Study title
Media between Freedom and Dependence: the Role of Print Media in the Process of Refugee Return
Ref study 13765
Study language English
Contributing institutions

  • Refugees
  • Media
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Serbia
  • RRPP Data
Geographical space
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Serbia
This scientific research project is implemented in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with unified methodology. While the media focus on refugees and displaced topics is weakening the problem is still current and valuable for research. In recent years forced migration are largely politically determined and generated. During the twentieth century the number of people who in one way or another passed through the refugee status is on millions due to the numerous armed conflicts, violence and war crimes. Calling for mass refugee tragedy is often used for the promotion and realization of some key political goals or points, but refugees and displaced were afterwards often left to themselves. Since the contemporary man in a modern, democratic societies is kept informed mainly through various media, it is clear that the power of mass communication and the role of the media in the democratic process should be taken seriously, especially in the so-called countries in transition, where it is necessary to make additional efforts in the development and strengthening of democracy. Particular attention should be paid to how the media independence (political, economic and editorial), media concentration, pluralism and diversity of media. In this research project and in the results of analysis that we are presenting, it is decided for sample of print media in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia as the most suitable for the course and scope of research. Although there are historical, social, political and media similarities in these two neighboring countries, it is not possible to do a classical comparative analysis of the results, even though a simple comparison of the two reports can give a good insight into all the specifics that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia have been through from the start of the ‘90s onwards. The results of this study do not confirm the hypothesis that the influence of local political elites in the media have contributed to the discourse that has discouraged the return and settlement of the refugee / IDPs issues, but can also be concluded that the political elite in the media have not worked enough to adequately address the status and rights of refugees and that not enough was done on informing and educating refugees on their rights and options.
Based on the findings that were obtained during this study it was not possible to definitively confirm hypothesis on association of media and politics being manifested through manipulation of refugees and returnees, all in order to achieve political goals of elites. Regardless, research findings confirm that the political elites through media have not worked enough to adequately address the status and rights of refugees, and that not enough was done on informing and educating refugees about their rights and options. Therefore there are clear indications of the existence of collusion between politics and the media in the area of the problem of refugees and displaced persons as a valid basis for further research into this issue. From the research it can be concluded, as was expected, that the media had an important role in the implementation of post-war goals of political elites. However, it is hard to clearly determine whether the media deliberately support the dominant political elites or to simply adapt to the current socio-political situation and prevailing ethno-political discourse, and therefore the hypothesis is difficult to confirm.
Methods (description)
The research is focusing exclusively on the print media in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. In this study it was identified and analysed a significant number of relevant articles due to the relatively large period of time that is taken for the sample. Eighteen independent variables were developed for the purpose of this research, each consisting of several supporting variables, mostly nominal, defined by a common methodological framework simultaneously implemented in the Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia research projects. In-depth content analysis, guided by additional research issues arising from the quantitative analysis, included only a small, selected sample of articles. The research utilizes both quantitative and qualitative approach. The analytical process is based on three aspects of evaluation of media content: a) context analysis; b) analysis of media practices and c) analysis of cumulative findings of research.
Methods (instruments)
  • Analysis of content
Replicated study No
Financed by

Mandating institution(s)
  • University of Fribourg, Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern Europe, Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans - RRPP, Bd de Pérolles 90, 1700 Fribourg
Ethical approval No
Study type
Data availability
Source (Updates) Web
Date created 13.01.2020
Date modified 25.03.2020
Start - End date 01.06.2012 - 01.06.2013