Illustration: Mane Radmanović

Critical media targeted by pro-regime tabloids in Serbia 884 times during 2023

March 15, 2024

Over the course of 2023, the portals of five pro-regime tabloid newspapers (Informer, Srpski Telegraf, Alo, Večernje Novosti and Kurir) published 628 articles in which critical media or journalists were targeted 884 times, according to analysis conducted by the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation.

In 80% of cases, the targeted media outlets were those belonging to the United Group: N1 television and portal (225 times), Nova television, newspaper and portal (220) and Danas portal and newspaper (178). The progovernment tabloids also attacked many other critical media outlets and journalists.

These tabloids are known for most often being guilty of violating the Code of Journalists of Serbia, as well as for their constant harassment of independent journalists, opposition politicians, artists, scientists and other public figures who don’t support the policies of President Aleksandar Vučić.

The Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation identified four narratives that these tabloids use when reporting on critical media and journalists: defence of the cult of personality of Aleksandar Vučić; demonisation and dehumanisation of journalists; labelling journalists as traitors and mercenaries; discrediting and spreading mistrust of the media.

In almost a third of cases, the same or similar articles were published by two or all five of these tabloids, providing the basis to suspect that the tabloids receive pre-prepared articles from a central source.

Given that the tabloids and politicians utilise identical narratives and vocabulary when attacking critical journalists, the impression is created that they are working in concert, notes the analysis of the Slavko Ćuruvija Foundation.