The territory of the province, as recognized by Serbian laws, lies in the southern part of Serbia and covers the regions of Kosovo and Metohija. The capital of the province is Pristina. The territory was previously an autonomous province of Serbia during Socialist Yugoslavia (1946–1990), and acquired its current status in 1990. The province was governed as part of Serbia until the Kosovo War (1998–99), when it became United Nations (UN) protectorate, but still internationally recognized as part of Serbia. The control was then transferred to the UN administration of UNMIK. In 2008, Kosovo authorities unilaterally declared independence, which is recognized by 111 UN members, but not by Serbia which still regards it as its province.
In 1990, the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, an autonomous province of Serbia within Yugoslavia, had undergone the Anti-bureaucratic revolution by Slobodan Milošević's government which resulted in the reduction of its powers, effectively returning it to its constitutional status of 1971–74. The same year, its Albanian majority – as well as the Republic of Albania – supported the proclamation of an independent Republic of Kosova. Following the end of the Kosovo War 1999, and as a result of NATO intervention, Serbia and the federal government no longer exercised de facto control over the territory.
In February 2008, the Republic of Kosovo declared independence. While Serbia has not formally recognised Kosovo's independence, in the Brussels agreement of 2013, it abolished all its institutions in the Autonomous Province. Kosovo's independence is recognised by 113 UN member states. In 2013, the Serbian government announced it was dissolving the Serb minority assemblies it had created in northern Kosovo, in order to allow the integration of the Kosovo Serb minority into the general population of Kosovo.
Constitutional changes were made in Yugoslavia in 1990. The parliaments of all Yugoslavian republics and provinces, which until then had MPs only from the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, were dissolved and multi-party elections were held within them. Kosovar Albanians refused to participate in the elections so they held their own unsanctioned elections instead. As election laws required (and still require) turnout higher than 50%, a parliament in Kosovo could not be established.
The new constitution abolished the individual provinces' official media, integrating them within the official media of Serbia while still retaining some programs in the Albanian language. The Albanian-language media in Kosovo were suppressed. Funding was withdrawn from state-owned media, including those in the Albanian language in Kosovo. The constitution made the creation of privately owned media possible, however their operation was very difficult because of high rents and restrictive laws. State-owned Albanian language television or radio was also banned from broadcasting from Kosovo. However, privately owned Albanian media outlets appeared; of these, probably the most famous is "Koha Ditore", which was allowed to operate until late 1998 when it was closed after publishing a calendar glorifying ethnic Albanian separatists.