EBU secures EU funding to help broadcasters in the Balkans

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 1,951 views

The European Broadcasting Union has secured EU funding in order to support public media service in the Balkan countries.

The EBU is all set to strengthen PSM (Public Service Media) in the Balkans: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Ms. Radka Betcheva (Head of Member Relations and Eastern Europe – EBU) was responsible for a pilot project set up to help public media service in the western Balkan countries between 2013-2015. She is pleased that the new EU funded project will boost the initial pilot project and the EBU Partnership Programme.

The EBU Partnership Programme was set up in 2009 to help EBU Members in need.

Ms. Radka Betcheva (Head of Member Relations and Eastern Europe – EBU) says:

Public service media in the Western Balkans are still highly vulnerable to political interference. This project will deliver the urgent assistance they need to undertake an audacious reform agenda and adapt to a rapidly changing media environment. It also ensures that we gain the momentum from the previous EU-funded support projects and the EBU Partnership Programme.

This will a collaboration between the EBU -and 5 different media organizations in order to develop the Technical Assistance to Public Service Media in the Western Balkans Project. This project will  be headed by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and will receive dedicated EU funding.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), ORF (Austrian national broadcaster), the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Office of the Eurovision News Exchange for South-East Europe (ERNO) will be involved in the project .

The national broadcasters in the following countries will benefit from the project: RTVSH (Albania), BHRT (Bosnia & Herzegovina), RTK (Kosovo), MKRTV (FYR Macedonia), RTCG (Montenegro) and RTS (Serbia).

Mr. Noel Curran (General Director EBU) says:

I am delighted that we succeeded in the EU call for technical assistance for PSM in the Western Balkans together with our Consortium partners. This will provide crucial help for the reforms of PSM in this region, promote the exchange of best practices and deepen our cooperation with the EC.

About the PSM Project

The project aims to strengthen the independence, accountability and programming output of PSM organisations in the Western Balkans region by building synergies between the six beneficiary organisations and addressing three interlinked priorities:

  • Supporting their financial and institutional autonomy as well as greater accountability towards the public;
  • Improving editorial policies, complaints mechanisms and supporting efforts to establish integrated newsrooms;
  • Pooling resources and sharing audiovisual materials in a more effective way to boost cooperation in programme making, with a focus on capacity building to produce in-depth investigative reports, interactive formats and high-quality programming for children and young people, as well as establishing a regional platform for sharing archive material.

EBU’s support

The EBU will support the project in the following ways:

  • Focusing on identifying best practices
  • Advocating solutions for PSM funding
  • Governance and regulation,
  • Implementing management reform
  • Supporting regulatory bodies
  • Channeling the experience of other EBU Members into the Western Balkans region.