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Serbian Political Thought

Media and Democratic Control Over the Armed Forces In the Republic Of Serbia


State institutions (all three branches of government) have an important role in democratic control of the armed forces, together with civil society institutions among which the media, referred to as “the fourth branch of government” or “the watchdogs of democracy”, play the most important role. The armed forces need the media in order for them to inform the public about their role in society, educate the public on the issues of defense and security, as well as enable easier access to current events. For the majority of people in Serbia the media are the main source of information about what happens in society, and they influence public opinion to a great extent. However, previous research of the relations between the media and the armed forces in Serbia referred exclusively to the analysis of media content, while the media’s attitudes and knowledge of democratic control were not included. In this paper, based on the results of a pilot project carried out in 2013, we will present the extent of knowledge Serbian media have about democratic control of the armed forces, how the media evaluate their relations with the Ministry of Defense, and the basic obstacles the media encounter while exercising democratic control in practice.

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PERIODIKA Serbian Political Thought 2/2017 UDC 355.1(497.11):316.774+321.7 5-22