Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey- Phase 2
This project aims to strengthen freedom of expression while empowering youth to think critically in a region considered vulnerable to the spread of disinformation. In the context of a rapid digital transformation of the media landscape and significant shifts in media consumption patterns, the region is witnessing the thriving of an information chaos characterized by a decline in the commitment to journalistic professional standards and a multiplication of actors pretending doing journalism online. In consideration of the clear decline in the civil society’s trust in media in the region and the recommendations from the European Union in combating disinformation online, UNESCO and the European Union have launched the second phase of the project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey.
Based on the conclusions of the first phase of the project, UNESCO will continue building trust in media in the region, engaging more actively media and citizens of the region against the disinformation disorder.
Together with partners and with funding from the European Union, Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey seeks to continue to strengthen freedom of expression. In particular, the actions aim to establish free, independent and pluralistic media, while empowering citizens to think critically about the information they receive through the media, especially social media.
To achieve this overall objective, the project will specifically aim at:
- Increasing critical thinking among youth thanks to Media and Information Literacy (MIL) skills in formal and non-formal education.
- Improving capacities of media outlets to counter misinformation and disinformation and giving support to press councils in the region.
- Strengthening media accountability and increasing media good governance towards users thanks to sustainable self-regulation mechanisms.
Objectives of Phase 2
Strengthening Media and Information Literacy (MIL) among youth
With the aim of enhancing MIL skills among youth, the second phase of the Building Trust in Media project proposes to introduce media and information literacy components in formal and non-formal education systems. By training education staff, building MIL capacities of youth organisations and an institutionalisation of MIL, the public demand and support in the region for quality media by empowering people and especially youth through MIL.
Improving capacities of media outlets
This component of the project seeks to enhance the abilities of media outlets with knowledge and skills of the digital age to reduce the risk of being taken in by disinformation to the minimum. It improves their internal governance through commitments to new transparency mechanisms, editorial and ethical codes, and labour rights. This guarantees that all employers, including part-time and freelancers, are covered by proper work contracts. Moreover, capacities of young reporters will be advanced to address online disinformation and to enhance media trust among citizens.
Strengthen media accountability and increasing media good governance
The long-term sustainability, the visibility, and functioning of press councils in the region shall be ensured. Through the first phase of the project, UNESCO has been strongly involved in promoting and strengthening media self-regulation mechanisms. To further support the independence and sustainability of press councils in the region, the second phase of the project will continue to enhance sustainable media self-regulation mechanisms. This will be done by sharing best practices on digital media ethics, national workshops and activities of press and media councils on disinformation and MIL, and a cross-regional awareness-raising campaign of press and media councils to counter online disinformation.
Introducing MIL in formal and non-formal education systems
- Provide technical support to authorities, duty-bearers and curricula development agencies on MIL
- Offer teacher training to introduce MIL curricula in primary and secondary schools
- Enhance the MIL capacities of youth development agencies and organisations
Improving the capacities of media outlets and young reporters to counter disinformation
- Empower selected independent media outlets with knowledge and skills for the digital age including fact-checking skills
- Improve the internal governance of selected media outlets through the commitment to new transparency mechanisms and labour rights
- Enhance the capacities of young reporters to address online disinformation
As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world, we have seen a dramatic increase in conspiracy theories on social media relating to its origin and spread. In its commitment to address this challenge, UNESCO has launched a social media campaign disseminating comprehensive and easily accessible visual learning material that instructs social media users on how to recognize, understand, debunk, respond to, and report on conspiracy theories relating to Covid-19. The infographics are available in all local languages of the South East Europe region and Turkish under the #ThinkBeforeSharing and #TrustInMediaSEE hashtags.
In connection with the Coronavirus outbreak, the world also witnessed an “infodemic”, with disinformation and misinformation as fast as the virus on social media. To provide users with easy to apply MIL skills that will help users to navigate through the overwhelming amount of information shared about the virus, UNESCO has launched a social media campaign on MIL and COVID-19 with practical tips and best practices. The campaign is based on a series of infographics available in all local languages of the South East Europe region, as well as in Turkish, in open access and free to be used, downloaded and shared under the hashtags #TrustInMediaSEE and MilClicksSEE.
Reinforced Media Self-Regulation
The project provided direct support to press councils by raising the profile of press councils and strengthened professional standards and media ethics through updates of the national journalistic codes of ethics to adapt it to the digital age. With more than 100 new media outlets of the region accepting the authority of press councils and a newly created press council in Albania, the functioning of press and media councils was improved and the public awareness for the role of press councils raised through impactful public campaigns and events.
Strengthened Media Good Governance
Better working conditions for journalists were promoted by establishing a Labour Rights Expert Group in the region that facilitated an exchange of best practices on how to claim and defend labour rights standards. A charter on journalists’ working conditions was established and adopted and trainings on the implementation of labour standards provided. Moreover, transparency of media outlets increased through their commitment to good governance. Notably, media ethical audits were developed to assess the application of ethical standards, managing conflicts of interest and handling standards of good governance.
Strengthened Media and Information Literacy
The project offered a strategical approach on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) with the development and circulation of national background documents and position papers on MIL by local stakeholders. The social media campaign MIL CLICKS greatly increased the public demand for quality media and information and empowering of citizens through MIL micro learning content.
The primary objective of the European Union’s development policy is the eradication of poverty in the context of sustainable development. EU partnerships with developing countries to promote respect for human rights, peace, democracy, good governance, gender equality, the rule of law and justice.
- Marius Lukosiunas, Programme Specialist, Communication and Information Sector (CI)
Tel: 33-1 45 68 04 08
- Alton Grizzle, Programme Specialist, Communication and Information Sector (CI)
Tel: 33-1 45 68 42 11
- Adeline Hulin, Project Officer, Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, UNESCO Liaison Office and Representation to the European Institutions
Tel: 32(0) 2 290 89 62
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