As part of the consortiums work aimed at Fostering Regional Cooperation of Media in the Western Balkans Region, we organized the online conference titled “Media in the Western Balkans: Crisis and Challenges”, on Monday, 28 September 2020.
The freedom of the media and the free and unhindered exercise of journalism are essential in a democratic society, in particular for informing the public, for the free formation and expression of opinions and ideas, and for scrutinizing the activities of public authorities. It is increasingly evident that there are serious challenges to media freedom in countries of the Western Balkan. Two factors especially contributed this year: the deterioration of democracy and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Misuse of power, corruption, discrimination, criminal activity or human rights violations in times of COVID-19 crisis have come to light as a direct result of the work of investigative journalists and other media actors. Making the facts known to the public is essential for redressing such situations and holding to account those responsible.
What can media and journalists in the region do to defend themselves and the sector? - is the main question that our project Fostering regional cooperation of media in the WB region: Joining efforts in the time of crisis is trying to explore. This initiative is implemented by The Balkan Forum, Bulgarian Hub for United Balkans, European Movement in Serbia, FRONT.online, IDEA SEE, and Insajder Serbia, and is financially supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Divided into three distinct yet complementing sessions, the conference will focus on challenges of nationalist rhetoric, fake news, and media freedom. Panelists and participants are experienced journalists and media professionals from 6 Western Balkans countries, Bulgaria, Greece, Britain and the USA.
The working language of the conference is English.