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NED and NIIT Project – “15 minutes” Talk Shows

Aiming to foster independent reporting in the southern Serbia, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) supported the NIIT’s project “15 minutes” in 2014. The vital role in the project was played by the Juzne vesti’s news portal. The team of journalists and editors produced 74 interviews with representatives of local and national authorities, civil servants, and civil society representatives. Additionally, the previously developed database ‘Who is Who’, featuring profiles of local political actors, was updated and expanded.

The overall objective of the project was to strengthen democratic values and democratic political processes in the South region of Serbia through enhancing the citizens’ participation and transparency processes.

The main idea of the project was to grow capacities for public monitoring through direct communication and interaction with authorities, demanding answers on fulfillment of their political promises and plans. Moreover, the project goal was to increase citizens’ engagement in the political-civil dialogue and to ensure critical and fact-based opinion making. At large, the project promoted unbiased reporting about political parties and their activities in-between elections.

The main activity of the project was the talk shows “15 minutes”. The team of Juzne vesti produced and broadcast a series of video emissions focused on politicians, authorities, political actors and decision-makers. The guests were interviewed about important for the region issues, such as natural disaster response, bad state of public infrastructure, corruption, frauds, evasions, and accountability of local authorities and politicians. Furthermore, the important questions of media freedom and threats to journalists were raised and brought to the public attention.

The interviews were accompanied by journalistic investigations and cover stories, which provided more information about the raised issues and the shows’ guests.

The talk shows’ hallmark was the audience’s engagement at all stages, beginning with suggestions on topics and guests and continuing through comments and discussions.

The interviews were regularly promoted on social networks and resulted in a significant audiences’ outbreak.