Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO supports networking of South-East European press councils with European peers

In the framework of the EU-UNESCO project “Media Accountability in South East Europe”, four representatives of press councils in South-East Europe participated, last week, in the annual meeting of the Alliance of Independent Press Councils in Europe (AIPCE), a European network of independent regulators for press and broadcast media. The Alliance held its 15th annual meeting in Tel Aviv on 10 and 11 September 2013.

The project “Media Accountability in South East Europe”, which started in January 2013, aims, among other things, at strengthening press councils in the region, as they have proven to be essential safeguards of media freedom. By ensuring respect for codes of ethics and by dealing with readers and viewers’ complaints, press councils have demonstrated that they help media professionals both better protect themselves from informal economic and political pressures, and gain the confidence of media consumers.

The participation of representatives from press councils in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo (administered by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244) in the AIPCE meeting enabled them to connect with well-established European press councils and obtain first-hand information about how to run such bodies. Sharing experience and best practices on this topic is part of the strategy to ensure the sustainability of South-East European press councils.

For the opening of the conference, the 50th anniversary of the Israel Press Council was celebrated with an address by President Shimon Peres. Renowned international media professionals joined the representatives of press councils in sharing their views and ideas concerning the challenges to media regulation and ethics stemming from digitization.