An EU candidate since 2012, the Freedom House ‘2019 Freedom in the World’ report downgraded Serbia’s status from a ‘Free’ to a ‘Partly Free’ state due to the ongoing erosion of political and civil rights within the country. Recent years have been marred by irregularities during elections, violent harassment of opposition figures, increased pressure on independent media, and a diminishing role for independent civil society actors as well as a return to nationalist rhetoric. Despite the president’s limited executive powers under the terms of the country’s constitution, he has increasingly accumulated more power, seizing control of the media and launching attacks against the opposition and journalists. Serbian society remains highly divided.
The space for independent civil society is shrinking with the government increasingly funding its own civil society organisations (GONGOs).
Media freedom is under constant threat, with threats and attacks against journalists frequent and most media directly controlled by the government.
EED approach and added value
- bridge and emergency funding, mainly to independent media
- core support to civil society and media organisations complementary to other donor funding
- support to civic engagement at community level, with focus on youth
Examples of supported initiatives
- core support to renowned online media dedicated to socio-political analysis
- start-up funding to printed media promoting fact-based critical thinking
- filing the funding gap for organisation of regional events for youth