Third EU-Western Balkans Media Days: EU reaffirms comprehensive support to media freedom in the region

Media frame

(Matthew Guay, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


At the third EU-Western Balkans Media Days taking place from 12-13 September in Podgorica, Montenegro, the European Commission confirmed its support to the region with new initiatives focusing on media accountability, literacy and governance, judicial expertise on freedom of expression and promotion of reconciliation and regional cooperation. This is part of the EU’s firm support to media freedom and independence of journalism in the Western Balkans and underpins the ongoing regional programmes worth €20 million.

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, commented: “Freedom of expression and media freedom are part of the very foundation on which our Union is built; they are also key political indicators in the EU accession process. In view of the worrying developments across the region, from undue political interference to the spread of disinformation, this year’s Media Days shed the spotlight on the relation between media and politics, and paved the way towards identifying concrete actions and opportunities to improve the current situation.”

The third edition of the EU-Western Balkans Media Days gathered some 350 representatives of media and civil society organisations as well as policymakers from the Western Balkans and the EU. For the first time, political representatives from the region also joined the discussions on the crucial role of media in the accession process, aimed at developing forward-looking proposals and actions to improve the situation of journalists and strengthen independent media.

EU support to media in the Western Balkans

The European Union pursues a long-term strategic approach to support media freedom in the Western Balkans. Ongoing EU assistance includes a number of programmes and initiatives focussed on economic sustainability, media accountability and regional networks that foster regional cooperation and reconciliation.

The ongoing support amounts to over €20 million, including €11.5 million through 5 regional programmes and €8.2 million for initiatives in the six Western Balkan partners.

Regional programmes: 

• Reinforcing Judicial Expertise on Freedom of Expression and the Media (€2.5 million): implemented in partnership with the Council of Europe (CoE), the programme provides support to the judiciary in applying the European Court of Human Rights case-law system and offers training on ethical rules to media regulatory authorities.

• Regional Training Programme to improve Quality and Professionalism of Journalism (€2 million): supports a regional network led by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) to enhance journalism education and to promote exchanges between journalists and academia from the EU and Western Balkans. The Regional EU Award Scheme for Investigative Journalism is financed within this framework.

• Building Trust in Media (€1.5 million): implemented in partnership with UNESCO, the programme supports media accountability, media internal governance and media information literacy.

• Direct grant to the European Endowment for Democracy (€4 million): Flexible re-granting scheme for media and pro-democracy support in fast changing environments.

• Technical Assistance Programme to support Public Service Media in the Western Balkans (€1.5 million): implemented by a consortium led by the International Federation of Journalists and the European Broadcasting Union. The project promotes sustainable models for funding, transparent election of governing bodies, integrated newsrooms, editorial guidelines, regional co-production of contents for youth and investigative reporting.

Among the €8.2 million support in the six Western Balkans we are currently implementing initiatives such as: Towards improved labour relations and professionalism in the Albanian media; Mapping human rights in media observing positions of citizens, vulnerable layers of society and media community in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Supporting Media and Independent Journalism with a Human Rights Perspective in Kosovo; Towards more professional and credible investigative journalism in Montenegro; News and digital literacy project: Where fake news fails (North Macedonia); Technical assistance contracts to two Public Broadcasters in Serbia.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Palliative Care in Children, why it is less known and why do we need to raise awareness more?

Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year for 2019 is ‘climate emergency’

Dinner with friends: how Switzerland is relaxing its coronavirus lockdown

Questions & Answers on vaccine negotiations

Greece and Ukraine main items on EU28 menu; the course is set

COVID-19: Managing Our Mental Health

Estonia is making public transport free

Agreement reached on digital copyright rules

This AI-powered app aims to help people with autism improve their social skills

Commission welcomes political agreement on EU4Health

World must do more to tackle ‘shadowy’ mercenary activities undermining stability in Africa, says UN chief

Eurozone needs more than some decimals of growth

Building a stronger Europe: new initiatives to further boost role of youth, education and culture policies

3 ways to stop COVID-19 from drying up start-up talent pools

Mental health and suicide prevention – What can be done to increase access to mental health services in my region?

Food supply chain: A step closer to ending unfair trading

‘Are we ready for the age of disruption?’, Thailand’s Foreign Minister asks UN Assembly

‘Good enough’ global cooperation is key to our survival

Bertelsmann Stiftung @ European Business Summit 2014: Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TTIP) needs balanced approach

Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, during a recent press conference in Brussels / Berlaymont. (Copyright: EU, 2018 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart)

EU opens investigation into Qatar Petroleum over potentially restrictive gas contracts

MEPs adopted measures to reconcile work and family life

90% of European Jews say antisemitism is getting worse

Future Forces Forum: Prague will be hosting the most important project in the field of Defence and Security

Changing for the change: Medicine in Industry 4.0

How and why Mercedes fakes the EU fuel consumption tests

Across the world, women outlive men. This is why

South Sudan: ‘Horrific acts’ by government may constitute ‘war crimes’ says UN, demanding justice

We need to bin disposable items for good. Here are 5 ways to do it

This man is helping explorers carry out scientific research at the ends of the Earth

3 reasons all countries should embrace the Global Compact for Migration

EU-US Trade: European Commission endorses rebalancing duties on US products

Trump’s denial of Paris climate agreement; the US Republicans lash out against the world

Open-plan offices make workers less collaborative, Harvard study finds

3 vital skills for the age of disruption

Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts – now’, Guterres declares

Israeli settlements remain ‘flagrant violation’ of international law, UN envoy tells Security Council

Actions not words: what was promised at the UN’s landmark climate summit?

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

After music and TV, where will the streaming revolution take us next?

We want to hear about Europe our citizens are dreaming of, says von der Leyen about the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe

Yemen: Security Council backs new mission in support of key port city truce

The community and a decent working conditions for the young health workforce

Confidence in COVID-19 vaccines continues to rise, Ipsos-Forum poll shows

The pandemic’s effects on US jobs in charts

How electrification can supercharge the energy transition

From fire to fake snow – the global consequences of the climate crisis

It’s time to fulfil the promises made to women 25 years ago

Achieving an optimal student-to-tutor ratio during the COVID-19 pandemic

No patents on naturally obtained plants and seeds

UN agencies ramp up Somalia measles and polio campaign

Closing the gaps in accelerating women’s rights: The role of medical students

The Pandora Box of misinformation surrounding the Covid-19 vaccination drive

UN chief sends condolences to families of Malawi flood victims

5 world-changing ideas: our top picks for World Creativity and Innovation Day

Will the end of QE come along with ECB’s inflation target?

Slight easing of G20 GDP growth in first quarter of 2018

10 ways central banks are experimenting with blockchain

Coronavirus: rescEU masks delivered to Spain, Italy and Croatia

Why business can no longer turn a blind eye to poor vision

What is a CSO and does every company need one?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s