An EU Forum in Sarajevo has concluded that 'freedom of expression and free media are prerequisites for establishing solid democracies and allowing a vibrant civil society to develop'.
The EBU joined the European Economic and Social Committee last week for their Western Balkan Civil Society Forum. The forum brought together 100 participants, including a broad range of civil society representatives from the EU and Western Balkans, as well as representatives of EU institutions, international organisations and governments of the region.
Freedom of expression and media was one of the main topics under discussion. It highlighted the direct and indirect pressure that is being put on media in the region and concluded that civil society must be vocal and 'take the lead in denouncing the negative developments in the region in relation to freedom of expression'.
The conference also emphasised the importance of maintaining the independence of public service media and stressed that public broadcasters should 'lead the way in promoting tolerance, understanding and mutual respect and in constructively contributing to peace in society'.
The final declaration of the Forum is available to read here.