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South East Europe and Turkey

This section of the website related to Professional Journalistic Standards and Codes of Ethics is dedicated to South East Europe and Turkey. Some regional information on the media landscape, the legislation regulating journalism and the media and the self-regulation mechanisms is available through the profiles of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey as well as Kosovo (administered by UNMIK in the context of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 adopted in 1999).

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With financial support from the European Union, UNESCO is promoting freedom of expression and press freedom in South East Europe and Turkey. The project, entitled “Media Accountability in South East Europe”, seeks to build on UNESCO’s previous efforts funded by the European Union by raising awareness and building capacity of media professionals to strengthen ethical and professional standards in journalism.

>> Read more about the project

Empowering people in South East Europe to make use of their Press Council

Democracy requires a well-informed and pluralistic public sphere. This is connected to media striving for truth, unbiased and high‐quality reporting. The level of participation of citizens in the society is shaped by the ability of the media to awaken and maintain their interest in a variety of issues. But how can civil society perform this role? One way is through being able to distinguish low-quality media outlets, and another is by lodging complaints to a media self-regulation mechanism, such a press council, when professional standards of journalism have been potentially breached. >> Read more

Media councils in South East Europe: Needs and challenges for successful media self-regulation

A new UNESCO report analyses the needs of the five existing media councils in South East Europe and provides recommendations to encourage their improved functionality and sustainability. It also offers a comprehensive overview of the work of these five organizations and highlights the difficult circumstances in which the five media councils in the region are operating. Challenges include a combination of economic and political conditions, limited sustainable funding and high external expectations to deal with complex regulatory problems. >> Read more

Legal Leaks: One month of training in South East Europe

In June 2014, UNESCO, in cooperation with Access Info Europe and SEENPM, organized five legal Leaks training in Pristina, Tirana, Sarajevo, Podgorica and Belgrade. Around 150 journalists and students in journalism from South East Europe were trained to make full use of access to information laws in their daily work. Participants shared their challenges and worked on case studies to understand the reality of access to information. They were also trained on data journalism, on the protection of sources and on the ethical dilemmas of access to information in the digital age. >> Read more

How news ombudsmen build trust in the media: Lessons learned from Albania

Across the world, the ongoing economic crisis has had a tremendous impact on media, worsening journalists’ job security, negatively impacting media quality, and hurting the public’s confidence in the media as a watchdog of democracy. UNESCO's World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development reveals that “the commitment to professional ethics has either stagnated or weakened, due to particular responses to severe competition, the blurring boundaries between editorial and business interests, and the entry of citizen journalists into news production and dissemination.” >> Read more

Advancing tolerance and respect online: The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

How can media, in particular press councils, contribute to a culture of peace in transitional societies? It is well known that racist, intolerant and discriminatory speeches are major obstacles for advancing the cohesion and stability of transitional societies. While media can contribute to intensifying conflicts by disseminating hate speech, journalists adhering to high professional standards can counter the spread of ignorance, intolerance and hatred. UNESCO is convinced that a press council can play a significant role in a peace process. >> Read more

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