Aged 24 and a graduate in journalism, Ljubiša Bojić is an enthusiast of new media:
Currently I'm writing a book about web journalism and digital marketing that I intend to publish in English. I am also in advertising, working as a creative director, mainly doing copy writing. I am interested in great stories and how to make them. It annoys me to see so so much wasted human potential.
Being so passionate about journalism and digitial media, it is not surprising to hear that he started blogging (in Serbian) quite a few years ago:
I have been blogging since 1999. NATO aggression against Serbia motivated me to blog. There was a platform called “Beograd.com”. Many individuals across the country used to inform the community about the state of alert (where the planes came from and what they bombed, etc.). This website marked the beginning of citizen journalism in Serbia. I am proud that I was part of it.
Then, in August 2006, while doing an internship in Hong Kong, Ljubiša started a blog in English to reach a broader audience and “to contribute to the understanding between Serbia and the rest of the world”. In one of his first posts, he wrote a little story about a recurring topic in his blog – corruption:
Here I am on a plane headed to Belgrade. Behind me one Serbian man and a Armenian lady start a conversation. What a better topic to kick off a chat than with corruption issues. Man tells her what he encountered when he was awaiting flight in Moscow. Apparently lady at the counter asked him for bribe when he needed a wheelchair to use it around the airport as he was recovering from a medical operation at the time. On the other side, a Chinese-looking lady tells him about police asking her for bribe in her homeland. They go on and on about corruption. What a beautiful way to connect people. I think they were slowly getting in love while we were getting closer to Belgrade.
However, because of his work and all the projects that he's involved in, Ljubiša says that lately he hasn't had as much time to blog as he used to:
My English blog is pretty messy because, currently I store links and some citations there. Originally I wanted to communicate with the world. But now, because of intensive workload, the only way I manage to keep that connection is by sharing links which inspire me.
Besides his personal blog in English he also blogs in Serbian for the official blog for the Strengths of Serbia Movement “to project a new image of the organization that will get to the citizens’ souls”. There he talks about human rights and political issues such as the following:
In my opinion, our government did great injustice against a politician who won 19% of vote at presidential elections in 2004. They marked him as a criminal, so he had to leave Serbia. His name is Bogoljub Karić, and my cause is to establish strong institutions in our society, so ruling politicians could never abuse power.
In 2006, at around the same time he started his blog in English, Ljubiša joined the Global Voices Online team as an author for Serbia and the Balkans after meeting co-founder Rebecca MacKinnon in Hong Kong:
It was sunny day and I was trying to get an interview from journalism professor for my documentary about media in Hong Kong. I talked to Ying Chan, head of Journalism and Media Studies Center at HKU. She told me about exciting thing going on around blogosphere – Global Voices Online. At that time, she was expecting arrival of a new professor to teach New Media. Guess who that was – Rebecca MacKinnon.
During his almost two years with Global Voices Ljubiša has written mostly about Serbian politics, such as Kosovo's independence or last january's presidential elections. But he has also introduced blogs from his home town (Kragujevac, in Serbia), has written about the situation of Roma people in Slovenia and the legalization of prostitution in Croatia, and has introduced many readers to the famous Bosnian pyramid and to the oldest blogger in the Balkans.
Ljubiša Bojić is also the founder of the Serbian Web Journalism School, a new media project that recently received a Rising Voices grant and that is also supported by the Serbian Journalist Association and the International University of Novi Pazar. He described in his blog what motivated him to start this project:
As the process of transition continues, the number of those who can't find job grows, here in central Serbia. This people need voice, at least. I decided to apply for Rising Voices grant in September to provide education, motivation and technology to individuals in need, so they can go online, tell their stories, establish contacts with some international organizations and maybe even get help. If nothing else, I am sure they will get moral support from communities of bloggers and news media from everywhere around the globe. They can share facts about corrupt privatization in Serbia, describe the way state treats them and talk about their human rights issues.
Another aspect of his Rising Voices project is contributing to the understanding between Serbian and Albanian youth from Serbia and Kosovo respectively:
Picture below shows Serb and Albanian youth talking how to connect and overcome difficulties that were created during centuries of hostility in southern province. I strongly believe young activist can make a difference. We need to come close, and do our best to boost economy. We would all love to live better and enter the EU. Why should we make conflicts and disagreement, when we can bond and interact.
Asked about the Serbian blogosphere, Ljubiša commented:
The Serbian blogosphere is diffused and small, because most of people hardly find time to blog something meaningful. Real hit among young generations is Facebook though. There are no real blogging stars except those public figures who post on B92 VIP. I consider limiting who can blog bad decision, so mortals use international blogging platforms, except one Serbian service (mojblog.co.yu).
He sees himself as a kind of bridge between different types of bloggers in Serbia:
One part of Serbian bloggers write about their day to day life, and there is no much politics. Others write politics exclusively. Part of them are patriotic, and the other part are oriented towards the European Union. So, our blogosphere is divided like our society. I am somewhere on the middle of this specter, so I can connect them. Ha ha ha.
And finally, we had to ask him about his most memorable blogging experience:
When the CNN said that NATO had bombed a military factory in my city (Kragujevac). That was in 1999. And that was actually a car production factory, Zastava. I blogged about the lie published by mainstream media. I think not so many people heard about it. But there was no GVO back then. I learned how media can be misused. That is how I came up with a media/political positivism theory.