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Guy De Launey

Beograd, Serbia
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About Guy
Guy has been a broadcast journalist since 1995. Initially based in London, he worked for BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service, BBC World TV and BBC 6 Music in a variety of roles including presenter, reporter and producer. 

His work took him on assignment to every continent, but since 2004 he has been a full-time foreign correspondent. 

Eight years based in Phnom Penh, covering Southeast Asia, were followed by a move to Belgrade in 2012, where Guy covers the countries of Western Balkans. In addition to his TV, radio and online work, Guy is the Belgrade Correspondent for Monocle magazine. 

With a broad range of interests and a wide range of professional experience, Guy is equally at home covering anything from hard news to sport; natural disasters to human interest stories.
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Fact Checking

Serbia mass shootings: Country reels in the wake of deadly attacks

02 May 2024  |  news.nestia.com
Belgrade's central Vracar district is mourning the loss of eight children who died in a recent shooting. Tributes including votive candles and white flowers have been set up around Vladislav Ribnikar Primary School and the neighbouring high school. The community is paying their respects in a somber atmosphere, contrasting sharply with the joyous slava celebrations the school hosted in 2013.

Serbia bird deaths: Suspected poisonings threaten much-loved owls

10 Oct 2023  |  BBC
In Kikinda, Serbia, a significant number of rooks and jackdaws have been found dead, suspected to be poisoned, posing a threat to the local ecosystem and the much-loved long-eared owls. These owls, which rely on nests built by rooks, play a crucial role in controlling the rodent population, which has surged recently. Conservationists are urging local authorities and farmers to maintain habitats for these birds, but frustration over crop damage may have led to the use of poisoned seeds, inadvertently affecting the bird population.

Serbia mass shootings: Country reels in the wake of deadly attacks

07 May 2023  |  BBC
Serbia is in mourning following two mass shootings, one at Vladislav Ribnikar Primary School in Belgrade and another near Mladenovac. The incidents have shaken the nation's sense of safety and sparked debates on gun control. Public sentiment is subdued, with many questioning the prevalence of firearms in the country. Government proposals for disarmament are met with mixed reactions, while some officials' comments have caused unease. The article highlights the emotional and societal impact of the shootings, reflecting on the country's changing perceptions of safety and security.

Croatia, the euro and a coffee controversy - but is it all just froth?

19 Jan 2023  |  bbc.co.uk
Croatia adopted the euro on January 1, 2023, leading to public concern over perceived price hikes in cafes and other businesses. The government intervened, warning against unjustified price increases and enforcing price levels from December 31, 2022. State inspectors took action against nearly 200 retailers. Despite consumer worries, the National Bank Governor, Boris Vujcic, believes euro adoption has protected Croatia from severe inflation. The euro adoption, along with Schengen Area membership, is expected to boost tourism, as noted by Dubravko Miholic of the Croatian National Tourist Board. Prices must still be displayed in the former currency, the kuna, until the end of the year to reassure consumers.

Kosovo: Serbia puts troops on high alert over rising tensions

27 Dec 2022  |  BBC
The Serbian army has declared its highest level of combat readiness amid escalating tensions with Kosovo. President Aleksandar Vucic has vowed to protect Serbian people, while Kosovo accuses Serbia of inciting trouble. The European Union and Nato are urging restraint and seeking a diplomatic solution. The conflict, rooted in Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence and exacerbated by recent disputes over vehicle license plates, has led to increased military presence and roadblocks. International efforts to mediate have so far been unsuccessful, with both sides remaining entrenched in their positions.

John Challis: Why Serbians have soft spot for late Only Fools actor

20 Sep 2021  |  BBC
Belgrade will name a road in honor of John Challis, who played Boycie in the BBC sitcom 'Only Fools and Horses,' as a tribute to his love for Serbia. The show, known locally as 'Mucke,' remains a cultural phenomenon in Serbia and the former Yugoslavia. The architectural similarities between Belgrade and Peckham, where the show is set, contribute to its resonance. Fans and locals express nostalgia and admiration for Challis and the show's characters, highlighting a shared cultural mentality.

Kosovo election: Opposition parties claim win

07 Oct 2019  |  BBC
Opposition parties Vetevendosje and the Democratic League (LDK) have claimed the greatest number of votes in Kosovo's general election, each expected to win about 25%. The election was called after Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj resigned to face questioning by a war crimes court. Vetevendosje, an anti-establishment Albanian nationalist movement, and the LDK, Kosovo's oldest party, failed to form a coalition before the election and may take weeks to negotiate a new government. Former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army faced electoral losses due to voter dissatisfaction with corruption and lack of development. Haradinaj's party is set to win only 10% of the vote.

Bosnia in spat with Croatia over 'arms in mosques'

19 Apr 2019  |  BBC
Bosnia has sent a diplomatic note of protest to Croatia over allegations that Croatia's Security Intelligence Agency coerced Bosnian Muslims into smuggling weapons to justify claims of Islamist threats. The controversy involves Bosnia's Security Minister Dragan Mektic, who is under investigation for allegedly revealing secret information. The situation highlights ongoing ethnic tensions and political gamesmanship in the region, with nationalist politicians in Bosnia-Herzegovina maintaining strong ties to parties in Croatia and Serbia.

