|Title||Political history of the Serbian media in transition (2000-2006)|
This study examines unique features of the media transformation in Serbia 2000-2006. How does reform of the media influence the process of transition from dictatorship to democracy? Do the media have any meaningful impact on tempo and character of change? My initial assumption (hypothesis) was that the media have significant influence and that their impact is considerable.
Expectations that a new legal framework alone would automatically produce a democratic environment were wrong. This study demonstrates that the media cannot accelerate the transition process, nor bridge the gap in democratic culture, because the tempo and extent of the media reform is set by the political elite through political culture and institutions. Partially successful transformation of Radio Television Serbia into a public service broadcaster shows that mere introduction of regulatory models from mature democracies into a country without a democratic tradition does not guarantee desired results/outcomes.
The role and impact of foreign actors in transformation of the Serbian media was different in comparison with Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Kosovo for example. In Serbia, as a sovereign country, the international actors were present in an advisory role, unlike in aforementioned UN protectorates, but were more actively involved than in other post-communist countries.
Abundance of media outlets call for a new citizen - one who is more analytical and capable of putting together scattered pieces of information. Such a new citizen, fundamentally different from the old socialist subject, understands that even "gospel truths" are not absolute, and chooses own way how to engage in political life.
There is no one grand theory of transition with prescribed steps and predicted outcomes that can accommodate different country experiences. Such a process is always local - reflecting political, cultural and ethnic features of the country in question. However, it seems certain that the changes in Serbia are irreversible.