Editorial Remarks

Igor Vobič

1The position of the media vis-à-vis the state and the Communist Party, varying between coercion and liberalisation in different periods of socialist Yugoslavia, was continuously re-shaped by the way the communication system(s) were developing, in turn re-articulating the role(s) of journalism in political and cultural life. As social institutions, the media and journalism in Yugoslavia were re-configured in the dynamics between the one-party state political system, the ‘pluralism of self-managing interests’ and the market economy, whereas the dominant concepts and corresponding policies of intercultural and international communication emerged amid imbalances in international news flows and inequalities and tensions among social groups, regions and republics of the federation. This thematic issue of the journal Contributions to Contemporary History views this history as a flow of discontinuities and new beginnings rather than linear progress or demise, acknowledging the relevance held by social history, cultural traditions, particularities of economic development, the (inter)national configurations of power and the development of state policies for studying the contradictions of media and journalism in socialist Yugoslavia.

2Against this backdrop, the thematic issue considers theoretical and empirical voids in the scarce scholarly research that can be found, exploring certain discontinuities in Yugoslav media and journalism’s contemporary history by analysing rich historical materials from a variety of sources, chiefly archival materials, scholarly documentation, media content, and oral history interviews. The invited contributions reappraise some of the key ideas and communication research in the SFRY period, examine tensions in international and intercultural communication, with a focus on the Tanjug news agency and the Non-Aligned news agency pool, reconsider the normative foundations of Yugoslav journalism and investigate what former journalists remember about their roles as socio-political workers, analyse journalistic discourse concerning pressing issues of the collapsing state, and explore the place of the media in forming collective and individual memories of socialist Yugoslavia.

3The studies in this thematic issue are the result of cooperation between the Social Communication Research Centre at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, and the Institute for Contemporary History as part the basic research project The Role of Communication Inequalities in Disintegration of a Multinational Society (J5-1793) financed by ARRS – Slovenian Research Agency. Both the project and this thematic issue promote the disciplinary integration of history and communication science by exploring and explaining the complexities of material and symbolic re-configurations of the media and journalism in Yugoslavia while also gathering and analysing the memories of journalism professionals and media audiences of the socialist past. Although the studies investigate only some of the past discontinuities in the media and journalism and their re-imaginings today, it is vital that such interdisciplinary research continue if we are to ensure a more nuanced picture of of Yugoslav media and journalism history and overcome the simplified images of that socialist society that prevail in contemporary public life in Slovenia and in other countries of the region.

4Ljubljana, 10 April 2022