Brutalist concrete of old Yugoslavia inspires new generation

28 Jan 2019  |  BBC News
The brutalist architecture of old Yugoslavia, particularly in New Belgrade, is gaining international attention and inspiring a new generation. An exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art and the increasing interest in brutalist architecture have made New Belgrade a destination for enthusiasts. YugoTour, guided by Natalija Ugljevarevic, takes advantage of this trend, showcasing the area's urban design and social housing. Despite the positive attention, many of the concrete structures are in disrepair, highlighting the challenge of maintenance and preservation. Yugodom, a 'stay-over museum' in Belgrade's old town, offers guests an immersive experience of Yugoslav design from the 1970s and 1980s.

'They dammed everything' - Bosnia's hydropower gone sour

10 Sep 2018  |  BBC News فارسی
Environmentalists in Bosnia criticize the Medna Dam on the Sana River for its negative impact on the environment, including the destruction of natural habitats and the reduction of water levels. Activists argue that Western companies exploit Bosnia's lack of stringent environmental legislation to build hydropower projects that would be prohibited in countries like Germany and Norway. Local communities, such as the Zelenkovac Eco Zone and activists like Aida Bilal, are actively protesting against these projects, emphasizing the importance of eco-tourism and local consultation. The authorities in Republika Srpska support the dam projects to meet EU energy goals, but campaigners remain unconvinced, highlighting the environmental and financial costs.

'They dammed everything' - Bosnia's hydropower gone sour

10 Sep 2018  |  BBC
Environmentalists in Bosnia criticize the Medna Dam on the Sana River for its negative impact on the environment and local communities. Campaigners argue that Western companies exploit Bosnia's lack of stringent environmental legislation to build dams that would be prohibited in countries like Germany and Norway. Local activists, including biologist Rok Rozman and Eco Zone founder Boro Jankovic, highlight the detrimental effects on the river ecosystem and local tourism. The authorities in Republika Srpska support dam projects to meet EU goals, but activists like Aida Bilal continue to resist through legal and direct action.

Serbia protests: Anger, eggs and chanting at 'anti-dictatorship' rallies

11 Apr 2017  |  BBC
Protests have erupted in Belgrade and other Serbian cities following the presidential election victory of Aleksandar Vucic, with demonstrators accusing him of authoritarianism. The protests, largely driven by university students, criticize media bias favoring Vucic and his Progressive Party (SNS). Protesters highlight the lack of media access for opposition candidates and the influence of state-owned businesses on media coverage. The daily demonstrations feature roadblocks, chanting, and symbolic acts like carrying copies of the critical newspaper Danas.

Serbia protests: Anger, eggs and chanting at 'anti-dictatorship' rallies

10 Apr 2017  |  bbc.com
Following Serbia's presidential election on April 2, which resulted in a decisive victory for PM Aleksandar Vucic, thousands of mainly university-aged protesters have taken to the streets of Belgrade and other cities daily, decrying what they see as increasing authoritarianism. The protests are marked by the absence of political party symbols, with participants instead branding themselves as 'anti-dictatorship.' Concerns over media bias in favor of Vucic and his Progressive Party, as well as government interference, are central to the demonstrators' grievances. The protests have remained peaceful, with police exercising restraint.

Serbian satirist on white horse and in white suit shakes up vote

03 Apr 2017  |  www.bbc.com
The article discusses a surprising outcome in a recent election where a coalition, humorously named 'Hit It Hard' or 'Keep It Strong' based on translation, secured 20% of the vote. The result was unexpected and left the student, his friends, and the general public astonished by the coalition's significant electoral success.

Serbia refugees face cruel winter

11 Dec 2016  |  www.bbc.com
Doctors Without Borders [MSF] is alerting to a dire situation in Serbia, where thousands of individuals lack accommodation in the nation's asylum centers. With temperatures plunging below freezing, many are forced to sleep in derelict structures near Belgrade's main train station, as reported by correspondent Guy Delauney.

Bosnia mired in ethnic politics and frustration

04 Aug 2015  |  bbc.com
Bosnia is experiencing political challenges with its complex governance structure and ethnic divisions. The Republika Srpska's president, Milorad Dodik, is pushing for a referendum that could lead to secession by 2018, while Croat nationalists are discontent with sharing the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with Bosniaks. Political leaders' rhetoric contrasts with citizens' frustrations towards a malfunctioning state, as evidenced by protests. The Dayton peace agreement's legacy, creating divisions and patronage networks, is seen as the root of current issues. International figures are urged to take responsibility for change, while recent events may present an opportunity for Bosnia to move towards a functional future.

Kosovo's entrepreneurs hope for brighter future

26 Mar 2015  |  www.bbc.co.uk
Kosovo's entrepreneurs, like Frutomania's founder Alban Ibrahimi, are creating successful businesses despite the country's challenging economic environment. Since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo has faced high unemployment and poverty, with economic activity largely supported by remittances. The World Bank acknowledges GDP growth, but notes a large economically inactive population. The government's role in economic development is critical, yet it faces criticism for not effectively supporting business formation and combating corruption. The European Integration Minister, Bekim Collaku, recognizes the need for reforms and job creation, with hopes pinned on a new EU agreement to provide market access and funds. Success stories like Frutomania, which is now exporting regionally and to the US, demonstrate potential, but broader economic improvements are necessary for Kosovo's future.

