by Kristina Irion
On paper, media policy in Western Balkan countries complies with the standards set by the Council of Europe and the EU aquis. However, a cross-national comparison of case studies from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia (FYROM) and Serbia that I conducted with my colleague Tarik Jusić showed that media systems in these countries have the form, but often lack the substance of democratic media institutions. In particular, we find a worrying tendency for media, politics, and business to form an iron triangle- a self-enforcing power structure serving local, albeit sometimes competing, elites. In such a context, politics and businesses deputize mass media to advance their partisan interests and, with some notable exceptions, mass media ties in with politics and businesses for revenues.