Media Constrained by Context

International Assistance and the Transition to Democratic Media in the Western Balkans
$100.00 / €90.00 / £79.00
Publication date: 
360 pages with 21 tables and 2 figures

This book compares the results of twenty years of international media assistance in the five countries of the western Balkans. It asks what happens to imported models when they are applied to newly evolving media systems in societies in transition.

Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia undertook a range of media reforms to conform with accession requirements of the European Union and the standards of the Council of Europe, among others. The essays explore the nexus between the democratic transformation of the media and international media assistance in these countries. The cross-national analysis concludes that the effects of international assistance are highly constrained by local contexts. In hindsight it becomes clear that escalating media assistance does not necessarily improve outcomes. In the western Balkans imported solutions have not been sensitive to local conditions, and international strategies have tended to be schematic, without strategic approaches to promote media policy stability, credible media reform or implementation.

The book offers valuable insights into the nature and effects of media assistance and the strategies of international aid agencies, local political forces, media professionals, civil society organizations and other actors.

“This book is an important contribution to our understanding of the interface of international media development assistance and evolving local conditions for democratic media institutions in the transitional societies of the Western Balkan states. It provides an in-depth country-by-country analysis of foreign media support and a fresh set of arguments on how an unfavorable political environment prejudices long term sustainability of external assistance. The book will be an invaluable resource to students and scholars of media policy and politics in southeast Europe, professionals in international media assistance organizations, and media policy makers.”

Zrinjka Peruško, Professor & Chair, Centre for Media and Communication Research, Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb

“A very good and very well documented book on how to improve media freedom in the new democracies in Southeast Europe while avoiding pitfalls of transplantation of models emanating from Western democracies. A ’must’ for scholars, international organizations and NGO officials in the fields of media institutions, reforms and international assistance.”

Paolo Mancini, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Perugia

List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1: International Assistance and Media Democratization in the Western Balkans: A Theoretical Framework
Kristina Irion and Tarik Jusić

Chapter 2: Limited Assistance for Limited Impact—International Media Assistance in Albania
Ilda Londo

Chapter 3: Media Reform through Intervention: International Media Assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tarik Jusić and Nidžara Ahmetašević

Chapter 4: Starting from Scratch: The Role of Media Assistance in the Establishment of Independent Media Institutions in Kosovo
Naser Miftari

Chapter 5: Assisting Media Democratization after Low-Intensity Conflict: The Case of Macedonia
Tamara Dimitrijevska-Markoski and Zhidas Daskalovski

Chapter 6: Media Reforms in Turbulent Times: The Role of Media Assistance in the Establishment of Independent Media Institutions in Serbia
Davor Marko

Chapter 7: Looking for Shortcuts? Assistance to—and Development of—Public Service Broadcasting in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Albania
Mark Thompson

Chapter 8: The Uncertain Future: Centers for Investigative Journalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia
Nevena Ršumović

Chapter 9: Building Media Systems in the Western Balkans: Lost between Models and Realities
Katrin Voltmer

Chapter 10: Conclusions: A Cross-National Comparison of International Assistance and Media Democratization in the Western Balkans
Kristina Irion and Tarik Jusić

About the Authors