Friday, June 26, 2009

Serbian Dijaspora, Conference on media opened in Belgrade

Belgrade, June 26 (SerbiaToday) – The Conference „Media in Diaspora, media for Diaspora“ gathering representatives of around 50 Serb media, both printed, electronic or Internet, from 15 countries opened in Belgrade on Wednesday. Media owners and editors discussed strengthening ties with Serbia, promoting cooperation with public radio and TV service, private media and journalist organization.
„Media in Diaspora have significant and increasingly important role of informing Serb community living abroad about major events here and promoting national, cultural and language identity thus contributing to better perception of Serbia in the world“, minister for Diaspora Srdjan Sreckovic said in his opening speech.
Some 3 mil of Serbs are estimated to live abroad, third of total population in the country.
Major issues, such as role of Serbian public media service in informing Diaspora, Law on Diaspora and new possibilities in media developing, media in Diaspora and Serbia’ economic recovery were talked about on separate panel discussions.
The Conference was introduction to traditional annually “St. Vitus' Days of Diaspora”, which started on Thursday in capital of Serbia. Some participants told SerbiaToday official Belgrade in couple of last years “really made a significant effort to and improve connections of Serb community abroad with the fatherland”. They also estimate that Government is “apparently” working to establish a “new partnership with Serb abroad”.
Last month Serbian government passed Draft Law on Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, first legal act dealing with the issue. By this document, which is in Parliament’s procedure, the Assembly of Diaspora and Serbs in the region is established as their highest representative body (Article 15). The Assembly consists of 44 delegates of Diaspora and Serbs in the region.

One can argue Draft Law introduces little bit complicated model of institutional relations between Diaspora and the State, but it however seems to be functional, told SerbiaToday Jelena T. Mitrovic, journalist. She used to live in Canada, but moved to Europe six years ago and as a stringer reporting from ex YU countries.

According to officials, Serbian Parliament will debate the Draft in the autumn. Some 20.000 men are employed in small and mid size companies which have been opened by Serbs from abroad in last nine years, investing in these projects 500 mil $, show official statistics.

“In my opinion, home media should offer on regular basis and more frequently it’s TV or radio programmes to Serb media abroad, so Diaspora can really understand current changes in society in Serbia. Reality shows and entrainment programs from Serbia via satellite can’t be the only choice”, said Mitrovic.

Participants praised independent TV productions in Serbia, saying they are more “sensitive” for requirements of Serb abroad. Those small companies have quality low budget programmes and media in Diaspora should try to find “common language” with them, said participants.

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