The fourth conference Media in Diaspora, Media for Diaspora, organized by the Ministry of Religion and Diaspora, the Ministry of Culture, Media and the Information Society, the Serbian Journalists Association and the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia, is underway in Belgrade The main objective of the Belgrade conference is to connect journalists and editors of print and electronic media from the region, Europe and the world with their colleagues from Serbia. Olivera Milovanovic and Mladen Bijelic have more.
While opening the conference Media in Diaspora, Media for Diaspora, Minister Srdjan Sreckovic said that the media is a powerful and deadly propaganda tool of the dominant influence on politics, social processes and the image of peoples and countries. He reminded that the first Serbian media were launched in the diaspora, almost two and a half centuries ago, when Slavoserbian Magazine was founded in Italy in 1768 and Serbian Newspaper in Austria in 1813. At the time the magazines opened up a window into the world for Serbia, while today, their role is not only to inform our people in the Diaspora, but also to influence the public opinion, both in the homeland and abroad, Sreckovic underlined.
Today, 90 electronic, print and internet editions operate abroad in at least 25 countries, where one-third of the citizens are of Serbian descent. According to Minister Sreckovic, the meeting in Belgrade is an opportunity for both home and diaspora media to get to know each other better and to cooperate. The previous conference proved that such meetings are fruitful, as many recommendations and conclusions have been realized, or their implementation is in progress. Sreckovic called on the Serbian media that whenever their commercial interest is not at risk, to give materials, information and the latest technological tools to media in the Diaspora, free of charge or for a symbolic fee, with the aim to improve Serbia’s image in the world jointly. Another equally important goal of cooperation between the media in the Diaspora and the homeland is to strengthen and develop national, linguistic, religious and cultural identity of the Serbs abroad, who should be integrated into the societies where they reside, yet not assimilated, Minister Sreckovic said.
At the opening, the conference participants were also addressed by Serbian Journalists Association President Ljiljana Smajlovic, a member of the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia’s Executive Committee Senka Vlatkovic and President of the Assembly of Diaspora and Serbs in the region Slavomir Gvozdenovic.
The working part of the conference consists of two sessions: "Radio Television Serbia as a Public Service of the Diaspora" and "The Crisis of the Media in the Diaspora." Participating in the first session, Director of International Radio Serbia Milorad Vujovic said that cooperation with the diaspora and the diaspora media represents the orientation program of our Radio. "Every day we send a wealth of information from Serbia and about Serbia to all parts of the world. The program is intended for the international public and our diaspora. In addition to daily news, we broadcast information from economy, culture, sports, and special shows and regular features are fully devoted to our tradition, customs, cultural heritage, natural beauty of our country, tourism and ecology. These are also the most common interests of our listeners and website visitors with whom we are in constant communication, reviewing many suggestions for features they might expect from us. According to the current social moment, our priorities include the field of European integration, EU standards and the state and its institutions’ capability to accept foreign investments, and investments in Serbia. Such topics are handled in our features "A Step Closer to Business", "Europe and Us" and "In the Focus", said Vujovic.
He reminded that last year, our media house started broadcasting the video news in foreign languages, and an interactive map of "Beautiful Serbia", which takes visitors on a tour of important sites, cultural monuments, natural beauty, tourist attractions, historical graves across Serbia. Speaking of new projects, Director Vujovic said that the project “The National Treasury of Kosovo and Metohija" is underway, where, within our regular broadcasts as well as on our website, we will be presenting audio, video and written editions concerning Serbian holy sites. In addition to those known as the universal world heritage, we will be informing our audience about the lesser-known but extremely valuable sites that are at the same time a striking trace of our historical, cultural, spiritual and overall existence in these territories.