Tuesday, July 29, 2014


RFE/RL's Balkan Service

RFE/RL's Balkan Service is the only inclusive source of news in a region where genuine media freedom remains elusive and many outlets reflect ethnic divisions.

 

Fast Facts

  • Languages: Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Serbian
  • Established: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian: 1994; Kosovo Albanian: 1999; Montenegrin: 2000; Macedonian: 2001
  • Distribution: Radio (FM, satellite), television, Internet (3 websites in 6 languages, mobile, social media)
  • Coverage: Radio: seven hours/day, Bosnian TV: 30 min/week, Macedonian TV: 10 min/week
  • Affiliates: 199 affiliate radio & TV stations in Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia, and Montenegro
  • Offices: Prague, Belgrade, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje
  • Staff: 15 (Prague), 39 in local bureaus, and 145 stringers

 

 

Media Environment

  • Defamation laws vary throughout the region. Most of the region has decriminalized defamation, but there are consistent threats that limit the effectiveness of this and hurt press freedom.
  • Limits on freedom of expression arise primarily from close ties between political parties, large corporations, and media outlets. Violence against and arrests of journalists have been reported after unfavorable coverage of government and business leaders. Self-censorship is relatively common.

 

 

Highlights

 

  • RFE/RL’s Balkan Service is the only news media that engages all sides of the various Balkan divides
  • The Service broadcasts a daily 60-minute regional show through affiliates in Bosnia, Montenegro, and Serbia, focusing on stories of regional interest.
  • Its most popular program, “Bridge,” encourages dialogue and understanding by bringing together people of diverse backgrounds. In 2010, the program facilitated the first ever communication between the mayor of Belgrade and the mayor of Sarajevo.
  • The service launched a new website, "Ukraine: A Balkan Outlook," to provide targeted, English-language coverage of the Ukraine crisis’ reverberations in the Balkans.
  • In Serbia, RFE/RL was the only media outlet to air both news of the charges filed against Ratko Mladic and the voices of survivors of Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo. In a situation where almost half of the population does not consider Mladic guilty of any crime, RFE/RL is changing the dominant perception of the recent Balkan wars by interviewing survivors, human rights lawyers, and victims' family members. An RFE/RL journalist in Belgrade helped to uncover the role of Serbian transportation companies in moving the bodies of Srebrenica victims to cover up the massacre.
  • In Kosovo, RFE/RL fights the fear of “others” and functions as an ice-breaker on sensitive issues.
  • In Bosnia, RFE/RL stresses tolerance and a diversity of views beyond any particular majority ethnic group, focusing on E.U. integration and inter-entity cooperation across the Balkans.
  • In Macedonia, RFE/RL is considered the most reliable and professional source of information.


updated: 10 July 2014


Facts & Stats


BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Population

3.834 million (World Bank estimate, 2012)

Most Common Languages:
Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Partly Free, ranked 103 out of 197 (2014)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
66 out of 180 (2014)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
72 out of 183 (2013)

Global Peace Index (IES):
71 out of 162 (2012)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Bosnia (2013)

Amnesty International:
Bosnia Report (2013)

KOSOVO

Population
1.806 million (World Bank estimate, 2012)

Languages:
Albanian, Serbian

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Partly Free, ranked 98 out of 197 (2014)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
80 out of 180 (2014)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
105 out of 183 (2013)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Kosovo (2012)

MACEDONIA

Population
2.106 million (World Bank estimate, 2012)

Most Common Languages:
Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Romany

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Partly Free, ranked 122 out of 197 (2014)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
123 out of 180 (2014)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
69 out of 183 (2013)

Global Peace Index (IES):
79 out of 162 (2012)

Amnesty International:
Macedonia Report (2013)

MONTENEGRO

Population

621,100 (World Bank estimate, 2012)

Languages:
Montenegrin, Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian, Croatian

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Partly Free, ranked 78 out of 197 (2014)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
114 out of 180 (2014)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
75 out of 183 (2013)

Global Peace Index (IES):
81 out of 158 (2012)

Amnesty International:
Montenegro Report (2013)

SERBIA

Population

7.224 million (World Bank estimate, 2012)

Most Common Languages:
Serbian, Hungarian, Bosniak, Romany

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Partly Free, ranked 74 out of 197 (2014)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
54 out of 180 (2014)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
80 out of 183 (2013)

Global Peace Index (IES):
64 out of 158 (2012)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Serbia (2013)

Amnesty International:
Serbia Report (2013)