The Prospects for the Development of Alternative Media in Serbia
According to Dan Gillmor, founder of the Center for Citizen Media and author of the book "We the Media", "the democratization of the tools and the distribution of journalism – the idea that anyone can do it" are defining features of the media for the times to come.
In Serbia, in the period of Milosevic regime, the media that were outside of the control of the government were considered 'alternative' or 'independet'. Their influence and circulation were growing during the 1990s, and in the period preceding the political changes in the country, they were among the main pillars of the democratization processes. These media are now trying to become commercially successful, with varied success.
With the development of the Internet, referring to alternative media mainly means (and has most sense) in the form of online media. The costs of their publishing are lowest and the reach to the public is easiest. Furthermore, with the spread of content related advertising provided by Google and other companies, it is possible to earn and thus potentially support publication.
While there are individual bloggers that deal in a skilled and attractive way with social and political issues, media, IT, and other buzz topics dominant in the alternative media around the world, it is still impossible to talk of any known alternative media as such in Serbia. Web sites that provide constant flow of information (related to specific topics or of general type) are usually projects of youth groups or NGOs that either fail to promote themselves or are short-lived. Of particular importance would be the coverage of topics that are poorly covered in the mainstream media: Culture, environment, local communities, marginal groups and new technologies. However, this is still to happen. According to the developments from other countries, the same or similar social, professional and technological settings could both bring and not the development of civic journalism. The prospects for this to happen (or not) will be discussed in this paper.