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Andresen, Kenneth; Hoxha, Abit; Godole, Jonila (2017): New Roles for Media in the Western Balkans: A study of transitional journalism. In: Journalism Studies, Vol. 18, No. 5: pp. 614-628
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Abstract

After almost 20 years of political instability and ongoing conflicts in the Western Balkans, the region is still haunted by the past, and there is an ongoing synergy of influence between media and the political sector. Media in this region have frequently been criticized for fueling conflicts, instigating ethnic hatred and taking political sides. This article suggests a new research agenda in the practice of transitional journalism in this part of Southeastern Europe. This research strand combines elements from troubled pasts, war reporting, peace journalism and issues of transitional justice. This article analyzes how journalists in the Western Balkans consider the roles of journalism in times of transitions in the region. Findings from the Worlds of Journalism (WJS) study reveal that journalists and editors in the Western Balkans perceive their roles to be broader than those in traditionally western societies. They subscribe to traditional journalism values but also argue that the media has a broad responsibility to contribute to enhance transitions of societies after longer periods of conflict. At the same time, journalists have little trust in the institutions of society entrusted with the task of leading the countries through many issues of transitional justice. The article draws on empirical material from the WJS survey in 2014 and 2015 in Albania, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia.