Local media in Serbia are in a terrible position; reporters have financial difficulties and highly aggravated working conditions, journalists have told N1 on Thursday.
That motivated the ‘Danas’ (Today) daily to launch the ‘Danas at the Local’ project in ten places in Serbia to enable access to fundamental news about life in their communities to millions of people who were deprived of such information.
The list of places will be extended in future, and a print edition of local news is planned as of January.
Vukasin Obradovic, the editor of ‘Danas at the Local’ edition, said the situation with local media changed in 2012 when President Aleksandar Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) came to power.
„The situation changes; free media in local communities come under pressure with privatisation and new media. The media picture changes drastically, and in 2021 it’s at the lowest level ever,“ Obradovic said.
Natalija Jakovljevic, a local correspondent, described the media situation in the northern Subotica town as „catastrophic.
„Local problems are invisible to ‘big media,’ except when something serious happens. We have many affairs at the local level, but they don’t reach the broader public and only a handful of the media report on them, she said.
Her colleague from the western town of Uzice Nenad Kovacevic said that their extremely bad material position also destroyed local reporting quality and journalists’ enthusiasm. Salaries are miserable, he added.
Kovacevic said that in the last several years, the regime was trying to influence local media and that some new websites under its control appeared.
Local correspondents said another difficulty in their professional reporting was that their communities were small, and everyone knew everyone. That creates additional pressure, they agree.
‘Danas at the Local’ aims to provide information vital for everyday life in such communities and deal with issues that are either not interesting for mainstream media or buried by the outlets under the regime control.