Impressive and challenging initiative

Event date: 
Wed, 2013-04-17 10:00

Participants of the regional consultations in Ljubljana support and stimulate the initiative for the SEE Media Observatory

»Regional cooperation and regional exchange of experiences and information about the successes and failures in media development in the countries of South East Europe are very important«, said Lejla Dervišagić, Program Advisor at the Media Division of the Council of Europe, expressing support to the initiative for the South East European Media Observatory at the regional consultations held in Ljubljana on 17 April 2013.

It was a working meeting of organisations active in the field of media freedom and media development in the region of South East Europe, gathered to discuss the new regional initiative “South East European Media Observatory ‒ Building Capacities and Coalitions for Monitoring Media Integrity and Advancing Media Reforms”.

Oliver Vujović, Secretary General of SEEMO, Bojana Barlovac, a journalist and editor working for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Josip Popovac, Secretary General of the European Association of Public Service Media in South East Europe, Deniz Yazici, Research Officer at the office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and  Mark Thompson, Regional Editor at the Open Society Foundations Media Program – besides Lejla Dervišagić, Program Advisor at the Media Divison of the Council of Europe – reflected the ideas and instruments incorporated in the initiative “South East European Media Observatory”, presented to them by Brankica Petković, regional program coordinator of the Media Observatory.

As a project supported by the European Commission within pre-accession assistance, the SEE Media Observatory should organize its regional meetings and discussions around concrete media policy issues and bring together not only media policy makers from the governments in the accession countries, and other stakeholders on national and regional level, but also representatives of the European Commission to be part of the process, providing in that way that leverage of the EC is used on regional level to advance media reforms which strengthen public service requirements in the national media systems. That was one of the main messages from the participants of the regional consultations to the regional media observatory.

When focusing on media integrity in its research dimension the Media Observatory should avoid tendency of many media research projects to excessively emphasize negative sides of media development and media functioning, said Mark Thompson. Also, more diversified efforts than usually have to be made to provide public outreach of the research findings, not only by merely publishing and presenting them. Especially, communities on the internet and on social networks have to be mobilized through the actions of the Media Observatory aimed at initiating and generating online discussions about media integrity issues, said Bojana Barlovac. Consider possibility to translate, post and promote not only reports but all content and debates of the Media Observatory in local languages, reaching out local media communities and general public, stressed Oliver Vujović. Map and examine enemies of public service media in the region, was a point made by Josip Popovac.

Such constructive and supportive reflections were provided for the SEE Media Observatory by experts from regional and international organizations during the whole meeting. In that way the regional consultations have effectively generated ideas for improvements in the next steps of the SEE Media Observatory.