Monitoring of media in Serbia during the election campaign 2016

Open society foundation
1.03. – 30. 06. 2016.

In the context of the upcoming elections, to be held at all levels of government in Serbia this year, it is necessary to pay attention to the media as they are, together with the political parties, holders of the election process. Namely, every campaign of political parties is public and for the most part published in the media. Analysing the attitude of the media towards the participants in the campaign, the media in Serbia should provide answers to these questions: what is the interest of citizens in Vojvodina and Serbia and what kind of the important political information they need to acquire during the campaign period. These answers should enable a more rational choice of citizens among the competitors for the best acting government. Based on the target audience, the media should decide if they are going to give a priority in reporting to the local, provincial or national elections, if they are going to pay attention to the gender perspective and the national communities, and to the ratio between the traditional and new media.

The aim of this media monitoring project is to determine to what extent specific program standards established for the media service providers (public services broadcasters and commercial media) are met during the election campaign; whether principles of impartiality and fairness in treating different political interests and different subjects are respected; whether media are committed to freedom of expression and pluralism of public opinion and the expression of cultural identity of minority ethnic communities. Additional emphasis will be put on gender equality, as well as on broadcasting content on the functioning of citizens’ associations and non-governmental organizations. Additionally, the use and development of modern technical and technological standards in program production and broadcasting will be examined.

107 media will be monitored during 30 days of the election campaign. Research corpus consists of programs of public service broadcasters, national commercial televisions, national press and local media in Serbian, Hungarian and Albanian language in 17 cities in Serbia. Novi Sad School of Journalism, in cooperation with the following organizations: Center for Support of Women – Kikinda, Zajecar Initiative, Generator – Vranje, Council for Human Rights – Bujanovac, Educational Center – Leskovac, Alternative Girls’ Center – Kruševac, Center for Humanistic Studies – Niš and Sandzak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms, manages a team of 50 researchers who conduct monitoring using the unique methodology for media discourse analysis. Monitoring results will be presented at the public presentations and in a printed publication, to be issued by the end of 2016.

The project is funded by the Open Society Foundation.

Project coordinator: Marina Kovačev, marina.k@novinarska-skola.org.rs

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