Publication details

Media in the Western Balkans : who controls the past controls the future



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Southeast European and Black Sea Studies
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Media freedom; Western Balkans; media financing; captured state; illiberal politics
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Description The contribution assesses the role of the media in respect to democratization and EU accession in the countries of the Western Balkans (WB) and the development of press freedom over the long run. The author closely analyses the legislative framework and its implementation in practice and focuses in particular on the economic and political pressure on the media in the region. The article offers three arguments to explain the bad shape of media freedom in the Balkans: structural factors (state advertisements as the main source of income, economic tycoons close to incumbents as media owners), proximate or external factors (the deteriorating level of media freedom in some EU countries and the whole WB region, with an accent on stability rather than democracy) and political-societal dynamics (defamation and libel as means to punish journalists, verbal and physical assaults on journalists). The media in the WB region do not serve as the watchdog of democracy but are instead used as a means to reinforce illiberal regimes.
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