In the Principality of Serbia an оfficial newspaper was first published in 1834. As serbian periodicals of the 19th century are not fully preserved and archives are fragmentary, the official newspapers represent an irreplaceable and inexhaustible source of research into serbian history. The newspapers contain an exceptional collection of all legal acts ever published in Serbia. Public enterprise “The Official Gazette“ presents a digital version of Serbian Newspaper (Novine serbske, Srpske novine) and The Official Newspaper (Službene novine) as well as The Official Gazette (Službeni glasnik) published after World War II.

The tradition of serbian official newspapers goes back all the way to 1813. Following a few unsuccessful attempts in the 18th century to found a paper in slaveno-serbian language, Dimitrije Davidović and Dimitrije Frušić, two Serbs who were students in the austrian capitol, started publishing Serbian Newspaper from the Imperial City of Vienna (Novine serbske iz carstvujuščeg grada Vijene), the first serbian newspaper that would last for a longer period. As was written on its front page, the paper was published with the consent of the austrian emperor and under a strict court censorship. Under such circumstances, content of the paper basically included news from different european countries and the world, which not rarely had the hallmark of the austrian political standpoint of the time. News from abroad included those from Serbia – relevant information about battles in the First Serbian Rising, as well as events that occured in the following years. Serbian Newspaper (Novine Serbske) at that time already had an official character because they published austrian imperial acts, international treaties and Vienna stock exchange reports. At the same time they had a significant educational role as they brought literary articles and appropriate features about education. Constantly confronted with financial problems, the paper was published over a nine year period. In the beginning there were more than 400 subscribers and when that number went down the paper stopped being published in 1822.

The newspaper started coming out again on January 5th 1834 in Kragujevac. Again the editor was Dimitrije Davidović who at the time was prince Miloš’s secretary. The following year the paper was published in Belgrade under a different name – Serbian Newspaper with the Highest Government Approval (Новине србске с височайшимъ дозоленемъ правителства) and it gained a clear profile of an official newspaper by bringing public acts of the Principality of Serbia. At first the prince’s decrees were published, as well as turkish legal acts that strengthened serbian autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. Later, as state administration and legal practice became more complex, various enactments appeared on the pages of the paper. News from the country and the world, educational issues, public and private ads were also included.
The newspaper changed its name into Serbian Newspaper (Srbske novine) in 1843 and they were called Srpske novine from 1870.

From 1914 they were published in Niš, from 1916 on the island of Corfu in Greece, then again in Belgrade from January 1919, but only eight numbers were issued. From February 1919 they were published as The Official Newspaper of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Službene novine Kraljevine Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca), and from 1929 as The Official Newspaper of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Službene novine Kraljevine Jugoslavije). During World War II yugoslav royal government in exile published 19 issues of The Official Newspaper in London and Kairo. The newspaper shared the destiny of the serbian people. Wherever the government went, the paper went with it, not just to other countries but to other continents as well.

Serbian Newspaper is an exceptional historical source which offers documented evidence about political, legal, economic and cultural development of Serbia.

Digitalization will enable educational and cultural institutions in Serbia to browse through serbian modern history easily and quickly, which will be of great help in teaching history, Serbian language, law and economy and beneficial for research work as well. The digitalization project is being realized by The Official Gazette, which is the legal successor of The Official Newspaper.