Media in Serbia: from post-Tito to today [March 2005]
From the second half of the 1980s, as the rumblings of the disintegration of Tito's Yugoslavia could be heard, the media took on an increasingly influential role in preparing the terrain for the imminent war. In this respect, the Serbian media reflect the evolution and escalation of events in those years and even more so does the oldest Balkan newspaper, the daily Politika. From being an independent daily newspaper, it went under the control of the socialists, then became the liberticidal drum of Slobodan Milošević. Despite this, between the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, Serbia could be distinguished for having some of the first independent media. Daily papers, weeklies, radio and TV produced quality information during the war and continue to do so today. The Serbian hopes for a real change in the political and social situation, starting with Milošević's exit in October 2000, were shattered with the killing of Prime Minister Zoran Ðinđić on March 12th 2003. The state of emergency, proclaimed in order to deal with this assassination - which shook an already socially fragile country - had serious repercussions on the work of the Serbian media. The temporary change of power after the death of Ðinđić, and the elections which handed over the government to Vojislav Koštunica have not yet allowed the media a change of outlook. Political control remains constant, as does the absence of suitable legislation to regulate the behaviour of the country's media, penalising the professionalism of media outlets, at times determining whether they survive.
Author: Luka Zanoni