89 per cent of citizens do not support Serbia joining NATO, but most of them are not familiar with the fact that there was no war in the territory of any NATO member state in recent history – the results of a survey conducted by Ninamedia agency show.
The survey was carried out under the auspices of the project of the Atlantic Council of Serbia called “Euro-Atlantic integration in the eyes of Serbian media”, which was presented today in Novi Sad.
After the presentation, the US Ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott told reporters that the survey results were not surprising because the Serbian citizens did not forget the NATO military intervention in 1999.
“We see that the number of times that the media reported about NATO is growing, but these reports remain largely negative, regardless of the fact that NATO and Serbia have been strongly cooperating through military drills, and that the overall cooperation is progressing,” Scott said.
He added that it is important that the journalism in Serbia was based on facts, and added that there were media outlets in Serbia that “simply do not want to” publish positive news about NATO.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Serbia, Arne Bjørnstad said that NATO should face challenges and change the negative image of itself in Serbia.
“What happened in 1999 is the main reason for such a negative image (of NATO). On the other hand, NATO is a military and political alliance, which provides opportunities for improving technologies and participation in humanitarian campaigns. NATO is a large family of transatlantic countries,” Bjørnstad added.
According to him, it is necessary to talk more about what kind of benefits Serbia gained from its cooperation with NATO.
The survey was conducted in late May and early June on a representative sample of 800 Serbian citizens and it showed that more than 70 per cent of the participants did not support Serbia’s membership in NATO due to the 1999 bombing.
It also showed that 73 per cent was not aware of the fact that there were no wars in the territory of the NATO-member states since they became members of the Alliance.
Journalist Milivoje Mihajlovic said that a completely negative picture of NATO dominated the tabloid press and added that the Alliance had a better image in Serbia 12 years ago.
“Since the end of 2007, the term Euro-Atlantic integration has disappeared from the public discourse, and was replaced with European integration, which was a clear indication that this was now the official policy of the state leadership,” Mihajlovic said.
He added that Serbia is surrounded by countries that are NATO members and that NATO forces are the only forces that can protect the security of Serbs in Kosovo at the given time.
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