BRUSSELS – The EU stepped up its support to media freedom and development in the Western Balkans, with a focus on media accountability, funding, capacity building, regional cooperation and young journalists. This was confirmed at the second EU-Western Balkans Media Days conference on 17-18 September in Skopje, reads an official press release.
Freedom of media is one of the fundamental principles of the European Union and part of the political criteria for EU accession. At the second EU-Western Balkans Media Days conference, the EU strengthened its support to independent media in the region and enhanced assistance to young journalists with regional initiatives.
These initiatives aim to facilitate education, enable professional trainings for media operators, and strengthen media and digital literacy of young people. In addition, new programmes will foster exchanges within the region and with the EU, build capacities to prevent threats and attacks against journalists, reinforce judicial expertise and support sustainable models of media funding. Almost 13 million Euros are planned in the EU’s budget for these programmes in the period between 2014 and 2020.
EU-Media Days in Skopje was a success, reminds press release. Two grand panels and three workshops provided a platform for media professionals to exchange views and share best practices.
This year’s edition focused in particular on the young generation of journalists and themes such as economic sustainability, regional cooperation of media and professional training. It further contributed to pave the way for new forward-looking initiatives to foster independent, sustainable and professional media in the region.