Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey

Building Trust in SEE Helsinki

Participants of the Unesco Building Trust in South East Europe and Turkey project meet in Helsinki for World Press Freedom Day 2016.

On March 1, 2016 the EJN launched its Western Balkans ethics programme in co-operation with UNESCO, the European Federation of Journalists and Press Council of Bosnia Hercegovina. The Director of Communications attended the General Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Sarajevo in April to form new connections with unions and associations across Europe. The EJN Director Aidan White and Board member Chris Elliott met with leading editors and media regulators in Kosovo later the same month presenting how the EJN self-evaluation process for media helps build ethical and transparent management both of editorial and media business.

In September 2016 the EJN conducted activities in Belgrade and Pristina where editors and publishers agreed to support the EJN’s ethical media audits to improve good governance.

Project Background

UNESCO Communication and Information Sector

With financial support from the EU and UNESCO, the Ethical Journalism Network is working with other partners to promote freedom of expression and press freedom in South East Europe and Turkey.

The Building Trust in media in South East Europe and Turkey project seeks to strengthen freedom of expression, access to information, free, independent and pluralistic media, ensuring that journalists and media are key drivers for democratic, sustainable and peaceful development in the region.

Region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. In Kosovo the project will be administered by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1224.

Overview of Activities

In line with the guidelines for EU support to media freedom and media integrity in the enlargement countries, the project will seek to build trust and restore confidence in the media in South East Europe and Turkey through activities in 3 areas.

  • Supporting efficient and sustainable self-regulation mechanisms and the inclusion of professional standards, freedom of expression and media integrity in the basic education of journalists.
  • Improving the internal governance of media organizations through the implementation of internal rules and good practices that recognize human rights and labour standards, as well as improved levels of transparency in ownership, management and administration, and the enforcement of ethical codes within media outlets.
  • Increasing public demand for quality media and empowering citizens through media and information literacy.

For updates on the project follow the #TrustInMediaSEE hashtag


Europrean CommissionThe Project

The project builds on previous cooperation between the European Union and UNESCO. It will benefit from the experiences and lessons learned from the project “Alignment to International Standards in the Media Sector in South East European countries” implemented by UNESCO from 2009 to 2011 and the project “Media Accountability in South East Europe and Turkey”, implemented from 2013 to 2015. Both projects supported the creation and strengthening of voluntary media self-regulation mechanisms such as press councils or news ombudsmen.

Project Partners

Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina – First self-regulatory body for the print and online media in the Region of Western Balkan and South East Europe, the Press Council in Bosnia-Herzegovina aims at improving ethical and professional standards in the Bosnian media.

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) – EFJ is the largest organisation of journalists in Europe, representing over 320,000 journalists in 68 journalists’ organisations across 42 countries. It was created in 1994 within the framework of the IFJ Constitution to represent the interests of journalists’ unions and associations and their journalists.

Press Council of Kosovo (PCK) – Press Council of Kosovo (administered by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244) is a self-regulatory body founded for and by the print media. Freedom of speech, the right of citizens to be duly and completely informed and the respect for the Press Code are the foundations on which the Press Council is founded.

Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) – CMEM bases its work on the principles of transparency and accountability and freely promotes its views and opinions, takes initiatives and participates in building and upgrading of professional standards and ethics and their protection and promotion in the media.

Press Council of Serbia – The Press Council is an independent, self-regulatory body that brings together publishers, media owners, news agencies and media professionals for monitoring the observance of the Journalist’s Code of Ethics, solving complaints related to media content.

Macedonian School of Journalism and Public Relations (SJPR) – The School is a non-profit institution of higher professional education in Macedonia, which strives to provide students with comprehensive knowledge and skills to creatively overcome challenges in the field of journalism, media, corporate communication and public relations.

Platform for Independent Journalism (P24) – P24 is an initiative that supports editorial independence in the Turkish press. It is a not-for-profit, civil society organization, which aims to build capacity in the Turkish media, promote best journalistic practice and encourage the transition to web-based journalism.

South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media – SEENPM, which unites 15 non-for-profit media cent­ers, promotes excellence in journalism through policy initiatives, research and training. Since its creation in 2000, SEENPM has implemented a wide range of training, exchange and media policy research projects.

EJN Activities 2017-2018

The 2017 Building Trust in Media and South East Europe and Turkey UNESCO programme continued with EJN actions in Montenegro and Macedonia. The EJN dimension of the programme is directed at owners, managers and editors of media across all platforms of journalism and following the experience in Serbia and Kosovo during 2016, changes were made to the approach to take account of the difficult political and economic conditions in which media work.

During this first phase of the work in 2017 the EJN has:

  1. Prepared materials to perform internal audits of media outlets in Macedonia and Montenegro to help them apply ethical standards, to manage conflicts of interests and to improve standards of good governance. These audits help develop structures for internal monitoring and regulation of performance;
  2. Carried out three missions to the region in August 2017 and October 2017 and November 2017;

During these missions the EJN started the process selecting media houses in each target country of the project to support further actions to promote internal good governance using the principles of ethical audits.

News from South East Europe and Western Balkans

Resources on South East Europe and Western Balkans

Sign up to the EJN newsletter