EU assistance for Western Balkans’ Public Service Media

TIRANA – Managers of six national Public Service Media (PSM) from the Western Balkans (RTSH, BHRT, RTK, MRT, RTCG, RTS) signed in Tirana Memorandum of understanding, that paves the way for their cooperation on a EU funded project of assistance worth €1.5 million.

The project of Technical Assistance to Public Service Media in the Western Balkans will run for the next two years with the aim of facilitating transformation of the Public Service Media from state media into a genuine service for citizens, which represents one of the EU’s priorities in the Western Balkans.

“The defining feature of public broadcasting is its inclusiveness and independence: it is funded by the public and therefore it should be made for the public, serve the public and be controlled by the public. No other interest but the public interest should be the guiding principle of the work of every public broadcaster”, stressed Romana Vlahutin, Head of the EU Delegation to Albania.

Project will be promoting European standards and regional exchanges of best practices as a common frame of reference for independent and professional media.

EU funded project of assistance will also include cooperation with national parliaments, broadcasting regulatory authorities and relevant media NGO.

Reminding of the negative assessments regarding PSM in the Western Balkans and Turkey in the European Commission’s latest ELARG package, Programme Manager at European Commission Karl Giacinti, stressed that the EU sees reforms in PSM as an important part of the overall democratization process toward EU accession and beyond.

“These reforms have been a priority for years and the European Commission is impatient to see improvements. We want to see reforms moving ahead visibly”, announced Giacinti.

The project has been awarded and will be implemented by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) together with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Austrian Public Broadcaster (ORF), the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Eurovision News Exchange for South-East Europe (ERNO).