Audience Boost for Balkan Broadcast

Facing Justice radio show now reaches more than one million listeners in Serbia alone.

Audience Boost for Balkan Broadcast

Facing Justice radio show now reaches more than one million listeners in Serbia alone.

Friday, 27 November, 2009

Close to two dozen radio stations in Bosnia and Serbia have started broadcasting IWPR’s popular radio programme Facing Justice in the last two months.

The programme, which is produced in cooperation with Radio Free Europe, RFE, focuses on war crimes trials held at the Hague tribunal and in local courts, together with related topics.

In recent weeks, 11 radio stations in the Bosnian federation, the country’s larger entity, have begun broadcasting the show. These are Radio Kladanj, Radio Cazin, Radio Gradacac, Radio Glas Drine, Radio Stari Most, Radio Zenica, Radio Lukavac, Radio Vogosca, Radio Gracanica, Radio Kakanj and Radio Sana.

Another two stations in the country’s Bosnian Serb region Republika Srpska – Radio Doboj and Radio Gacko – have also taken up Facing Justice as part of their regular weekly programming.

Meanwhile, in Serbia, seven stations – OK Radio Vranje, Radio Ozon Cacak, Radio Srbobran, Radio Uzice, Radio Far, Radio Bajmok, and Radio EM Knjazevac – have joined the growing network broadcasting the show.

As these Serbian stations have a combined audience of around 650,000 people, this means that the estimated number of people in Serbia now receiving Facing Justice is more than one million.

Ishak Slezovich, director and the editor-in-chief of Radio Sto Plus, based in Novi Pazar in Serbia, which started broadcasting Facing Justice a few months ago, said that audience feedback has been very positive so far.

“[Audience responses would suggest] that this is an interesting, professionally made programme attracting younger and middle-aged people,” he said.

“Radio Sto Plus started broadcasting Facing Justice because we wanted to offer our audience relevant and unbiased information on the trial against former Bosnian leader Radovan Karadzic, and because we expect that [Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitive] general Ratko Mladic will also be arrested and put on trial soon.”

Semir Spahic, editor-in-chief of Radio Ilijas in Bosnia, also spoke highly of the professionalism of the people producing Facing Justice.

“This show is more than professionally made. That is one of the main reasons why we have decided to broadcast it. We already produced a similar programme on our own, but we think that Radio Free Europe and IWPR are much larger media organisations with enough capacity to explore these topics thoroughly, so we replaced our programme on war crimes with Facing Justice,” said Spahic.

“All in all, this programme is great. Keep up the good work.”

Idriz Seferi, a Belgrade correspondent of Kosovo’s leading newspaper Koha Ditore, said that Facing Justice is very important “because [it] explore war crimes and the issue of responsibility [for these].

“As long as we, the people of the former Yugoslavia, choose to deny the fact that crimes took place and refuse to talk about human rights violations, we should be served these stories by the media on a daily basis.”

He said that broaching the difficult subject of war crimes proceedings was vital if reconciliation is to be achieved.

“If we do not talk about these issues, we will keep on suppressing pain and hatred and we will never reconcile,” he said.

“The more we hear about war crimes proceedings, the clearer it will be to people that something is being done in that regard and that the perpetrators [of crimes] will be punished.”

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