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Communication and Information Resources

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Communication and Information Sector's news service

UNESCO Continues Support to Free and Independent Media in the Western Balkans

05-01-2005 (Paris)
Five new UNESCO projects supporting the development of free and independent media and freedom of expression in Former Yugoslavia recently started in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Croatia, and Slovenia as part of a comprehensive post-conflict media programme.
The five projects were selected out of nearly 30 proposals that UNESCO received after a call for project submission in September 2004 to relevant organisations.

The support amounting to US $ 400.000 during 2005 and 2006 will mainly target issues such as capacity building – developing professional journalism, media management, institution building, legislation, development of professional associations and media institutions, and the promotion of regional media networks.

With the support of UNESCO, news agencies KosovaLive in Pristina and Beta in Belgrade will produce and post on their joint website news items and interviews of key stakeholders aiming to put an end to the ignorance, bias and manipulation. The Albanian Serb Information Exchange forum is taking place on a new web site: www.kosovakosovo.com.

Search for Common Ground will receive support to publish a special issue of its periodical magazine Multi-ethnic Forum in order to reduce the risk of deterioration of the future inter-ethnic relations in Macedonia. The magazine will be distributed as a supplement to several major daily newspapers in both Macedonian and Albanian language. Multi-ethnic Forum is a unique magazine, co-produced by multi-ethnic team, which employs strictly objective journalistic criteria and offers sophisticated analysis of topical issues on the political, economic and social agenda from a broad range of contributors. The magazine will be printed in 100,000 copies in Macedonian and Albanian language, thus targeting approximately 400,000 beneficiaries among the general public from all ethnic communities in Macedonia.

Broadcasters in Serbia will receive UNESCO’s support through ANEM, an association representing the independent broadcasters’ interests. ANEM has 32 members and 78 affiliates, most of them regional and local stations, both in municipal and private ownership, of different size and structure. The project will support ANEM activities directed towards the implementation of media laws and formation of relevant bodies aiming to help them survive in the fragile media market, prepare them for the future and support their efforts in creating a stabile media environment while not interfering with freedom of speech principles. The project will support ANEM assistance for the process of privatisation (for municipal stations) and for preparation for the frequency allocation tender and process of licensing.

UNESCO also supports a Multicultural Radio Station Network, coordinated by Radio Student in Slovenia, consisting of 9 Radio Stations from 5 countries of Western Balkans and one radio station from Switzerland. Each week during the implementation of this 8-months project these non-commercial community radio stations will produce a joint one and a half hour programme, which will be broadcasted by all members of the network. The aims of the project are to reduce distrust and tensions between different cultures in the Balkan region; to encourage cultural dialogue, interaction and cooperation in the Balkan region; and to promote media plurality and to support freedom of expression.

Finally UNESCO supports a project for Increasing ethical and legal standards in Serbian journalism. The Media Center in Belgrade will create an independent research and analysis group that will monitor the print media and focus on identifying cases of unethical reporting and trends and patterns. The analysis will include both the contents of relevant news stories, editorial columns and feature articles, and contexts wherein the issues are presented to readers focusing of the monitoring and analysis on legal and ethical standards in journalism. The objective is to enhance professional standards of journalism in Serbia and Montenegro.
Related themes/countries

      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2005
      · Bosnia and Herzegovina: News Archives
      · Croatia: News Archives
      · Serbia: News Archives 2005
      · The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia : News Archives
      · Media in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations: News Archives 2005
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