The annual analysis of the main stations, that broadcast on national frequency, conducted by the Centre for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA), showed a markedly unequal representation of government and opposition in the news.
From July 2020 to the end of June 2021, representatives of the governing political party occupied up to 93% of the air time in political programmes, while opposition representatives featured in the remaining 7%.
The government was mostly reported about in a neutral (63%) and positive tone (37%) on national TV programmes (on TV stations like RTS, Pink, Prva, Happy and B92), while the opposition was mostly described negatively (57% of the air time allocated to them). A slightly higher percentage of opposition representation in some months increased negative reporting.
Over the past year, the trend of a massive media presence of Aleksandar Vučić has continued. The President of Serbia and the Serbian Progressive Party was given half of the total air time devoted to domestic politicians in the news.
“The trend of unequal access to the media, which characterised the period before the parliamentary elections, continues, and was only briefly interrupted by a somewhat more balanced media reporting during the official campaign period,” the statement reads and adds: “Such bias in the central news media is worrying given that, in Serbia, television is still the medium through which the largest number of citizens are informed, mainly through nationwide television coverage, in relation to which the influence of cable channels is almost negligible.”
The TV presence of the Serbian President is a regular event. In addition to being covered by the main newspapers, a large number of live speeches by President Vučić, addressed to citizens, are continuously aired, both through direct media coverage of various events and through guest appearances on TV programmes.
In recent months, there has clearly been a significant increase in live speeches. The President addressed citizens live every other day from October 2020 to March 2021, while he gave speeches almost daily in the period from March to the end of June.
This post is also available in: Italiano