Serbian TV is a diet of women being beaten and threats issued at gunpoint. But this is not fiction. It is a reality show where, among others, infamous mobsters and war criminals are the stars. The shows have been widely popular for years but have recently found themselves in the crosshairs of an enraged public following two mass shootings that protestors say were in part rooted in a culture of violence fanned by the media. Drunken arguments, gossip and the occasional fights have long been a staple of reality TV across the globe. But in Serbia, the programmes have taken the genre to even greater lows. Underworld figures, war criminals and the mentally unstable are regularly cast in series known for gratuitous levels of violence. In 2021, around a dozen cast members watched impassively while a convicted felon strangled a woman unconscious on the show Zadruga — one of the most popular reality series in the Balkan country. “All my daughter’s friends know who (the cast) are and to them, they are just TV stars. Not criminals or wife beaters, just stars” said Dejan Injac, a 44-year-old resident of Belgrade who joined the mass protests this week calling for the shows to be pulled from the air.