REPORTING ON SECESSION IN SERBIAN MEDIA: THE CASES OF SCOTLAND AND CATALONIA
This research relies on instrumentalist explanatory theories of secession and the media framing theory in order to examine discursive praxis through which Serbian journalists report on independence referendums being held in West Europe, with primary focus being dedicated to the case of Spain and the United Kingdom. The aim of the research is to investigate whether a comparison can be drawn between media discourse on the secession of Kosovo and interpretative patterns that are utilized when Serbian media report on attempts of Catalonia and Scotland secession. The goal is to conclude whether Serbian journalists produce subjective or objective and analytical articles when writing about the sensitive subject of separatism outside of the domestic political context. The sample is based on the Internet archive of ten newspapers and broadcasting agencies which substantively covered the issue of Scotland’s and Catalonia’s right to self-determination during the respective referendums. The results go against the initial hypothesis which predicted that discursive frames used in describing the secession of Kosovo would completely spill over to reports on West European cases, but confirm the lack of adequate analytical approach to secessionism in Serbian media. We found several equal interpretative patterns in both observed media discourses - on Catalonia and Scotland secession attempts, on the one, and Kosovo secession, on the second hand. Those are: resistance to secession and other secessionist activities; support for central government anti-secessionist policies, and the European Union responsibility. Two key differences regarding previously framed discourse on Kosovo secession are: absence of secessionist leaders humiliation and more visible discourse of Serbian responsibility. When it comes to Kosovo and Catalonia secessionism comparation, the media mostly take over and reproduce the Serbian political mainstream agenda and interpretation. This is the way to instrumentalize this media topic in order to draw attention to Kosovo's problem, while supporting Serbian political leaders and disputing the European Union legitimacy (since it has supported Kosovo's secession). The mainstream media discourse has been challenged having in mind daily Danas, which frames the topics of secession by diversifying sources and subjects of reporting, using a larger share of analytical papers, and opening the perspective of Serbian political responsibility for secession of Kosovo. But this media discourse polarization has one broader and dominant (pro-government) and one minor and marginalized (pro-opposition) pole.