UNESCO and EU renew partnership to Build Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey
UNESCO and the European Commission have renewed their partnership to strengthen freedom of expression and media freedom in South East Europe and Turkey through the implementation of a project entitled “Building Trust in media in South East Europe and Turkey – Phase 2”.
The European Commission is contributing 2,000,000 Euros over 36 months to increase youth critical thinking through Media and Information Literacy (MIL) skills, to improve capacities of media outlets to counter online misinformation and disinformation, and to strengthen media accountability towards users thanks to sustainable self-regulation mechanisms.
“In a context of increased concerns over disinformation, UNESCO is acting to engage more actively citizens of the region to question information, to increase demand for quality content and hold news media accountable for reliable, professional journalism. At the same time, UNESCO will continue supporting independent news media as trusted guardian of public interest, and as an essential part of society’s checks and balances on power,” said Mr Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General, Communication and Information Sector at UNESCO.
This is in our opinion the best antidote to disinformation and manipulation
This project is a direct follow-up of the phase 1 of the EU-funded Project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey, which results called for continuous efforts to ensure citizens’ resilience to disinformation and media’s commitment to professional standards. The evaluation of the project highlighted that the strategy chosen by UNESCO to build trust in media in the region by focusing on strengthening media professionalism, good governance and media users’ critical thinking proved relevant and timely.
“During the last decade, UNESCO has been strongly involved on promoting and strengthening media self-regulation mechanisms in South East Europe and Turkey. Press councils have been established in all countries of the region and have gained visibility and efficiency, which is measured by the increasing number of complaints they receive and the increasing number of media outlets adhering to their system. However these bodies need further support to guarantee their independence and sustainability,” added Mr Chakchouk.
Implemented from 2016 to 2019, the Phase 1 of the Project provided direct support to press councils of the region, contributed to the creation of the Albanian Media Council, supported the establishment of a ‘Balkan Network of Trusted Media’, the adoption of the first Charter on Journalists’ working conditions, the conducting of MIL national consultations and the launching of a regional MILClicks social media campaign, among others.
More information about the results of this project can be found in this document:
“We are looking forward to start this second Phase of the project in the region and thereby support people to recognise, demand, defend journalism, and distinguish it from advertising, propaganda, disinformation and rumours. This is in our opinion the best antidote to disinformation and manipulation,” concluded Mr Chakchouk.
The Phase 2 of the project will be carried out in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia Turkey, and Kosovo*. Partnerships with various organizations are foreseen notably with the press councils of the region, the Albanian Media Institute, the University of Sarajevo, the European Federation of Journalists, the Ethical Journalism Network or the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media, among others.
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* References to Kosovo shall be understood in the context of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 adopted in 1999.