(Washington, DC--March 10, 2004) RFE/RL Belgrade correspondent Nebojsa Bugarinovic was elected in late February to serve as president of the Association of Independent Journalists in Serbia (NUNS). Bugarinovic's predecessor as president was Milica Lucic-Cavic, also a Belgrade-based correspondent for RFE/RL.
RFE/RL officials welcomed Bugarinovic's election to lead Serbia's independent journalists, noting that it serves to confirm the high reputation and respect RFE/RL's South Slavic broadcasts in Bosnian, Serbian, Montenegrin, Albanian and Macedonian enjoy among independent media in Serbia.
Bugarinovic joined RFE/RL in 1999, during the NATO war over Kosovo. At that time, journalists who worked for foreign media -- particularly Western media -- were stigmatized by Serbian nationalists as traitors. Bugarinovic studied law and worked for several Serbian media outlets and as a public relations manager before joining RFE/RL.
"Journalism in Serbia is at a crossroads, with a breakthrough needed to safeguard the profession," according to Bugarinovic. He points out that the struggle for an independent media in Serbia is not over. According to Bugarinovic, businessmen who amassed fortunes during the rule of fallen Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic now seek to exert control over the media by buying up media outlets. Bugarinovic is determined to work to create a more favorable environment for journalists working in Serbia -- something that will benefit all of Serbian society.