Regional conference of the SEE Media Observatory in Tirana

Regional conference of the SEE Media Observatory in Tirana
Event date: 
Thu, 2014-06-12 09:00
Central regional conference “Media and journalism in South East Europe – Captured by particular interests or turning to serve the public?” was held in Tirana on 12-13 June 2014. 
The current situation of the media and journalism in the countries of South East Europe is critical. Especially the patterns of media ownership and financing seem to appear as key instruments for obstruction of democratic role of the media. Why the media systems in the region do not provide conditions and mechanisms to enforce the media to function as transparent, independent and responsible institutions?  What are the reforms needed to turn them to serve the public interest?
These issues were in focus of the South East European Media Observatory research conducted between July 2013 and February 2014. We addressed them by applying the concept of media integrity and focused on the situation in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia. The Observatory also supported six investigative journalism projects to bring to the light concrete cases of relations and practices harmful for media integrity.
The South East European Media Observatory as a regional partnership of seven civil society organisations was organising a regional conference, to discuss issues of media integrity with prominent researchers, media professionals, public officials and non-governmental organisations from these countries, but also other countries in the region. High representatives of relevant European institutions and of international organisations working in the media field as well as distinguished academics had also have an important role in the program.  Altogether almost 50 speakers have had confirmed their participation.
At the conference host by the Albanian Media Institute, the SEE Media Observatory has presented a book containing the results of the regional research on media integrity. 
Agenda of the conference can be downloaded here.
The central regional conference in Tirana comes 10 years after the Bled conference, organized on 11-12 June 2004 at the end of the previous regional research of the network SEENPM “Media ownership and its impact on media independence and pluralism”. This time distance allows good opportunity for comparison.
The current project SEE Media Observatory has been financed mainly by the European Union’s program “Civil Society Facility”.  The organisation of the central regional conference has also been supported by the Central European Initiative (CEI) and Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organisations (TACSO).
In addition, in 2013 and 2014, the SEE Media Observatory activities have been supported by the Open Society Foundations Program on Independent Journalism,  Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Media Program for South East Europe, Open Society Foundation Serbia, Office for Cooperation with NGOs within the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Serbia, and the Guardian Foundation.