Local media and election campaigning

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BIRN Serbia, together with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe mission in Serbia organised in April, two workshops in Novi Pazar and Novi Sad for journalists and editors from local media in order to help them cover and understand the political campaign.

The event was separated into two sessions. The first focused on the legal framework, the obligations of the media in campaigns and the use of different kind of election polls.

Rade Veljanovski, a professor from Belgrade’s Faculty of Political Science gave a wide overlook of the actual conditions in Serbia and introduced participants to best European practice. He stressed that the situation in the Serbian media is not appropriately regulated because of the lack of good legislative and the absence of professional independent organisations.

Djordje Vukovic, a researcher from election monitoring body, CESID explained the difference between professionally-implemented research and false election polls whose authors are dubious. He said journalists must be aware when getting results of election polls from an undefined source.

Zoran Stanojevic from RTS presented his experience from covering the election campaigns. He compared Serbian media coverage practice with US-based media and said that here we do not have a thematic approach which is crucial in western media. He said that there was no space for real debates of the main political players because they did not show interest in taking part in that kind of programme.

Slobodan Basic and Nadezda Milenkovic gave the participants a possibility to look behind the campaign’s main stage and to understand how electoral teams work. They explained the point of view of party members and their chancellors and the way of formulating main ideas for the campaign. Basic and Milenkovic explained the different strategies and the importance of marketing and public relations in the campaigns in Serbia.