Citizens’ media monitor: A way to shape media and information landscape in South East Europe

23 June 2017

Although citizens want to engage with media and information – to praise, learn, critique, or report certain misconduct– often they lack the confidence or know how to reach out to self-regulatory mechanisms established for these purposes.

The Coalition of Media and Information Users in South East Europe (CIMU SEE) is changing that. Through the EU-UNESCO supported project “Building trust in media in South East Europe and Turkey”, CIMU SEE launched a web platform where citizens are able to learn, speak up and impact how media and information landscape is shaped in the South East Europe (SEE).

"CIMU SEE is dedicated to raising levels of media and information literacy (MIL) in the wider South East Europe. We aim to attract membership from many organizations and initiatives wishing to bring about the emergence of an informed and active media and information user in the region” said Mr. Tihomir Loza, director of South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM), an umbrella organization gathering prominent media development organizations in the region. SEENPM is one of the leading partners in the development for CIMU SEE, and all their member organizations are taking part in this Coalition.

Citizen Media Monitor

While CIMU SEE will solicit membership from the civil society organizations, one of the main features of the platform is the reporting facility, intended for citizens. It is called Citizens’ Media Monitor. With one click on this link, everyone is able to write a comment regarding certain media or information content. With the support of CIMU and organizations that are participating in this coalition, each comment will be assessed, analyzed, and forwarded to the relevant institutions.

“We strongly believe that only a demanding and critical audience is capable of positively influencing the conduct and quality of all information providers, including media outlets as well as the attitudes of government toward public information” added Mr Loza.

While the full website is in English for now, the Citizens’ Media Monitor is available in English, Turkish, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, Albanian and Macedonian language. Upon clicking on the Citizen Media Monitor link, users reach a form for submission of comments. This form enables users to report suspected breaches of media ethics or noticed shortcomings, as well as other positive or general comments.

"CIMU SEE will carefully consider all submission and when appropriate inform relevant regulatory or self-regulatory bodies. All personal details will be kept confidential" concluded Mr Loza.

Organizations in SEE as focal points

Each country in SEE has an organization that serves as the focal point for submissions. They will assess what to do:  forward to regulators or self-regulators, inform international organizations or simply write back with some advice.  Other information intermediaries, mainly the libraries, museums, archives, publishers etc., will not be left out, as their membership is currently solicited.

“Active and critical citizenship through media and information literacy is a concept that UNESCO is working hard to bring to reality. CIMU SEE is one such example, of enabling citizens and their voices to not only be heard but also taken seriously by relevant organizations and institutions. Thus, they can impact media and information landscape. This contributes to the building of trust in the media, which is at focus of this project” concluded Mr Alton Grizzle, UNESCO programme specialist on MIL. He added that CIMU SEE will have an important role in articulating public interest in policy and legislative debates on key media and information issues in South East Europe.

CIMU SEE also presents MIL news and resources and creates synergies with other activities from the project taking place in the region of SEE, such as UNESCO MIL CLICKS – a global media and information literacy innovation on social media by UNESCO and partners.