There are unprecedented levels of obscenity in Serbia’s media landscape, driven by the powerful network of state-backed media, amid the election campaign ahead of the December 17 snap general election called by the country’s increasingly autocratic President Aleksandar Vucic earlier this autumn to reassert his grip on the country, reported IntelliNews.com.
The blatant use of vulgarities and aggressiveness in the Serbian media environment would not have been possible without the near complete subjugation of the media environment to the will of the government. A persistent feature of the Serbian media, this has intensified as December 17 approaches, reported IntelliNews.com.
Marko Milosavljevic, a member of the Committee of Experts on Media Sustainability (MSI-RES) at the Council of Europe and head of the Communication Department at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, told bne IntelliNews in an interview that the media situation in Serbia is “very bleak” with the “media landscape almost completely controlled by the government”.
“Tabloids in Serbia are tabloids without any restrictions and not susceptible to any punitive action by any regulatory body either for print, electronic media or ethical regulators,” Milosavljevic says.
“I cannot imagine a newsstand in an EU capital where one of the newspapers’ front page would contain a headline with the word “c**t,” another with the word “c**k,” and a third about how someone should be killed, openly calling for violence in places such as Kosovo,” Milosavljevic adds.
He recalls the case of the legendary Serbian singer Djordje Balasevic, who was called a “Panonian c**t” in a headline by tabloid Informer in response to Balasevic’s criticism of the Serbian government.
“When we talk about the aggressiveness and vulgarity of these tabloids and TV stations, we see there are no limits,” Milosavljevic says.
The tone and content of Serbian pro-government media were singled out for criticism in the wave of mass protests in summer 2023, when two mass shootings within days of each other prompted thousands of Serbs to take to the streets to call for a ‘Serbia without violence’. Ahead of the December general election, opposition parties have announced they will work together under the ‘Serbia without violence’ banner, though the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is widely expected to score another victory, reported IntelliNews.
Read the full article at IntelliNews.com.