Two landmark judgments from Montenegro seeking to end impunity for crimes against journalists

By Marija Šajkaš

March 5th, 2018

 

From as far back as when Montenegro gained independence in 2006, the country has had a reputation for being a place where family and other ties were stronger than the requirements of the law, and where nepotism and corruption were the natural state of affairs. Nevertheless, in the last couple of years, there have been some signs of improvement. The latest coming from an otherwise unimaginable direction – the courts made findings against the government, and in favor of an investigative journalist...

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A look inside Syria’s emerging feminist media

By Marija Šajkaš

January 2nd, 2018

 

Ever since she was a girl, Rula Asad wanted to be a soccer player, but her family gave her a flat-out “No.”

Even before the Arab Spring, there were a few female soccer teams in Syria, and in the 1990s, Asad’s generation, another team formed. She played soccer for three years, but when the time came for her to pick a subject in school, Asad chose media studies—so that she could remain close to soccer by covering sports. Her dream was to become a top sports journalist...

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Facebook’s “Explore Feed” Experiment Threatens Independent Voices in Serbia

By Marija Šajkaš

November 3rd, 2017

 

Facebook’s experimentation with a feed that would sideline everything but user-generated content and paid posts is threatening to separate independent journalists and civil society representatives from their audiences in Serbia.

“What is the best way to hide online content? Place it into the Explore Feed.”...

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Two-fold risk for Serbia's women journalists as attackers target their work and gender

By Marija Šajkaš

October 12th, 2017

 

"In the past five years I was publically called many things. I was an old hag, a sterile, cheap Soros' prostitute, a hooker, not f***ed enough, in need of a good prick, and destroyer of the Serbian Orthodox Church," said Tatjana Vojtehovski, a Serbian television journalist with a large presence on social media. "My response was always to publish all insults on social media. I truly believe that the best protection I could have is from...

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Efforts to stop sex-trafficking focus on hotels

By Marija Šajkaš

June 08th, 2017

 

Anneke Lucas survived being trafficked for sex not once, but twice.

“I was 9 years old when an elderly English-speaking man took me to the United States in his jet and sex-trafficked me in a luxurious hotel,” says Lucas, an anti-trafficking advocate and the founder of the nonprofit organization Liberation Prison Yoga.

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‘A fate worse than death itself’: Women seek the remains of loved ones in the former Yugoslavia

By Marija Šajkaš

April 25, 2017

 

In the languages of the former Yugoslavia “suza” means “tear.” And in the more than 20 years that have passed since the end of the wars that dismantled the country in the 1990s, it seems that there is one, very last tear that many mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters cannot shed until the mortal remains of their closest kin are found, identified, and properly buried. Despite the decades that have passed, there are some 10,700 individuals still unaccounted for, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross...

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How influence of Russian media risks making Serbia a Moscow bureau

By Marija Šajkaš / CPJ Guest Blogger

October 20th, 2016

 

For a couple of days last month, uninformed tourists visiting Serbia could easily have believed that the country is a Russian outpost. With large photos of Vladimir Putin on their covers, Serbian tabloids--by far the biggest source of print information in the country--were engaged in a discussion over whether the Russian President would defend Serbia and its contested part of Kosovo, or trade it for recognition of Crimea. Added to that were front-page headlines evoking Cold War rhetoric, including the government-controlled Informer's September 20 edition...

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Captured News Media: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro

By Milka Tadić Mijović and Marija Šajkaš

June, 2016

 

During the 1990s, the countries of the former Yugoslavia went through a series of ethnic wars culminating in at least 100,000 lost lives, economic devastation, and suspension of basic human rights. For most of that turbulent era and immediately after the wars, it was independent media in the region that were organizing and unifying civil society, giving voice to political dissent, repairing broken connections, and fighting the narratives of war propaganda. Their work was at times heavily supported by a number of international donors, and after the signing of the peace accord in Dayton in the United States in 1995, that support was multiplied and extended...

