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RFE/RL’s Balkan Service

RFE/RL’s Balkan Service is a professional, inclusive, and reliable news source in a region where most outlets reflect ethnic divisions and media independence remains elusive.

Fast Facts

  • Language: Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Serbian
  • Established: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian: 1994; Albanian to Kosovo: 1999; Montenegrin: 2000; Macedonian: 2001
  • Distribution: Radio (FM, satellite), TV, Internet (3 websites/6 languages, mobile, social media)
  • Coverage: Radio: 8,5 hours/day, Bosnian TV: 1 hour/week, Macedonian TV: 20 min/week, Kosovo TV: 10 min/week
  • Affiliates: 180 affiliate radio & TV stations in Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia, and Montenegro
  • Locations: Prague, Belgrade, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje
  • Staff: 14 (Prague), 39 in local bureaus, and almost 90 correspondents and stringers

Media Environment

  • Freedom House Freedom of the Press Ranking, 2016: Not Free Macedonia (136th/199), Partly Free Bosnia-Herzegovina (104th/199), Kosovo (96th/199) Montenegro (80th/199), Serbia (87th/199).
  • Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, 2016: Bosnia-Herzegovina 68th/180, Kosovo 90th/180, Macedonia 118th/180, Montenegro 106th/180, Serbia 59th/180.

Highlights

  • RFE/RL’s Balkan Service is the only news media that engages all sides in its coverage and debate in Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo.
  • The Service broadcasts a daily, 60-minute radio show through affiliates in Bosnia, Montenegro, and Serbia, focusing on political, economic, and social developments of regional interest.
  • In September 2016 the service introduced a new Facebook page called “Why?” which provides context and explanations for daily news stories. 75 percent of the page’s fans are young people under 34.
  • In February 2016, RFE/RL Macedonian and VOA Macedonian introduced a new video project called “Horizons” to address stories related to Macedonian politics, extremism, and the refugee crisis. As pressure on the country’s media grows, RFE/RL is the only international broadcaster operating on radio, TV, and web platforms.
  • “Under The Black Flag” is a sub-page of the RFE/RL Kosovo, dealing exclusively with subjects related to radical Islam, and in particular the recruitment of citizens in Kosovo by militants with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
  • The Service's most popular radio program, “Bridge” encourages dialogue and understanding by bringing together participants of diverse backgrounds. Host Omer Karabeg won the 2010 South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO) award for promoting Better Understanding in South East Europe.
  • The Balkan service and the Communications Department host the Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship which, sponsored in partnership with the Czech Foreign Ministry, provides mentoring and support to aspiring journalists from the Western Balkans.

Updated: 16 February 2017

Facts & Stats about Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Population: 3.81 million (World Bank estimate, 2015)
  • Most Common Languages: Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 55th out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 68 out of 180 (2016)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 76 out of 168 (2015)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 60 out of 163 (2016)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Bosnia (2016)
  • Amnesty International: Bosnia Report (2015/2016)

Facts & Stats about Kosovo

  • Population: 1.797 million (World Bank estimate, 2015)
  • Languages: Albanian, Serbian
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 52nd out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 90 out of 180 (2016)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 103 out of 168 (2015)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 77 out of 163​ (2016)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Kosovo (2016)

Facts & Stats about Macedonia

  • Population: 2.076 million (World Bank estimate, 2014)
  • Most Common Languages: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Romany
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Not Free, ranked 57th out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 118 out of 180 (2016)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 66 out of 168 (2015)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 94 out of 163 (2016)
  • Amnesty International: Macedonia Report (2015/2016)

Facts & Stats about Montenegro

  • Population: 621,800 (World Bank estimate, 2014)
  • Languages: Montenegrin, Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian, Croatian
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 69th out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 106 out of 180 (2016)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 61 out of 168 (2015)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 57 out of 163 (2016)
  • Amnesty International: Montenegro Report (2015/2016)

Facts & Stats about Serbia

  • Population: 7.129 million (World Bank estimate, 2014)
  • Most Common Languages: Serbian, Hungarian, Bosnian, Romany
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Free, ranked 76th out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 59 out of 180 (2016)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 71 out of 168 (2015)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 48 out of 163 (2016)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Serbia (2016)
  • Amnesty International: Serbia Report (2015/2016)

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