Transnational Advocacy for Freedom of Information in the Western Balkans

Transnational Advocacy for Freedom of Information in the Western Balkans

Transnational Advocacy for Freedom of Information in the Western Balkans

Freedom, independence and media pluralism are the prerequisites for the viability of European democracies. The issue of freedom of expression and the safety of journalists is also of fundamental importance for countries such as Albania and Serbia that aspire to join the EU. In close cooperation with two local partners, this project aims to contribute to the construction of a network of Balkan, Italian and European actors for an effective advocacy on the protection of media freedom in the EU and in the involved negotiating countries.

Various indices and monitoring tools on media freedom in the Balkan region point to a worrying situation, characterized by increasing control exercised by power groups promoting anti-European agendas, risks to media independence linked to difficulties in accessing public/private resources, episodes of political interference and violence against journalists.

Through the exchange of experiences and collaboration in advocacy actions, OBCT and its two partners – the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS) and the Centre Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV) in Albania – will author two shadow reports on the accession negotiations concerning the media sector in the two candidate countries, to strengthen the involvement of civil society in the EU accession process focusing on the nexus between media and democracy.

The project activities are structured as follows:

  • Research, analysis and fieldwork for data collection in order to assess the state of health of media sector and freedom of expression in Albania and Serbia;
  • In-person workshops to foster exchange of experiences between project partners and Italian stakeholders;
  • Drafting of two shadow reports on the accession negotiations concerning the media sector in the two candidate countries;
  • Presentation of the shadow reports in two national events in Tirana and Belgrade and in an international webinar;
  • Raising public awareness on the protection of media freedom and pluralism through an online communication campaign.

The project is co-funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.