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The entry of global media presents a challenge not only to the region’s markets and political power relations, but to their regulatory frameworks.
We enquired with the Regulatory Authority of Electronic Media in Serbia (REM ) under what conditions it had granted broadcasting licenses to , the regulatory authority replies: “The provider is providing services through a global information network and is therefore not obligated to acquire a license to provide media services from the regulator.” One could say that this legal situation speaks quite eloquently to the importance of re-examining the national regulation of how the outlets of global media operate.
Due to their language compatibility and shared cultural space, the states of former Yugoslavia apparently make for “fertile soil” in which to plant a new-old media market and to root a new-old regional audience. Sheer economic interest or a desire for political and cultural influence?
In the contexts of economic crisis and political instability, how does the arrival of these global media influence the media systems in the region’s countries?
It leads one to conclude that the interests are multi-layered, and that what, on the surface, appears as disagreement and criticism of , a Moscow-based international news agency owned by the Russian government.
“We’ve simply adapted to the local legal framework, and I think that the laws here are, in principle, quite good,” states Ljubinka Milinčić, the chief editor of is being forced to overcome in order to operate normally in other countries, particularly in the EU, its launch in Serbia has transpired with no government interference, and the outlet is operating with no difficulty whatsoever.
Prior to the launch of whose adopted versions finally allowed distributors/operators to provide content, was a direct result of lobbying efforts on the part of the United Group and KKR in Brussels and Belgrade.
According to Jugoslav Ćosić, N1 ’s programming director in Serbia, the desire of the United Group, television channel has been registered in Luxembourg and is owned by the company Adria News. is a group that produces programming, in Serbia, for its employer in Luxembourg, from whence the programming is transmitted.
The only question is whether the conduct of the media directly mirrors the power relations between political groups.
This, according to professor Snježana Milivojević, is where the true problem lies, since “democracy” and the new media context have only produced one form of pluralism, namely the pluralism based on political parallelism.
“In the countries of the region, pluralism corresponds, pound for pound, to the pluralism in politics and the parliament.
Efforts are limited to ensuring that the number of [a political party’s] representatives in the National Assembly corresponds to an appropriate number of members within [public companies’] managing boards, and to an appropriate amount of air time in the media,” professor Milivojević notes, concluding that this constitutes a “fairly vulgar parcelling of public space,” and is an indicator of how politics dominates media.
Consequently, traditional journalism, the kind practiced at television stations and in print media, has ceased performing that function,” professor Milivojević says.