Media integrity matters! Reclaiming public service values in the Western Balkans media : How should the European Union respond?
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The book “Media integrity matters – Reclaiming public services values in media and journalism” has been published in June 2014, comprising the research conducted in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia. It aims at addressing the obstacles to a democratic development of media systems in the countries of South East Europe/Western Balkans by pointing out corrupt relations and practices in media policy, media ownership and financing, public broadcasting and journalism as a profession.
The research – conducted between July 2013 and February 2014 – was part of the EU funded regional project South East European Media Observatory – Building Capacities and Coalitions for monitoring Media Integrity and Advancing Media Reforms.
As indicated in the report “Media integrity matters”, the obstructions and disrespect for public interest in the media in the countries of South East Europe are result of corrupt relations and practices that are integrated in their media systems. These corrupt relations and practices, including political clientelism, have been evolving and interplaying to the point of becoming a system on its own. Patterns of corrupt, clientelistic relations and practices can be followed in various parts of the media systems – how media policy and media laws are developed and how their implementation is obstructed by undermining independence of media regulators, how media ownership and media finances are hidden from public and abused for particular private and political interests, how public service broadcasters are destabilized and captured by particular interests through governing and financing patterns, how journalists are professionally and economically degraded and disabled from being public service operators etc. Researchers see these problems as interconnected and fused into a corrupt system which is major problem of media and democracy in these countries, and as such has to be addressed in a systematic way.
They claim a burning need to systematically elaborate, develop and defend those qualities of media systems in the countries of South East Europe which put media and journalism in the service of public. Shortly – to defend media integrity.
After general presentation, discussion with the respected audience will be followed.