Grantees Serbia


Mašina is the only openly left-oriented media that is part of the media scene in Serbia. There are a certain number of portals in Serbia that exist but are not part of the media scene, nor accepted as media in the classical sense of the word. The reason for this is the ideological position of liberalism, where any (and especially the left in an essentially right-oriented society) position is considered unacceptable in the media profession. The position of “journalistic objectivity” thus often implies the masking of liberal, anti-democratic positions from which the journalistic profession starts.

That’s why Mašina say that they are not an “objective” media portal, but that they intentionally give voice and media space primarily to the underprivileged, the poor, the workers, those who have been suppressed, hidden and marginalized by society, deprived of their voice and right to a dignified life. Starting from those positions, and respecting the principles of honest, informative, truthful and uncompromising reporting, as well as radical critical analysis, Mašina has become a respected media that is not only read by a wider audience, but also by colleagues working in other independent media. This is a point of  pride, and they consider it particularly important to nurture and further develop such a space for engagement, discourse and connection.

The Mašina portal exists for nine years now. They function via a work collective of six permanently engaged and employed persons, with over 30 permanent associates from the wider activist scene who occasionally write for the portal. Their permanent staff works according to the principles of self-management – all members together make decisions about the ways of working and the working conditions in accordance with the annual budget at their disposal. They also make decisions about development, direction of development and collaborators together, respecting everyone’s opinion and making decisions through deliberation. Mašina consider this a great value of their organization, which, despite the nature of work and activism, manages to maintain enthusiasm for years, with a tendency to grow, precisely because of its internal dynamics. They are also nurturing collective care principles and improvement safe and friendly environment for all teammates based on principles of feminisation of organizing.

Mašina crew work in a small office in the center of Belgrade, in the building of the former socialist newspaper Borba. Their employees and associates are active in trade unions, struggles for labor rights, women’s rights, environmental movements, Roma communities, etc.

They nurture the trend of expansion and inclusion. At the moment, in their group, in addition to full-time employees and those engaged, there are also two young people working on an intership, ie. budding activists in training.

Minority groups are precisely one of Mašina’s primary focuses. They deal with the specific problems of young people, women, migrants, Roma, the homeless, the socially excluded and vulnerable, members of the LGBT+ population, people with disabilities, the elderly, etc. regularly reports and writes analytical texts about women’s rights, violence against women, women’s labor rights, but also about people who do not fit into gender binaries. People who live with different gender identities are socially invisible in Serbia, their needs and problems are not heard or seen by the public, and support exists in narrow circles. Regular reporting and analysis of the problems of the LGBTIQA+ population contributes to increasing visibility and normalizing attitudes towards this marginalized group, and reporting on the violence and discrimination they suffer on a daily basis is extremely important both for breaking down stigmas and for changing legislation.

The inclusive principle is the backbone of the Mašina editorial policy as well as the internal work dynamic.

Their editorial staff consists of feminists, trade unionists, lgbt+ people, Roma, members of national minorities. The crew respect and nurture the right to choice and diversity in their circles, they are an irreplaceable value in editorial meetings when tricky daily topics to write about come to the agenda. They believe that the team diversity and the circle of people with whom they work most closely, is their main asset, and their engine runs on the energy of enthusiasm for change. Many of the people who passed through Mašina’s educational programs are today important actors in their movements – whether feminist, environmental, trade unionist, etc.

Grant size  10-20k Year  2023 Approach  Capacity building (trainings, events, research) ; Organising

Issue Areas  Alternative Economies ; Anti-oppression issues

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