Serbia monitoring report: Public service broadcasters are (not) in the service of citizens

The Law on Public Service Broadcasting (2014) in Serbia clearly defines the public interest that must be equally served by both public service broadcasters (PSBs), Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) and Radio Television of Vojvodina (RTV).

However, the law fails to define who, in what way and with what consequences will control the realization of public interest in PSBs and additionally professionally and ethically burden public broadcasters by proscribing state budget financing for them. Perhaps at this moment the state budget financing has contributed to the financial stability of the PSBs after difficult periods during 2013 and 2014 when the revenues from the subscription fees dropped to an insignificant level and the survival, especially of RTV, was seriously brought into question. But at the same time, as the results of this research show, independence and the balancing as well as diversity and pluralism in editorial policy of both PSBs, with state budget financing is compromised. That is true to a greater extent of the national RTS, which has larger coverage zone, audience and program production capacities.

This report aims to analyse how the public interest is reflected in the news programs of PSBs in Serbia after adoption of the new Law on Public Service Broadcasting in August 2014. It is based on the critical discourse analysis of central newscasts in the Serbian and Hungarian languages, aired by the Public Service Broadcasting of Serbia and Public Service Broadcasting of Vojvodina (RTS and RTV). Results were compared to the reports that were made deploying a similar methodology in the past three years.

The monitoring report was published in 2015 by SEE Media Observatory project, implemented by a group of SEENPM members since 2013, which stands for media integrity and journalism that serves public interest. The report is part of the effort to monitor the implementation of new media legislation in Serbia.

Download the report in English

Download the report in Serbian 

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