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Caught between the East and West: The “Media War” intensifies in Serbia and Montenegro

By Guest | Europe and Eurasia, Funding

March 10th, 2016

 

For a couple of days last month, uninformed tourists visiting Serbia could easily have believed that the country is a Russian outpost. With large photos of Vladimir Putin on their covers, Serbian tabloids--by far the biggest source of print information in the country--were engaged in a discussion over whether the Russian President would defend Serbia and its contested part of Kosovo, or trade it for recognition of Crimea. Added to that were front-page headlines evoking Cold War rhetoric, including the government-controlled Informer's September 20 edition...

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Creating Sustainable Media in the Balkans

By Valerie Sinden Europe and Eurasia, Sustainability

April 3rd, 2015

 

CIMA hosted a talk-show style discussion this week on the precarious situation for media in the Balkans, featuring Milka Tadic Mijovic of the Weekly Monitor and Marija Sajkas of the Media Diversity Institute.  The panel, on April 2, opened with moderator Ivana Cvetkovic Bajrovic , NED’s senior program officer for Europe, setting the stage for why the conversation matters, especially in Washington where shifting priorities create an environment where massive investment may not necessarily have the follow up needed to truly improve a media environment.

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From the Cradle of the Nation to the Most Expensive Serbian Word:

Changes in Serbian Public Language in the Last Decade of the Twentieth Century

August 14th, 2008

 

The words people use reflect their view of the world. In totalitarian societies the primary goal of a regime's language is to influence public opinion. A closer inspection of the most exploited phrases in Serbian public discourse in the period of the late 1980s until 2000 reveals a strong presence of propagandist language. Thus, it can be argued that the consequences of Slobodan Milosevic's politics are visible not only in the devastation of the people and the country but also in the sphere of Serbian public discourse. It is not only that his politics influenced the language. Rather, it is precisely because of the rich and diversified propaganda language of the regime that Slobodan Milosevic was able to maintain his firm grip on power in Serbia for 13 years....

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Transitional Justice and the Role of the Media in the Balkans

Discussion Paper
Prepared for the International Center for Transitional Justice by Marija Šajkaš

August, 2003

Analysis and reflection on the impact of the media’s reporting, both during and since the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, has been starkly limited within the transitional justice context. To be fair, there is little dedicated focus in other regions of the world on positive examples where journalists and the media have challenged official tolerance for serious human rights violations, including war crimes. However, in the case of the Balkans, the ongoing lack of discussion about the constructive potential of the media’s role in transitional justice efforts is complicated by a series of factors, not least of which is the former Yugoslavia’s
communist past and widely divergent attitudes about the conflict itself. This brief discussion...

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THE WORD THAT BECOMES THE DEED

Essay on apology

 

Can the apology really change something, or is it unnecessary, since it cannot annul the previous events. What are the foundations of the presumption of collective apology? How important is that what we pronounce? Ever since Mr. Vojislav Kostunica has been officially representing the state in various high ranking functions, journalists from almost all countries with which Serbia prior to the fratricidal war was in a fraternity-and-unity hug, ask the today’s Prime-Minister of Serbia the same question – when will he, on behalf of the people of Serbia, apologize for the crimes which were committed in their name...

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Number 17

Marija Sajkas, ICRC Belgrade

 

Zeljko Maric, a Serb, was 21 when he disappeared on August 4, 1995, inside Croatia at the height of the Balkans war. Two years ago Zeljko's father, Cedomir Maric, learned his son had died. Now he devotes his time to helping other families still looking for missing loved ones. The Marics were overjoyed when, after two daughters, a son had been born. Zeljko grew up to be a soldier and joined the army in 1995 - not to fight but to play in a military brass band. On 4 August 1995, he disappeared. "I still do not understand why he did not pull out with the rest of the troops," says Cedomir, who on that day fled with his family to a safer place. "There was no need for him to stay there. What was he thinking of...

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