Belgrade Insight Hosts Stand at Belgrade Book Fair

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Belgrade Insight, BIRN’s English-language newspaper, made its first appearance at the Belgrade Book Fair as part of a specialist media expo.

Vladimir Kostic (left) and Slobodan Georgiev

The expo, called Media Market, was dubbed the largest regional media event, hosting some of the leading Serbian media outlets, and according to the organisers, attracting over 150,000 visitors.

During the five-day event, the Belgrade Insight stand in Hall III of the Belgrade Fair provided a unique platform for both leading and aspiring Serbian investigative journalists to share their findings and communicate their message to the largest possible audience.

The highlight of this part of the event was the debate between BIRN’s Slobodan Georgiev and Vladimir Kostic, whose investigation into a Serbian Progressive Party financing scheme and the story which resulted from it remain a focus for independent media outlets in the country.

‘Breaking the atmosphere of fear’

“I think it is a great new opportunity for us to share and keep our stories alive longer, but also to reach people that otherwise would miss them due to the closure of the mainstream media to investigative journalism topics,” said Kostic.

“It is, I believe, crucially important to take part in events such as this one or create new ones, as they are the best possible tool for breaking the atmosphere of fear and silence. At the same time, they are also a way to create preconditions for people who have been witnesses to corruption to come forward and speak with us,” he added.

Making a step forward

“We should make the step forward and communicate our message directly to the people, and I think this is the good way to do it,” Stevan Dojcinovic, head of KRIK, the Network for Research of Crime and Corruption, told BIRN while visiting the Belgrade Insight stand, and before taking part in a debate about the pressure on investigative journalism in Serbia, on the Danas newspaper stand.

As promoting investigative journalism, Belgrade Insight reached the largest possible audience by hosting prominent writers, musicians, artists and sports personalities on its stand.

Among them were TV host Zoran Kesic, writer Ivan Tokin, former national basketball team player Dejan Koturovic, and rock musician Petar Jelic.

On Saturday, the day before the event concluded, regional pop star Ida Prester held an ‘unplugged’ mini-concert on the Belgrade Insight stand.