This study analyzed how organized crime was presented in Serbian print media during 2003 and how this coverage was connected to broader social and political processes.
The print media examined included the daily newspapers Blic and Politika and the magazine Vreme for the period between January 1 and September 30, 2003, as well as selected articles published in some other daily and weekly newspapers and magazines throughout 2003. The number of articles and their content were documented. The articles focused on the following types of crimes associated with organized crime: murder, document and money counterfeiting, racketeering, corruption, kidnapping, illegal possession of weapons, car theft, burglary robbery, and smuggling and illegal trade in various goods. Most of the articles (48.4 percent) reported on murders attributed to organized crime. More than half of all reports on murders dealt with political murders. Although articles on trafficking in people appeared often, it was only sporadically related to organized crime. The study characterizes media reporting on organized crime in four periods of crucial political events and the broader political process. These are the period before the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, the state of emergency 1 month and a half after the assassination, the period between the end of the state of emergency and the start of trials for organized crime (May-September 2003), and the trials. The coverage of organized crime and the print media in these periods is discussed. 21 notes and 9 references