Media Freedom in the Balkans

LR Larisa Rankovic Public Seen by 402

Dear Participants,

Welcome to the Media Freedom group and thank you for joining.

We are starting online consultation process ahead of the Civil Society Forum in July in Trieste, with the goal to open floor for discussion about challenges to media freedom in the region and to give our recommendations for improving that situation.

In short, a forum where the voice of the media and civil society could be heard.

Main issues and arguments presented in this discussion, conclusions and policy recommendations will be heard in Trieste, both by participants from the civil society sector and by political leaders gathered there.

Let's use this opportunity to debate about this highly relevant topic in the next month or so.

My name is Larisa Rankovic, I am regional monitoring and evaluation officer in the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and I will moderate our discussion.

Hoping to hear from you soon in a lively debate, I suggest that we start with general overview of what media freedom in the Balkans looks like right now.

Here is an intro from the May 2017 Council of Europe's "Media freedom trends":

"Media freedom, a core EU value and a cornerstone of democracy, is a priority reform area in the Western Balkans' EU accession agenda. Yet, despite a certain level of preparedness and a broadly developed legal framework, aspirant countries keep facing systemic shortcomings that require long-term sustained efforts. These efforts have stalled in recent years, resulting in a 'no progress' situation." http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2017/603888/EPRS_ATA(2017)603888_EN.pdf

What do you say?

How you would in short describe media situation in your country or in the region?

Do we feel that media freedom is really a priority reform area in the Western Balkans' EU accession agenda? What is missing?


Media News from the Balkans Thu 1 Jun 2017 8:48AM

Several attacks on journalists during President Vucic’s inauguration

Inauguration of the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic did not pass without incidents. His supporters attacked journalists from Insajder (Insider) Production, Vice, Radio Belgrade, and daily newspapers Today (Danas).

More on Insajder in English https://insajder.net/en/site/focus/5007/Several-attacks-on-journalists-during-President-Vucic%E2%80%99s-inauguration.htm


Media News from the Balkans Mon 5 Jun 2017 9:02AM

Text in Transitions Online (Czech Republic) puts the issue of media freedom in broader context i.e. includes both Central European countries and the Balkans and says in the title:

Push the Alarm Bell Already

It’s time to put the catastrophic state of the region’s media freedom front and center.

And continues:

"...Among Eastern European media systems only six are free (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia) – one fewer than in 2015. Twice that many are only partially free (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine), and three are not free at all (Belarus, Macedonia, and Russia)...

...It is no surprise then that both in practical and ideational terms, Western Europe’s efforts to liberalize and democratize Eastern Europe have been woefully inadequate. “To the EU’s detriment, its policy toward its Eastern neighbors is neither creating an arc of stability nor encouraging democracy,” concludes Judy Dempsey in a Carnegie Europe report.

It is painfully obvious that the media and their journalists have much work to do. First and foremost, however, they must secure their freedoms to do so by loudly alerting the world of any attempts to degrade them."


What do you think?


Media News from the Balkans Wed 14 Jun 2017 10:44AM

Campaign: Send a postcard to jailed journalists in Turkey

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS) have printed postcard with the names of the 158 journalists and media workers currently jailed in Turkey forming the letter G for #Gazeteciliksuçdegildir or #Journalismisnotacrime and they invite you to send a moral support to all the journalists and media workers in jail.

Here is how you can do it: http://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2017/05/31/send-a-postcard-to-jailed-journalists-in-turkey/



Media News from the Balkans Thu 6 Jul 2017 9:01AM

Albania Court Hears Judge's Lawsuit Against BIRN

Hearings have started in Tirana in a case brought by Gjin Gjoni, an Appeals Court Judge, and his wife, Elona Caushi, who claim they suffered 'moral anguish' from BIRN reports and seek compensation.

According to them, three BIRN articles published in Reporter.al, BIRN Albania online publication, caused them anguish and are demanding 52,000 euros in compensation from both BIRN Albania as an organisation and from the journalists.

More about the case: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/page/all-balkans-home


Larisa Rankovic Tue 11 Jul 2017 8:50AM

Pressure Rises on Journalists in the Balkans

In addition to the usual political and financial pressures the media is seeing new types of pressure – the labelling of reporters and media outlets as spies and foreign mercenaries, as well as the opening of a large number of fake news websites.