BBC pledges to fight fake news with new Serbian-language service in Belgrade

BBC pledges to fight fake news with new Serbian-language service in Belgrade
Image: Wing1990hk under a CC licence.

27 March 2018

The BBC has re-launched its Serbian-language service after seven years off the air.

Based in Belgrade, BBC News Serbian — or BBC News na Srprskom — will work with local outlets to create “social media-friendly journalism” in the Balkans and abroad.

Service editor Aleksandra Nikšić pledged that the service would fight fake news and help restore “basic journalistic values”.

“In a politically and economically sensitive environment such as Serbia — and in the Balkans as a whole — false news and unverified information entered the media before in other parts of the world”, Nikšić told the B92 news outlet. “The threat to media freedom and the numerous political and economic pressures on journalists are only some of the reasons for this. A big but highly inspirational challenge awaits the BBC in Serbia: our goal is to help restore basic journalistic values.”

As well as publishing on the BBC website, the service will also release articles with the B92, Danas and Naslovi news outlets in Serbia; Kameleon in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Vijesti in Montenegro.

The BBC Yugoslav Service first began broadcasting in 1939, working throughout the Second World War and the rule of General Tito before funding cuts forced the Belgrade branch to close in 2011. A new grant from the UK government has revived the service, which will work alongside teams in Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan as part of the BBC World Service Europe Region.