Conference The Future of Public Service Media in the Western Balkans: Never-Ending Transition?


Fra Filipa Lastrića 2, 71000 Sarajevo

The Department of Communication and Media Research at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and the Center for Social Research Analitika in Bosnia and Herzegovina are organizing an international conference on “The Future of Public Service Media in the Western Balkans: Never-Ending Transition?”

This conference investigates the role, functioning, and future of public service media (PSM) in seven countries in the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia – taking into account the specific context in which these services developed and the role the European Union played in these processes. Although the process of transformation from state to public broadcasting in Western Balkan countries was driven by the need to formally satisfy requirements of EU accession processes, it has faced many obstacles. The politicization of the state, rapid commercialization of the media sector combined with an economic crisis, financial instability, strong clientelistic ties, and the rapid proliferation of new media platforms and outlets have resulted in a failure to produce an environment conducive to independent public service media. As a result, their role, remit, and survival has been continuously put into question.

To date, debate on this subject has largely been limited in scope and depth. There is a general lack of comprehensive, systematic empirical studies that would help explain current trends and provide direction for possible ways forward. Therefore, this conference aims to provide a comparative overview and analysis of the current trends and challenges faced by public service media in the region, in order to open up debate and potentially outline new perspectives for PMS in a rapidly changing and highly challenging environment. Particular emphasis will be put on the further harmonization of legislation with EU standards, economic and market demands, and technological pressures stemming from digitalization and new media.

This conference is part of the project “The Prospect and Development of Public Service Media: Comparative Study of PSB Development in Western Balkans in Light of EU Integration,” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation through the SCOPES (Scientific Cooperation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland) programme.

Themes: Media and Democratization
Programmes: Javne komunikacije