EU-Russia row: Serbia offers to bang heads together

20 Jan 2015  |  BBC
Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolic suggests locking EU and Russian leaders in a room until they resolve their differences over the Ukraine conflict. Serbia, balancing its EU membership aspirations and strong ties with Russia, offers to mediate. As the new chair of the OSCE, Serbia is in a unique position but faces challenges due to its dual allegiances. The cancellation of Russia's South Stream pipeline has impacted Serbia, highlighting the need for a resolution. Nikolic acknowledges the slow pace of Serbia's EU accession, emphasizing that progress depends on the EU.

Bosnians look to dump baffling politics after protests

02 Jan 2015  |  bbc.co.uk
Bosnia-Herzegovina's complex political system, established by the Dayton Peace Agreement, is under scrutiny as citizens express discontent with the high youth unemployment and perceived political corruption. With 14 prime ministers and a tripartite presidency rotating every eight months among the major ethnic groups, the country struggles with decision-making. Mladen Ivanic, the current Serb member of the presidency, advocates for focusing on reforms over ideological disputes. Protests in 2014 have prompted calls for international intervention, and the EU, with an Anglo-German plan, is encouraging economic and social reforms without initially insisting on constitutional changes. The prospect of EU membership is seen as a way to transcend internal divisions and prevent future conflict.

Serbia's balancing act between Russia and EU

17 Oct 2014  |  BBC
Serbia showcased a significant military display in Belgrade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of its liberation from Nazi occupation, highlighting its historical ties with Russia. Despite EU expectations for Serbia to align its foreign policy with Brussels, Serbia maintains strong cultural, economic, and historical connections with Russia. This balancing act between fostering relations with Russia and aspiring for EU membership presents a complex diplomatic challenge for Serbia.

Promises of reform and recovery give rise to hope in Serbian polls

15 Mar 2014  |  bbc.com
Serbia is holding elections with the Progressive Party aiming to secure an overall majority and its leader, Aleksandar Vucic, seeking the prime minister's office. The Democratic Party is facing internal challenges, with former president Boris Tadic forming a new party. Vucic, who has renounced his ultra-nationalist past, is pushing for EU-aligned reforms to address Serbia's economic crisis. The Progressives have initiated EU accession talks and normalized relations with Kosovo, claiming to have fulfilled their promises. The opposition warns against the potential for a one-man regime under Vucic. The election outcome will impact ongoing negotiations with Kosovo and the EU accession process.

Explaining Cambodia's 'mystery illness'

12 Jul 2012  |  BBC News فارسی
A mystery illness in Cambodia, initially causing panic, was identified as the EV71 virus, a common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Cambodia's Ministry of Health collaborated to identify the virus, but the WHO faced criticism for causing unnecessary alarm. The incident highlighted the severe health challenges in Cambodia, where poor living conditions and lack of sanitation contribute to high child mortality rates.

Cambodia's railway system is set to join the modern era

18 Oct 2010  |  bbc.com
Cambodia's railway system is undergoing modernization, with the Phnom Penh to coast line already renovated and the rest of the tracks to be renewed in the coming years. An Australian-Cambodian joint venture, Toll Royal Railway, has been granted the rights to operate the railway for 30 years, focusing initially on goods services. The Asian Development Bank has funded the majority of the restoration, which is expected to improve Cambodia's access to regional and global markets. The traditional 'bamboo railway' is on borrowed time due to the upgrades, which will allow trains to run at speeds unsafe for the makeshift transport.

Tears and disbelief at Duch verdict

26 Jul 2010  |  BBC News فارسی
The sentencing of Comrade Duch, who oversaw the torture and murder of thousands during the Pol Pot era in Cambodia, to a term that could see him free in 19 years, has sparked disbelief and outrage among survivors and observers. Chum Mey, a survivor of the S-21 detention center, and Theary Seng, who lost her parents in the Khmer Rouge detention center, expressed their dissatisfaction with the verdict. The Duch trial, conducted by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia with support from donor countries and the UN, aimed to provide international standards of justice and strengthen the Cambodian court system. While Cambodian co-prosecutor Chea Leang was satisfied with the sentence, international deputy co-prosecutor Bill Smith's response was more measured, indicating a review of the judgement.

Khmer Rouge trial raises hope of justice

20 Nov 2007  |  news.bbc.co.uk
The first defendant at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Comrade Duch, appeared in court, signaling the start of the tribunal after years of delays. Duch, charged with crimes against humanity for his role at Tuol Sleng prison, is appealing for bail after eight years in jail without trial. The tribunal has faced budget overruns and time constraints, with officials indicating the need for more funds and time beyond the planned 2009 end date. The recent arrests of senior Khmer Rouge leaders like Ieng Sary and Khieu Samphan have sparked optimism and public interest in Cambodia, with many hoping for justice.

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