Posted by: euromediablog | March 25, 2009

Serbian Fortune Tellers Without Frontiers

Se io avessi una botteguccia
fatta di una sola stanza
vorrei mettermi a vendere
sai cosa? La speranza.

Gianni Rodari

Most media consumers coming from Western Europe are not  quite familiar with the crucial media status, TV fortune tellers enjoyed in the European transition countries in the nineties. To cut the long story short, this type of occupation requires

“a person claiming to have divine, or supernatural powers and ability to see future, predict what’ gonna happen to you, your family, your friends and your pets in the near or distant future simply by hearing your voice over the phone during live broadcast”.

In the times of economic instability these television prophets acquired very high credibility and some of them could even make their way in the prime-time of cable television channels, making huge profits from the national deficit of hope.

A decade later, after being officially  banned from  television, Serbian fortune tellers simply moved to neighbouring countries like Bosnia and Croatia and started broadcasting to Serbian households from there. This makes Serbian regulatory authorities helpless  and reminds of similar problems when inventing  “Television Without Frontiers” in 1989 . Back then one of  the main aims of the EU Directive was exactly the same- to enable the regulation of content produced in one member state, but  targeted at another one (most of the times a neighbour one).

After the enlargment of the EU to the East and the upcoming financial crisis, the significance of fortune tellers in the new Europe is once again expected to rise. Wouldn’t it be appropriate to define fortune telling officially as fraud and thus ban it from the European air, by including an extra paragraph in the Directive? After all hope selling endangers not only consumer protection but also human dignity, both values the EU openly stands for.

For more Information: BalkanInsight and


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