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RFE/RL’s Balkan Service

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

Fast Facts

  • Languages: Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Serbian
  • Established: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian: 1994; Albanian to Kosovo: 1999; Montenegrin: 2000; Macedonian: 2001
  • Distribution: FM, satellite, TV, 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 in Prague, 85 in local bureaus, and almost 90 correspondents and stringers

Media Environment

  • Freedom House Freedom of the Press Ranking, 2017: Partly Free: Bosnia-Herzegovina (51/100), Kosovo (48/100), Montenegro (44/100), Serbia (49/100); Not Free: Macedonia (64/100).
  • Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, 2018: Bosnia-Herzegovina 62/180, Kosovo 78/180, Macedonia 109/180, Montenegro 103/180, Serbia 76/180.

Audience

  • In 2017 the Balkan Service’s regional website and apps attracted 5.6m visits, 9.8m page views and 2.9m unique visitors. The Macedonia Unit’s website and apps registered 4.1m visits, 5.2m page views and 2.2m unique visitors. The Kosovo Unit’s website and apps had 3.5m visits, 5.6m page views and 1.3m unique visitors.
  • The Service has 6 Facebook pages, 3 very active Youtube channels, and 3 Instagram accounts

Impact

  • RFE/RL’s Balkan Service is the only news media that engages all sides in its coverage in Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo.
  • In September 2017, the Service launched a Facebook-based project, “Not In My Name,” in Bosnia and Kosovo to provide a platform for informed dialogue about extremism in these countries.
  • In September 2016, the Service launched the Facebook page “Zašto?”(“Why?”), goes deep into the news behind the news by posting a question in the morning and examining it from several angles throughout the day, offering factual information as to why a certain event has occurred or will occur.
  • In February 2016, the RFE/RL and VOA Macedonian services introduced a video project called Horizons to address stories related to Macedonian politics, extremism, and the refugee crisis.
  • The Kosovo Unit’s weekly TV news magazine Expose is carried by local TV stations in Kosovo and is one of the most viewed items on social networks.
  • RFE/RL’s Balkan Service hosts the Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship in partnership with the Czech Foreign Ministry to train and mentor aspiring journalists in the Western Balkans.

Updated: April 2018

Facts & Stats about Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Population: 3.52 million (World Bank estimate, 2016)
  • Most Common Languages: Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 51st out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 62 out of 180 (2018)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 83 out of 176 (2017)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 89 out of 163 (2018)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Bosnia (2017)
  • Amnesty International: Bosnia Report (2017/2018)

Facts & Stats about Kosovo

  • Population: 1.82 million (World Bank estimate, 2017)
  • Languages: Albanian, Serbian
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 48th out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 78 out of 180 (2018)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 95 out of 176 (2017)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 92 out of 163​ (2018)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Kosovo (2016)

Facts & Stats about Macedonia

  • Population: 2.08 million (World Bank estimate, 2016)
  • Most Common Languages: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Romany
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 64th out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 109 out of 180 (2018)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 90 out of 176 (2017)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 87 out of 163 (2018)
  • Amnesty International: Macedonia Report (2017/2018)

Facts & Stats about Montenegro

  • Population: 0.62 million (World Bank estimate, 2016)
  • Languages: Montenegrin, Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian, Croatian
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 44th out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 103 out of 180 (2018)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 64 out of 176 (2017)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 58 out of 163 (2018)
  • Amnesty International: Montenegro Report (2017/2018)

Facts & Stats about Serbia

  • Population: 7.06 million (World Bank estimate, 2016)
  • Most Common Languages: Serbian, Hungarian, Bosnian, Romany
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 49th out of 100 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 76 out of 180 (2018)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 72 out of 176 (2017)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 54 out of 163 (2018)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Serbia (2016)
  • Amnesty International: Serbia Report (2017/2018)

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