‘Glorifying violence’: Serbian protesters blame mass shootings on shock reality TV shows

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© Andrej Isakovic, AFP

A massive protest in Belgrade on Monday expressed anger at the role of reality TV programmes in creating a culture of violence seen as a factor in the two mass shootings that plunged Serbia into mourning last week.

The two mass shootings in a space of a week in Serbia were a shockingly rare occurrence, even if Serbia has Europe’s highest rate of firearms possession.

With 19 people killed, including children in a nursery school, the shootings prompted Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s vow to “disarm” the country.

But for many of the demonstrators on the streets of Belgrade on May 8, sections of the media share a significant part of the blame for last week’s tragedies.

“There were many calls for the heads of the media regulatory body to resign, as well as calls for the media to stop promoting violence,” said Aleksandra Krstic, an expert on the Serbian media at Belgrade University who took part in the demonstration.

By making violence acceptable to viewers, these vicious shows allow the state media to increase hate speech against opposition figures without causing much of a stir.

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