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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

The EU as Valuable Mediator or Blackmailing Force: Comparative Perspectives of the EU Representation in the Serbian Media Coverage

European Politics
European Union
Social Media
Aleksandra Krstic
Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade
Aleksandra Krstic
Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade

The examination of the visibility of EU affairs in the news coverage has been rather vivid in recent decades. Previous studies focus mostly on the examination of the EU visibility in the Western European media settings. Serbia has remained underreported in contemporary scholarship, although it had gone through deep political and societal changes after breaking up with the authoritarian rule of Slobodan Milošević and became candidate country for EU accession in 2012. Given the fact that the Serbian political elite has been oriented towards the EU integration process during the transition to democracy on one side, and the high level of political parallelism identified in the national media system on the other, it can be presumed that the coverage of the EU topics would follow the general political pro-EU orientation. This paper provides an overview of the EU news coverage in the Serbian media based on the content analysis of central national newscasts of five television and four radio stations, as well as five online news portals during a three-month period in 2013. The findings show that the EU is rarely reported, with the thematic perspectives limited to daily national politics. However, while the pro-EU voices have been dominantly represented in traditional media outlets, the Eurosceptic ideas and actors are more visible in the online news coverage. In national radio and TV newscasts, the EU is represented as a holder of power that positively influences the future of the country’s EU integration process and as valuable mediator in contemporary conflicts and problems Serbia would not be able to resolve on its own. The identification of the EU as blackmailing force and an intruder that tries to degrade the political actors, the citizens and Serbia as a whole has been detected only in the narrative of online news portals.
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