On Friday, March 13, 2020, Kosovo became one of the last countries in Europe to record its first coronavirus cases. It was a development waiting to happen as two days earlier, the World Health Organization had already declared COVID-19 a pandemic, those travelling the continent were on their way home, and numbers in neighboring countries were rising by the day.
It was just earlier that day on Friday that at K2.0 we had intensified our discussions around what type of fieldwork we could be conducting or even the extent to which our physical presence in the field at all might endanger someone else’s well-being; by early evening, the first two cases were confirmed. Having witnessed how failure to respond more firmly at the outset of the outbreak by better enforcing social distancing or self-quarantine has crippled the health systems of countries that are considered more advanced, the decision became clear.
The whole K2.0 team will be working almost exclusively online, as per recommended measures, until containment has achieved its aims, and we assess that we no longer pose undue risk to others.
As we embark on conducting largely physically ‘field-free’ journalism, we are aware of the myriad challenges and obstacles this will present to our work.
It is at times like these, when workers’ rights might be most violated; when different forms of violence — be it gender, domestic or child based — might also be on the rise; when those already belonging to marginalized, excluded or discriminated groups will continue to lack basic, essential resources; or when various governmental and institutional policies or decisions require more fieldwork in order to better understand how they impact people’s lives directly.
These are the types of stories and experiences that stand at the core of how K2.0 defines its responsibility and obligation as a magazine — to expose and highlight injustices, draw attention to inequities or even encourage active citizenship, all while continuously seeking to offer the grounded, contextualized and accurate information citizens need to make informed decisions.