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Misunderstanding the Other and Shy Signs of Openness: Discourse on the 1992-1995 War in the Current Bosniak and Bosnian Serb Media

Janícko, Michal

Stredoevropske Politicke Studie, Winter 2015, Vol.17(1), pp.28-56 [Tạp chí có phản biện]

ISSN: 12132691 ; E-ISSN: 12127817 ; DOI: 10.5817/CEPSR.2015.1.28

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  • Nhan đề:
    Misunderstanding the Other and Shy Signs of Openness: Discourse on the 1992-1995 War in the Current Bosniak and Bosnian Serb Media
  • Tác giả: Janícko, Michal
  • Chủ đề: Bosnia-Hercegovina ; Studies ; Discourse Analysis ; Media ; Nationalism ; Civil War ; Eastern Europe ; Politics & Political Behavior ; Experiment/Theoretical Treatment
  • Là 1 phần của: Stredoevropske Politicke Studie, Winter 2015, Vol.17(1), pp.28-56
  • Mô tả: Media in [BiH] are divided along ethnic lines in terms of both their content and the audience they target. This conclusion is drawn from most analyses dealing with the Bosnian media. Amer Dzihana (2012: 7) states that "both media organizations and the organization of media in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been profoundly affected by ethnocentrism [and] political clientelism"; according to Nada Tesanovic (2012: 8), in BiH "people are trying to get to important information mainly through the media they share their ethnicity and political views with"; and the same author has also pointed out that the Bosnian media "reflect ethnic or narrow political interests, not to mention the linguistic or religious component" (Sadikovic 2012). Radenko Udovicic (2010: 13) speaks of "ongoing divergent editorial policies [by the Bosnian public broadcasters] that (...) are to a large extent ethnically and politically antagonistic". Also, Lejla Turcilo (2010) sees the Bosnian media as ethnically divided and, in this respect, as "the e xact image of their society". According to Davor Marko (2010: 34), Bosnian media "send their messages to discrete publics among which minimal communication doesn't take place, let alone a constructive dialogue", which results in a lack of information and knowledge about the others. These observations fully agree with surveys on the popularity of the Bosnian media. A 2013 survey by Ipsos (Istinito 2013) showed that the most trusted newspapers among FBiH's inhabitants are Dnevni Avaz (28%), Vecernji list (7%, with a mostly Croat readership) and Osloboðenje (7%), while in RS the most trusted dailies are EuroBlic (22%), Press RS (16%), and Glas Srpske (11%). The same division along ethnic lines was found for television channels, among which the most trusted stations in FBiH and RS enjoyed almost no popularity in the other entity. In the article entitled Cry from the shahid valley (Karic 2013), Osloboðenje reports about a commemorative rally near Srebrenica during which newly found victims were buried. It quoted parts of speeches of the international High Representative in BiH, the US ambassador, a Turkish minister, and the Bosniak member of the Presidency of BiH. Survivors, Bosnian officials, and two Muslim clerics conducting ceremonies are among other participants that are mentioned. Osloboðenje does not speak about the participation of RS government officials, as mentioned by the Serb media. A number of elements of the text make its perspective explicitly [Bosniak]: the term shahid in the headline (a Muslim term for a martyr), the quoting of the Turkish minister (Turkey often represents itself as the Bosniaks' patron), and the expression "our people" used by one of the speakers to mean the Bosniaks. A number of times, the war event is called "genocide" while only in one quotation "a crime". The reporter and the quoted officials call the killed Bosniak civilians "the objects of the genocide" while those who committed the crime are only once represented in a vague manner by the noun "criminals." Two speakers stress the presence of "lies" about Srebrenica and the US ambassador classifies that as a "denial of genocide". Those suspected of the lies are not mentioned, but the accusations clearly target people among the Bosnian Serb community. Though implicitly, this text dealing with Srebrenica, views the Serbs exclusively in a conflictual light. The persuasive goal of the author can be seen also from the 24 occurrences of the noun genocide and of words grammatically related to it. In the author's view, genocide concerned not only Srebrenica but also "all the occupied places and the surrounded towns of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina between the period of 1992-1995;" that is, all the territory where Serb or Croat units appeared. The Bosnian war is represented exclusively as aggression, while the noun war or other possible alternatives do not occur in the text. The historian regards Serbia as an aggressor (along with Croatia), as the occupier of Srebrenica, and also as the party guilty for the genocide. By contrast, the Bosnian Serb participants of the war are, in his view, merely "collaborators and a fifth column." The Bosniak political and military leadership does not take part in the historian's story, while the Republic of BiH and the Bosniak nation are the objects of the aggression and of the genocide, as the aggressor planned their "destruction" or "annihilation". The historian explains the aggression and the genocide very broadly by "the Serb and Croat nationalist ideology". Judging from the present tense he uses in elaboration of its goals, he probably sees the Serb ideology as persistent over time: "One of the strategic goals of the Serb nationalist ideology (...) is the [Drina] area". [Smail Cekic]'s text has a highly persuasive tone, implies equivalence between BiH and the Bosniaks, and accuses a permanent Serb nationalist ideology of the most brutal aims towards them. Osloboðenje deals with a gathering to commemorate the ARBiH anniversary in a full-page report titled Remembering the foundation of ARBiH (O Bender 2014). Three speakers are quoted: the BiH defense minister, the commander of a unit responsible for maintaining the traditions of the ARBiH within the current joint army, and a delegate of the Bosniak members of the BiH Presidency. At the very beginning, the formation of ARBiH is legitimized by the reporter as a response to "aggression" without stating the instigators of the aggression. Two speakers see the point of ARBiH's existence in defending the country, but just like the reporter they don't specify the adversary: the soldiers "gave their lives to (...) preserve Bosnia and Herzegovina," "honestly and in dignity defended their country," and "had only patriotism in their hearts." In a somewhat different manner, the reporter characterizes the struggle of ARBiH as one "liberating the people". Similarly, the defense minister asserts that, along with the abovementioned defense of BiH, the soldiers gave their lives also for "our freedom." It is not clear whether the speakers referring to the people defended by ARBiH or to us mean all the people of BiH or Bosniaks only. The last speaker represents the role of ARBiH in a further different way:
  • Ngôn ngữ: English
  • Số nhận dạng: ISSN: 12132691 ; E-ISSN: 12127817 ; DOI: 10.5817/CEPSR.2015.1.28

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