The media environment in Serbia has been extremely contaminated for years. From public television to the most peripheral portals, they are either under the management of the ruling party members or under their control. An exception to this is the Danas newspaper and N1 TV, but their challenge seems quite big. The disconnection of media control from politics in Serbia, with the advent of change after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic’s regime, seems to have resumed with the 2012 link when Aleksandar Vucic came to power. The level of press freedom began to decline, consideration for freedom of expression was lost, while laws and professional standards governing the functioning of the media, even by international reports, were seen as suppressed. Social polarisation has reached alarming heights because of the media violence that citizens consume every day from all types of media. Mainly, this happens through misinformation, partial information, daily outlets reflecting the policies and will of the government and the powers that be. From promoting nationalism to glorifying every action of the Russian Federation, these are the main lines that the media in Serbia has to live by.
Two years after Aleksandër Vucic came to power, his regime also initiated changes in the media sector with an Information Law. The same was approved in 2014, after many complications, where this law provided, among other things, for the privatisation of all state/public media. This also affects those media that were founded by non-Serb ethnic communities. With the introduction of the law as a new reform, the rise of these media outlets has been surprised by the purchase by an exponent of Vučić’s party or the closure of those media outlets that did not have a buyer. In particular, this happened with the media of ethnic communities, whose media were supported especially after the fall of the Milosevic regime by the democratic forces of the time. Through mass purchases by exponents directly or close to the Serbian Progressive Party of the media, it has come to a situation where more than seventy percent of them are controlled by media companies directly connected to the structure of the regime.
After these “reforms”, the way and type of information to citizens took on new dimensions. As media, they became the mouthpieces of the regime’s daily policies. There was no public person left who spoke or wrote critically about the regime and was not abused by newspapers, tabloids or television. With emphasis are the newspapers “Informer”, “Srpski Telegraf”, “Večernji List”, “Kurir”, “Alo” and similar. Then Happy television, Pink TV and the like. The oldest Serbian newspaper “Politika” in a structured way, is one with the official policies of Aleksandar Vučić’s regime. The violence of these media against every critic of the regime has been structured for years. Usually, these critics are targeted on morning TV programs, to continue on evening talk shows and continue newspapers the next day. The front pages of tabloids and newspapers open with persecutory headlines for all those who criticise the regime and are seeking legality in Serbia.
The opposite of this picture is the media’s approach to the figure of President Aleksandar Vučić. The glorification of Vučić reaches its peak, almost presenting him as a saint and protector of the Serbian state, culture and ethnicity. His figure is “the dominant”, “the commitment”, “the great endeavour for the protection of the Serbian people and Serbia”, “the one everyone hates”, whether internal or external enemies. In line with this approach, the media’s happiness in reporting Vučić’s commitment to work reaches its peak when it comes to Serbia’s neighbouring countries. At the moment, these media are expressing all their hatred towards each of Serbia’s neighbours. The headlines for Kosovo and Albanians go beyond Serbian nationalism, they are xenophobic, for Bosnia and Croatia they go as far as fascism, for Montenegro they rage to the point of aggression. Curses, insults and insults for everything from the West, while the admiration continues for Russia and its “suffering” in the war in Ukraine.
A tangible indicator of media violence in Serbia are the protests of the last few days, which started with slogans against violence and continued against the media. There is no record of protests against television in any democratic country. Usually they are organised against the government, but in Serbia there are also protests against television. Following the protests that began in Serbia, the ninth protest in a row, which has been taking place there for two months now, against the Serbian TV mogul TV PINK began on 1 July. Their demand was the removal of the national frequency of this TV station. The incitement to violence, which this television station has carried out with the permission of the government, by democratic circles in Serbia, is considered to be that of the public television RTS during the war years in the former Yugoslavia under the Slobodan regime. Milosevic. Protesters also demanded the removal of the national frequency of the privately-owned Happy TV station and the immediate cancellation of programmes promoting violence, immorality and aggression. B92 and PrvaTV, whose owners are close to Vucic’s party, have similar approaches.
Phenomena such as the promotion of violence, aggression, immorality, destruction of human feelings under Aleksandar Vučić’s regime in Serbia have reached their peak.
In all this media contamination, almost no one in Serbia makes an effort to talk about the democratic standards that must be met in the field of respect for national minorities in the media. Serbian radio and television, with all its channels, has no programmes for Bosnian, Albanian or Hungarian minorities, let alone programmes for other minorities, including Roma or similar. Unlike the countries in the region surrounding Serbia where public television reserves programmes or even special channels for national minorities. The standard of respect for the other by the media in Serbia is a luxury that does not pass /The Geopost/