Kosovo is the first place in Europe to be left without print media, with newspapers no longer in print as news media shift online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Up until March last year (2020) Kosovo had five daily newspapers, all with small circulations.

The leading daily, ‘Koha Ditore’, sold about 10,000 copies a day at its peak.

Now its printing presses lie idle.

The paper’s editor Agron Bajrami said the pandemic accelerated the inevitable step of switching online, with print media no longer financially viable.

Coronavirus lockdowns reduced newspaper sales and ad revenue with many turning to smartphones and TV sets for their news consumption.

Ibrahim Gashi has been selling newspapers in the centre of capital Pristina for almost 35 years.

He said he gets asked at least once a week if he has newspapers for sale.

Azem Qerkini, an accountant and newspaper collector, has an archive of around 20,000 newspapers.

Having originally collected 30,000, a third of his collection was damaged in the 1998-1999 Kosovo war.

His archive, painstakingly collected over decades, can now be considered an important part of Kosovo’s cultural heritage.

The demise of the print media will hit older generations harder, according to Imer Mishkolaj who heads the Print Media Council association.

He also believes the closure of newspapers will lead to a lack of written history.

Following a surge in coronavirus cases last month, Kosovo is working on vaccinating its population as fast as it can.

Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, is the last country in Europe to start inoculating its citizens.

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