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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 ownership by political and financial interests compromises journalistic independence.

Fast Facts

  • Reporting for 28 years in partisan and ethnically divided media landscape, RFE/RL’s Balkan Service has bureaus in Bosnia- Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia and is relied on for its coverage of economic issues, corruption, Russian influence, migration, and minority issues.
  • Countering disinformation and genocide denial is a cornerstone of Service’s work. After Service contacted Google about how company allowed fake news about Srebrenica genocide, Google removed content denying the genocide in English search results.
  • A recent investigation on how pro-Nazi, white-power bands operate in Serbia.
  • Serbia's Prosecutor's Office for Cyber-Crime initiated an investigation into Telegram social media group "Z-Orlovi" following Balkan Service report on how it targets Russian citizens living in Serbia, but who are opposed to Russian's invasion of Ukraine.
  • A 2021 story on rotting placentas in Kosovo’s hospital freezers won Best Web Story of the Year by Association of Journalists of Kosovo.
  • Belgrade correspondent Dusan Komarcevic among finalists for 2021 Annual Award for Investigative Journalism for investigation into "gamification" of extremist violence.
  • As host of the Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship with the Czech Foreign Ministry, Service trains and mentors aspiring journalists.  Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index ranks the region: Bosnia-Herzegovina (67/180), Kosovo (61/180), Montenegro (63/180), North Macedonia (57/180), and Serbia (79/180).

Impact

January – December, 2021

  • Website:
    • Balkan Service’s regional website for Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro and apps attracted 8.9 million visits, 13 million page views, and 3.8 million unique visitors.
    • North Macedonia Unit’s website and apps registered 3.9 million visits, 4.8 million page views.
    • Kosovo Unit’s website and apps had 4.9 million visits, 7.9 million page views.
  • Facebook: Service’s six Facebook pages registered 46.1 million video views and 12.2 million engaged users in 2021.
  • Youtube: Balkan Service’s regional YouTube channel has nearly 76,800 subscribers. 13.6 million video views in 2021.

Facts & Stats about Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Population: 3.3 million (World Bank estimate, 2021)
  • Most Common Languages: Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
  • Global Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 53 out of 100 (2021)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 67 out of 180 (2022)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 110 out of 180 (2021)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 58 out of 163 (2022)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Bosnia (2020)
  • Amnesty International: Bosnia Report (2021)

Facts & Stats about Kosovo

Facts & Stats about North Macedonia

  • Population: 2.1 million (World Bank estimate, 2021)
  • Most Common Languages: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Romany
  • Global Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 66 out of 100 (2021)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 57 out of 180 (2022)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 111 out of 180 (2020)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 36 out of 163 (2022)
  • Amnesty International: Macedonia Report (2021)

Facts & Stats about Montenegro

  • Population: 0.62 million (World Bank estimate, 2021)
  • Languages: Montenegrin, Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian, Croatian
  • Global Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 63 out of 100 (2021)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 63 out of 180 (2022)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 64 out of 180 (2021)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 48 out of 163 (2022)
  • Amnesty International: Montenegro Report (2021)

Facts & Stats about Serbia

  • Population: 6.84 million (World Bank estimate, 2021)
  • Most Common Languages: Serbian, Hungarian, Bosnian, Romany
  • Global Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 64 out of 100 (2021)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 79 out of 180 (2022)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 96 out of 180 (2021)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 52 out of 163 (2022)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Serbia (2020)
  • Amnesty International: Serbia Report (2021)

Updated: October 2022

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