Analysis – Prelude to War: Serbian media on Ukraine

The analysis showed that, in the absence of the official statements due to the state’s long hesitation to determine, mainstream pro-regime media reported dominantly in favour of Russia. In their reporting, they admired the supremacy of the Russian army and Putin’s determination to confront the West, creating a narrative of Russia as a victim. This was extremely visible in the morning shows content of the most influential media in Serbia – television channels with national coverage – while public broadcaster RTS hosted editor-in-chief of Sputnik Serbia on the day of Russia’s attack. Dominantely one-sided reporting relied on disinformation and manipulative content, which played an important part in praising Russia and condemning the US and NATO. This went even further when one pro-regime daily published a front-page claiming that “Ukraine attacked Russia”, while the other claimed that “Putin is sending an army to unite Serbia and Republika Srpska”. The analysis offers a brief context which outlines Serbia’s position, includes a mechanism for production of narratives and sentiments towards different foreign actors relevant to Serbia – Russia, EU, US, NATO and China, and a trend showing citizens’ views of the alliance with Russia or China concerning their political inclination.

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