Books Censorship Chapter Chapter Summaries February 2009 Serbia


Since their emergence, Serbian media have been stained by the censorship, the worst nightmare of every journalist. According to free definition, censorship presents the attack on public thought, word and letter reshaping it to propaganda that honors single-mindedness. Manipulative Communism of Tito was built on persecution and incarceration of people that did not share his political views at the beginning of 70’s. It is believed that, at the time, Tito had imprisoned the brightest minds of Yugoslavia in one of the cruelest prisons ever built, Goli Otok. Still, the darkest period for freedom of media in territory of ex Yugoslavia is without a doubt ten years long dictatorship of Slobodan Milosevic. He had made a huge effort using both human and material resources to turn the National Television into an instrument for deliverance of false information and deception of public. In demonstrations on October the 5th 2000, Radio Television of Serbia, popular TV Bastion, was demolished and set on fire. Censorship in Serbia today is really impossible to compare with one in the time of communism or the Milosevic’s era, but it seems that this repressive measure still exists in Serbian society.  The last flood of opposed opinions was caused by Serbian Agency for Radio Diffusion with Nenad Cekic on its front which two years ago has conducted an action of so called “cleansing of the situation on air” which left several thousands of journalist jobless. Agency for Radio Diffusion at the time has banned the work of one of the most popular TV stations “BK” through some really suspicious arguments. In the process of cutting off public media, eminent student radio station SKC was shut down, and it was the radio station that carried out a significant weight throughout the changes that occurred on October 5th 2000. There are some doubts that censorhip was imposed on February 17th 2008, when USA accepted the separation of Kosovo. American TV shows and movies automatically dissapppeared from program scheme of RTS and were replaced with Russian and Serbian TV shows and movies that were diged out of the dust and aired. Whereas the director of RTS claimed that there is no censorship on the National Television and that all of the TV shows and movies were canceled, not only the American ones, because of large number of imposed programs dedicated to Kosovo. When he was asked to comment on this unusual program change, director of RTS shortly explained that the “Russian/Serbian special” was given the advantage because episodes are short and they fit current program scheme.

Following examples are to show that his arguments are not factual. Episode of TV show Degrassi lasts for 35 minutes and its substitute, Serbian show “Stizu Dolari”, lasts for 55 minutes; CSI Miami lasts for 45 minutes on average, and imposed substitutes “Glava Secera” and “Gde cveta limun zut” last for 62 and 95 minutes…
The censorship that has been deeply rooted in our media space for generations is very difficult to eliminate. The impresion is that the young and unexperienced serbian democracy needs to create public opinion through its manipulatively directed news broadcasters and thus make some kind of balance with its opponents that have been using that same course of action for years. The opening of an independent student radio and TV station sponsored from the  government budget, through which young jurnalists could gain experience for symbolic financial compensation, probably would not eliminate censorship, but would definitely brighten up our media discourse. Through political flux show broadcasts and sports and cultural programs, students would be able to send their voice in the air and thus acquire the necessary expirience that one day would help them to conscientiously and fairly inform the citizens.  Colledges should have its official premises for practical classes, and all future journalists the opportunity to try and work in desired departments before finishing college. Studio and equipment is possible to loan from above mentioned BK television because no one is currently using it, and the same company is the owner of one private university in Serbia which deals with education of future film and tv directors, picture and sound editors, and producers which also need experience in the realization of tv and radio programs. Cheap and useful fusion, isn’t it?  If you go from the idea that journalism is not simply about informing the public, but also to a considerable extent influence creation of a social conscience, than we need such an institution which would, in practice, present the traps and tricks used by various centers of power to achieve a particular interest.

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