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High professionalism with limited reach: Media self-regulation in Serbia

The critical assessment of ethical codes and the self-regulatory media framework in Serbia which forms the basis of this research report has been conducted in parallel with the adoption of new media laws (the Law on Public Information and Media and the Law on Electronic Media). During the public debate regarding the new Law on Public Information and Media, the role, significance, and influence of the Press Council, as the unique self-regulatory body in the country, were discussed. The working group responsible for drafting this law accepted a proposal that print and online media outlets that do not recognise the jurisdiction of the Press Council and violate the Serbian Journalists’ Code of Ethics cannot receive funding through public competitions.


Therefore, the focus of this research is on the role, significance, and capacities of the self-regulatory body, as well as the possibilities for media self-regulation, particularly in the context of challenges posed by the online environment and the political situation in the country. Along with this critical issue, the content, clarity, and applicability of the Serbian Journalists’ Code of Ethics were also considered. By addressing these questions, this research aims to determine the necessary steps to further improve self-regulation. 


For the purposes of this research, a desktop analysis of the existing self-regulatory framework in the country was conducted, along with seven in-depth interviews and one focus group with media experts, media professionals,
representatives from the academic community, and media associations.


The interviews and focus group were conducted in April and May 2023. The research was carried out as part of the project “Our Media: A civil society action to generate media literacy and activism, counter polarisation and promote dialogue”, which is implemented with the financial support of the European Union and in partnership with SEENPM, Albanian Media Institute, Kosovo Press Council, Macedonian Institute for Media, Novi Sad School of Journalism, Peace Institute, and Bianet.


You can download the publication here.

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