The reformatted Yugoslav Radio Television will include 18 hours of programming a day from volunteer journalists.
By Ivana Jovanovic for Southeast European Times in Belgrade -- 20/08/12
A group of young journalists are planning to relaunch the Yugoslav Radio Television (JRT) media service this year as an all-volunteer broadcasting outlet to serve the region.
The station plans to use volunteer journalists to report from Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Novi Sad, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo and Skopje. It would begin broadcasts this year as a radio station, and expand to include video reports on the internet by December.
The effort plans more than 18 hours of programming a day, with reports focusing on a regional, instead of nationalistic, view. Volunteers plan reports on news, politics, entertainment, sports, movies, documentaries, culture, as well as educational and youth programming.
"The basis of JRT is suppression of nationalism," Benjamin Hasanic, 17, of Maglaj, who plans to launch the station, told SETimes.
Yugoslav Radio Television was the public broadcasting arm of Yugoslavia before it broke up in the 1990s. It dissolved into separate public broadcasting channels that serve Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Kosovo and the Vojvodina providence of Serbia.
Hasanic said that JRT will also support media freedom and development -- two areas that are lacking in the regional media, he said.
Zerina Copra, 19, who will report from Sarajevo, said JRT is a chance for people from the former Yugoslavia and its diaspora to have an open communication and co-operation, exchange thoughts and work together while keeping their national, religious and cultural identity. She said the effort will oppose hate speech and discrimination.
"We do not want to relive SFR Yugoslavia, moving country borders, even to be Yugo-nostalgic," she told SETimes. "We want to be a highly professional regional TV channel, which will be able to make better connection among people there."
But there will be significant challenges, including funding and a natural perception in the audience that this incarnation of JRT is connected to the Yugoslav-funded broadcaster.
"The hardest obstacle at this moment is lack of support among citizens. Unfortunately, many of them look skeptically to JRT because the name associates to political side," Elida Belir, 32, a reporter from Croatia, told SETimes.
Milos Jovanov, 25, a volunteer from Macedonia, acknowledged that the lack of experienced professional journalists will be a challenge for the new JRT, as well as the lack of a presence on television. But, he is highly motivated to be a part of the project and fight for it.
"The regional dimension of the project in which former media space can, again, be compiled is my main motivation," Jovanov told SETimes.
Mariju Kruscic, 25, from Montenegro, decided to be a part of JRT because she likes that it will keep young people working together.
"I hope that project and myself will have joint progress and I am pretty sure that we'll grow up and get new members and importance trough the region," she told SETimes.
Sanja Aleksic, 20, a student of journalism at the Belgrade Faculty of Political Science, said she sees the new JRT as a chance to meet her colleagues from around the region.
"Most of us didn't want wars and didn't know anything about the 1990s issues and, now we still have same everyday problems," she told SETimes. "The media is a unique way to find joint solution for them."