Belgrade’s iconic B92 television and radio has been an enduring symbol of resistance and media freedom since the era of Slobodan Milošević when it was founded. Soon the station will leave its pioneering history behind, as it undergoes a rebrand.
B92’s name will become O2 television, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) reported, a change seemingly aimed at both distancing the station from B92’s original mission and improving the possibility of selling the station.
Former Radio B92 journalist Dušan Mašić told BIRN that the station had long ago “forfeited almost everything B92 used to advocate”, while local newspaper Blic reported on Friday that “the current television no longer has anything to do with the old B92 concept”.
Founded as an underground station in 1989, Radio B92 was a pioneer of independent broadcasting in Yugoslavia, repeatedly banned by authorities during the rule of Milošević but persevering in broadcasting until Milošević was overthrown and beyond. During the 90s, B92 expanded into television production and the internet, expanding its reach to around 60 per cent of Serbia’s population and receiving high praise from western media for its impartial coverage.
In recent years, changes to B92’s lineup — such as the cancellation of political talk show Impression of the Week in 2014, allegedly linked to interference by the then Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić — have added to growing fears regarding government censorship of the media in Serbia. A recent report published by watchdog Freedom House suggests that media freedom is in decline in the Balkans.
Source: Balkan Insight