The European Commission has approved a two-year extension of the Technical Assistance to Public Service Media in the Western Balkans project, granting up to EUR 1.5 million. The project will be implemented by a Consortium of partners including the EBU, EFJ, IFJ, ERNO, BIRN and ORF.
The second phase of the project will build on the achievements of the first, particularly in implementing the Regional Common Principles on Funding and Governance, improved editorial guidelines, and best practices in production, which have been adopted by all stakeholders. The project will focus on nine key areas for public service broadcasting – funding, governance, management reforms, audience research, editorial standards, integrated newsrooms, youth and children’s programmes, investigative journalism and archiving. The planned activities also reflect the new challenges and restrictions public service media (PSM) face operating in the COVID-19 era.
At an online conference evaluating the achievements of the first project, which ended in June this year, public broadcasters in the Western Balkans praised the project. In particular, they noted the high level of expertise, the exchange of best practices and lessons learned, the capacity-building of their staff and the opportunity to work together on concrete ideas.
The new project started in July 2020 and will end in July 2022.
Read on for testimonials from our Director General and project participants:
As one of the Consortium partners, the EBU are delighted with the continuation of the project. It provides practical assistance to our Members from the Western Balkans and enables them to accelerate their reforms and implement best knowledge and practices.
During COVID-19, all these Members, like other PSM in Europe, showed a high degree of responsibility and professionalism. They have significantly increased their audiences and audiences’ trust, showing the indispensable role of PSM for society. Now when the crisis hits all economies in Europe we have to ensure that PSM receive the necessary financial means to fulfil their remit and serve society.
This project has played a very important role in the last few years in addressing essential issues, especially in the financing of PSM, governance and regulations, management reforms, archive, training coproductions and many more, which assist and help us to achieve our goals, and I’m highly grateful for it.
The Project has enabled us to get acquainted with the conditions and background in which public service broadcasters function in Western Balkans. We received firsthand information. Otherwise corresponding information is not available in our Media ,and many of them can't even be found on official sites. This is a valuable experience, as everyone could benefit from learning at least one practice of the other broadcasters and how they cope with current challenges.
This is a very comprehensive project through which we have received valuable assistance in many areas such as management reforms, editorial guidelines, funding, governance, archiving and content production.
We highly appreciate the debate on funding and governance which was held in Skopje in February this year and raised important questions about the institutional independence and challenges to MRT’s human resources policies.
This is a very impactful project. The debates are engaging decision makers in discussions about essential questions on PSM funding and governance. The management reforms and content initiatives have also had a positive effect on RTK.
We have greatly benefitted from this project, especially in dealing with management reforms and content. We have launched work on our Strategy and have engaged in developing our human resources department.