UNESCO promotes the use of media ethical audits in Montenegro and in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

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EJN Ethical Audits Mission to Montenegro, October 2017
© EJN
21 December 2017

The UNESCO partner of the project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey” the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) undertook two missions in October 2017 to strengthen media good governance in Montenegro and in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The missions aimed at promoting the use of ethical media audits (available here) as part of a self-reporting process to help media management becoming more efficient and accountable.

UNESCO aims at supporting a constructive dialogue between all media players and organizations in the region, through this project. “Building confidence from top to bottom of the media system in Montenegro and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is essential to ensure meaningful reform of the sector and the building of public trust in journalism”, said EJN Director Aidan White.

“Inappropriate and hidden relations between media and politics – whether governmental or not – are an important challenge for media professionals across the globe.  In countries where media markets are small and public advertising is an important source of income, a fragile media economy can lead to corrupt relations between media and corporate and political interest,” said EJN expert Bernt Olufsen to highlight the importance of improving media good governance..

On 18 October 2018, Aidan White EJN Director and the Norwegian expert, Bernt Olufsen held an initial launch meeting with the assistance of the EU Information Centre in Podgorica and to which international organisations, media support groups and relevant media were invited. This was followed on 19 and 20 October by a series of nine in-office interviews held with editors in chief and publishers of Vjesti (representing newspaper, television and online platforms); Dan daily newspaper including online service; PRV TV; RTCG, the major public service network, covering radio, television and online services; Pobjeda daily newspaper including online portal Analytica; Dnevne Novine daily newspaper including online portal Café Montenegro; Radio Antena M (including online); and Monitor weekly.

Bernt Olufsen, joined by EJN Co-ordinator for the region Danica Illic, also visited the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and met with representatives from different kind of media: newspapers, radio, TV and online news portals and people from different media organisations and educational institutions. They met with the press council, Koha Daily Newspaper, TV 21, MKD Portal, TV Telma, Nova Makedonia, and two branches of MTV, the public broadcaster. Olufsen explained in detail the importance of media managements taking responsibility for transparency and good governance and he used the example of how Norwegian media companies are trying to open themselves up to greater public scrutiny.

The UNESCO Project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey is funded by the European Commission and UNESCO. The project seeks to strengthen media self-regulation system as well as improve the internal governance of media organizations based on the commitment of media owners and editors to respect clearly defined professional and labour standards.