Transnational Advocacy for Freedom of Information in Balkans

photo: OBC Transeuropa, canva

Project name: Transnational Advocacy for Freedom of Information in the Balkans

Donor: Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Implementation period: February 1, 2024 – October 31, 2024

IJAS role: project partner

Project partners:

OBC Transeuropa/ Centro per la Cooperazione Internazionale (OBCT/CCI) – project manager

Center Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV), Albania

Budget: EUR 5,000 (part for IJAS activities)

Media freedom, independence and pluralism are the basic pillars of European democracies. Freedom of speech and the safety of journalists are crucial for countries seeking to join the European Union, such as Albania and Serbia. This project seeks to contribute to the creation of a network of Balkan, Italian and European actors engaged in effective advocacy for the protection of media freedom in the EU and the other two countries involved in the integration process.

 

Various indices and monitoring tools related to media freedom in the Balkans point to a worrying situation characterized by increasing control by power groups promoting anti-European agendas, fragile media independence due to difficulties in accessing public/private funds, episodes of political interference, and violence against journalists.

 

Through the exchange of experiences and cooperation in advocacy work, OBCT and its two partners – the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS) and The Center Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV) in Albania – will produce two shadow reports on the accession negotiations related to the media sector in these two countries in order to strengthen the involvement of civil society in the EU accession process with a focus on the connection between media and democracy.

 

The activities in which IJAS participates are focused on the development and promotion of the Shadow Report, which should contribute to the chapter dedicated to media freedom in the Report on the Rule of Law, which the European Commission will publish for the first time in 2024 for candidate countries, including Serbia.

 

IJAS activities include the following:

  • Support for the preparatory phase of research to identify domestic stakeholders and journalists for interviews and consultations
  • Participation in an advocacy workshop in Rome with the aim of exchanging experiences and defining the methodology for the preparation of the Shadow Report on media freedom in Serbia
  • Participation in the drafting of the Shadow Report on media freedoms in Serbia
  • Organization of an event in Belgrade where the Shadow Report will be presented to the local audience and interested parties
  • Participation in an international webinar where the Shadow Report will be presented and debate on the research findings will be promoted
  • Contribution to the social media communication campaign aimed at raising interest in the Shadow Report

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