Serbia Media Assistance Program
Ensure that the legal and regulatory environment for media is stronger and more transparent, effective, and stable.
• Strengthen media associations and NGOs in support of media excellence, policy reform, and advocacy.
• Assist the Serbian Government and media through the digital conversion process to help them meet the European Union mandated switchover by 2015.
• Provide training and consultation to ensure that media legislation serves an independent media environment
Increased managerial and financial capacity of independent media.
• Improve the management and economic viability of Serbian broadcast media.
• Assist partners with implementing business plans and reaching benchmark goals
• Conduct audience research and teach managers to use the results to improve sales and program schedules o Enable women to take roles of leadership and responsibility in the media world.
Enhanced quality and availability of information for citizens.
• Increase the ability of media partners to provide information to local and regional audiences through website development, journalism training, and new media project launches.
• Train journalists and production teams in covering community concerns and media coverage of reform issues.
• Support existing media centers in Serbia, especially those that help minority media and journalists.
The Serbian media sector has had one of the slower transitions in the region. Since Milosevic was ousted from power 10 years ago, the Serbian political and economic agenda has been crowded. The Kosovo question, the inability of parties committed to the democratic process and European Union integration to fully solidify its support in the country, uncertain relations with European institutions, and continuing policy and economic stagnation have all been outside issues affecting the development of the media sector, including its professionalism. The ability of journalists and their media organizations to better cover more topics depends not only on their skills but also on the degree of financial and editorial independence their outlets are able to secure.
Strengthen Legal and Regulatory Environment: IREX assesses the legal, regulatory, and business climates for media and tailors advocacy training to the specific mission of advocacy organizations. For example, the Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) is using IREX support to visit outlets and conduct workshops on issues including regulation, and the European Consulting Group (ECG) is preparing a report on privatization with opportunities for further work. IREX convenes stakeholders to form working groups that address topics such as privatization and digitalization and updates a legal handbook to enable groups to develop effective collective action.
Increase managerial and financial capacity: To strengthen the financial sustainability of independent media, IREX contracts the services of consultants who specialize in management training. Journalists also travel to neighboring countries to submit media entries in festivals and assess the market for Serbian media abroad. ANEM organized a series of discussions and workshops to determine how media can adapt to the economic challenges facing media due to the global economic crisis. A consultant will help media outlets explore the possibilities of new opportunities for extending audience reach and increasing revenue through new media. Needs assessments and mentoring help targeted media outlets complete the transition to privatization and develop strong marketing plans and visits with ad agencies help promote the importance of radio advertising.
Enhance quality and availability: Training activities promote coverage of minority issues and focus on journalists who are members of minority ethnic groups. Training programs increase the capacity of women managers as leaders, develop skills of journalists in South Serbia and the Sanzak and assist groups working to increase media professionalism, such as Media Art and its efforts to help local TV stations develop format templates that can build audiences and serve advertisers. Targeted training workshops for local environmental coverage, municipal affairs, crisis coverage, and local economic coverage, along with local coverage awards, newspaper supplements, and summer school will reinforce generalized training.
• 754 unique monthly visitors to the ANEM media sector monitoring website
• Time spent listening/watching IREX partner radio/TV stations increased 126% and 62% respectively.
• 214 journalists have received training from IREX since October 2008