The South East European Partnership for Media Development Project ends today, after four years of hard but rewarding work by partners in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. It brought together journalists, media centers and institutes, trade unions, CSOs, academics and policy makers whose combined efforts aimed at the development of independent and accountable media in the Western Balkans.
“It was a tremendous journey. We analyzed the lives of journalists and faced the challenges they face, all over the region. We tapped into positive energies but also hit obstacles more or less visible. We wish we could say that we find the region in a better state than four years ago. This is not the case. The threats to media freedom and independence are even more serious and the need for good, responsible journalism is bigger than ever. Good journalism needs not only good professionals and employers, but also good public, educated and willing to consume and support truth and transparency”, said Ioana Av?dani, director of the Center for Independent Journalism in Bucharest and project manager.
Under the project, the partners produced two overarching regional studies: one on the labour relations in the media in the region and a second one focusing on media literacy and education. The studies have been discussed at national and regional level by hundreds of journalists and scholars and resulted in policy recommendations. The partners also monitored the freedom of expression in the region and produced a series of studies addressing issues such as the hate speech on religious grounds, the digitalization of the media or the role of social media in setting up the public agenda.
“Threats towards media professionals and the lack of sensitivity to freedom of expression is a crime and we expect politicians to protect these freedoms rather than limit them. Underestimating the freedom of expression is equal to non-observance of good international standards and practices and contributes to SEE region’s poor image on the global media scene”, says Yana Pelovska, Managing Director of the Media Development Center, Bulgaria.
SEE Partnership for Media Development was implemented by a consortium coordinated by the Center for Independent Journalis, (Romania) and composed of: Albanian Media Institute, Mediacenter for Media and Civil Society Development (BiH), Media Initiatives – Association for Media Development and Promotion of Professional Journalism (BiH), Macedonian Institute for Media (Macedonia), Montenegro Media Institute (Montenegro), Foundation Media Center (Serbia), Media and Reform Centre Nis (Serbia), Media Development Center (Bulgaria). Media professionals from Kosovo and Turkey were also involved. More information about the project is available at: https://seemediapartnership.cji.ro/
“The project may end, but it will continue to produce results. We raised awareness of issues less addressed, we increased the advocacy capacities of media organizations, we put topics on the public agendas in the countries we worked in. It is important for our work to continue, for more and more stakeholders to join their efforts in protecting the freedom of expression, in all its forms”, concluded Avadani.
The Project was co-financed by the European Commission, the Civil Society Facility, Media Freedom and Accountability Programme, Europe Aid/134613/C/ACT/MULTI
EAVI – Media Literacy for Citizenship is committed to serve public interest in the fields of media in Europe and to promote media literacy world-wide
The Media Development Center (MDC), Bulgaria, signed a collaboration agreement and became a member of the Brussels-based European Association for Viewers Interests (EAVI). The Bulgarian organization will reinforce the partnership network of 40 associations, institutions and companies from all across Europe and beyond and will strengthen the advocacy efforts for media literacy and full citizenship in Europe.
Full and active citizenship in Europe is increasingly reliant on media literacy skills. By empowering Europeans as responsible media users, EAVI is actually working towards the goal of a healthy, democratic, more cohesive society.
“Becoming part of EAVI is of high importance to us as this partnership brings added value to our scope of work, especially in the area of media literacy. It will allow us to deliver integrated services across Europe and beyond. We are willing to develop, disseminate and exchange ideas of best practices in the media literacy field and to boost the networking and cross-border cooperation in Europe”, said Yana Pelovska, Managing Director of the Media Development Center.
By joining forces EAVI and the Media Development Center will facilitate the adoption of initiatives that enable citizens read, write and participate in public life through the media. EAVI represents citizens interests in the European sphere through lobbying, conferences, networking, research, media literacy focused projects, the development of good practices and the production of online content of resources with a particular attention to the education of young people.
Media Development Center, Sofia (MDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1998. It was established to promote independent media in Bulgaria, and to foster capacity-building of the media by encouraging good practice in journalism, stimulating the professional ethics, institutionalizing the dialogue among the state administration, the media and the NGO sector.
In the two years since the first edition of this report was released, Southeast Europe
has continued to see progress toward protecting whistleblowers from retaliation and
harness their disclosures to fight crime and corruption. As in all regions, however,
much work is needed to ensure that citizens and employees who report misconduct are
not punished as a result. Of the 10 countries profiled here, seven now have in place some form of legal
protections for whistleblowers. This is up from four countries in mid-2015, thanks to
laws passing or taking effect in Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro.
This number could rise soon, with policy-makers and activists working to develop new
laws in Croatia and Moldova. Among the 10 countries, only in Bulgaria is there little
momentum to strengthening whistleblower rights.
This report is being released as the Southeast Europe Coalition on Whistleblower Protection completes its second year in operation. The Coalition is comprised of more than 30 NGOs in 13 countries that receive and investigate whistleblower disclosures and complaints, advise and support whistleblowers, and advocate for stronger whistleblower laws. This report is an update of a 2015 report published by the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative.
The Media Development Center is a member of the Coalition and producer of the report on Bulgaria.
The report can be downloaded here.