army. After the Hamas attack on Israel with rockets and drones, the leaders of the Kosovo government condemned the terrorist act and expressed support for Israel in defending its sovereignty from this aggression. Israel was the most recent state to recognize Kosovo’s independence on September 4, 2020.
*This article is published as part of the Western Balkans Regional Initiative against disinformation. Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: exposing malign influences through watchdog journalism.