Balkan broadcasters seal EU funded PSM project for future cooperation

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 1,010 views

The broadcasters of six Western Balkan countries have signed a memorandum of understanding for future cooperation last June at the EBU’s General Assembly in Tirana, Albania.

Officials representing public service media, international organisations, politicians and regulators held a meeting in Tirana in order to evaluate and discuss the best ways to help and support public service media in the Western Balkans.

Partners of the EU-funded Technical Assistance to Public Service Media in the Western Balkans officially launched the project in Albania last June. The meeting was held after 6 months of back to back intensive meetings and hard work,  in order to lay out the scope of the project and enhance the areas of cooperation and focus.

Six countries from the Western Balkans will benefit from the project: FYR Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro.  The managers of RTSH, RTK, RTCG, BHRT, RTS and MKRTV signed a memorandum of understanding in Tirana during the launch of the EBU funded project. The 1.5 million euro project is set to operate for two years.

The project is a collaboration between the European Federation of JournalistsORF (Austrian national broadcaster), the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and the Eurovision News Exchange Office for South-East Europe.

The project’s main target is to strengthen the independence, accountability and programming output of public service broadcasters in the Western Balkans.

The EBU will play a key role in leading the project as one of the main partners. The EBU will be exploring optimal funding models for public service media, management reforms, audience research and the role of governance and supervisory councils.

This project will give everyone the chance and  opportunity to learn from the experience of fellow European EBU members.

Mr. Noel Curran ( EBU General Director)  says:

It is more important than ever to protect the editorial and institutional independence of public service media.

As a community, we can make a positive impact on media and, by association, democracy throughout the Western Balkans.

Ms. Radka Betcheva ( EBU Head of Member Relations-CEE) says:

Independence is of utmost importance for the proper functioning of public service media.

This project could help to improve the legal frameworks and their implementation, especially in regards to ensuring greater independence of supervisory councils’ members and increasing their professionalization.

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

This project will help and support the public broadcasters in these countries to establish themselves and run effectively.