Radio B92: Unbiased Civil War Coverage by Serbia’s Own

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Radio B92: Unbiased Civil War Coverage by Serbia’s Own

Fair and impartial reporting of the Balkan wars in the 1990s was a difficult and lone venture. Almost all of the international media had their own biases due to their countries’ part in the war (through NATO or their proximity to the conflict), their acceptance of parts of Serbian government propaganda, or simply their overly exaggerated partialities against the Serbians because of a common belief that all Serbians were entirely responsible for the war. It is also widely accepted that Bosnia and Serbia’s media, if not influenced or controlled by the government and Milosevic, struggled greatly to remain independent – if that. So, throughout the conflict in the 1990's, Radio B92 was the only independent audio news source. It served as the principal alternative to the government controlled media, especially for the former Yugoslavia, but also to the biased international press.

According to Jasminka Udovicki and James Ridgeway, the editors of a book about the fall of Yugoslavia titled Burn This House: The Making and Unmaking of Yugoslavia:

It took almost a century, from the emergence of the South Slavic unification movement in the early nineteenth century to the end of World War I, to create Yugoslavia. It took only a few years to destroy it [. . .] Visions of national liberation and modernization brought the South Slavs [. . .] together at last in 1919. Seventy years later, a retrograde, mythical, antimodern vision tore them apart (11). The fall of Yugoslavia was brought about by brutal military force, but the energy needed to utterly dismantle the country was supplied by the political ethno-kitsch (1).

An idea emerging here, one expressed by many, is that Yugoslavia may have been alright, or at least far better off and not torn apart if it were not for Milosevic’s means of gaining political power. While these factions did have their differences, they had coexisted for thousands of years before WWI and Tito, the former leader, was able to keep them together. This idea of “ethno-kitsch” began around 1987, and involved a sort of new taste for an almost vulgar fascination with Serbian nationalism. According to Udovicki and Ridgweway, it, “was everywhere in Serbia.” At the root of this “ethno-kitsch” in the late 1980s was a progressively growing perception that Serbian people had been wronged and were hated – completely undeservedly – by other ethnic groups in Yugoslavia.

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