NEWS published on 18 Aug 2022

EU-funded project supports reform of public service media in Western Balkans 

EU-funded project supports reform of public service media in Western Balkans 
Avala TV Tower, Belgrade

The EBU and its partners are celebrating the conclusion of an EU-funded project that has helped transform the work of public service broadcasters in the Western Balkans.

The four-year ‘Technical Assistance to Public Service Media in the Western Balkans project’ aimed to reinforce European standards and promote best practice for broadcasters in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

It focused on key challenges for our Members, helping them to achieve financial autonomy from the state and provide greater accountability to the public. 

The project was led by the International Federation of Journalists with consortium partners including the EBU, the European Federation of Journalists, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, the Eurovision News Exchange for South East Europe ERNO and our Austrian Member ORF.

Key achievements of the project include:

  • A set of regional principles for the funding of public service media to ensure financial autonomy and accountability
  • A regionally agreed set of common principles for the governance of public service media to protect their independence
  • National road maps for management reforms based on bespoke needs analysis
  • Recommendations for developing public service media content for ethnic minorities based on an analysis of best practice, needs and aspirations
  • Co-produced programmes and news including the production and dissemination of more than 30 investigative journalism pieces
  • A Code of Conduct for effective editorial guidelines and complaints mechanisms
  • Newsroom integration strategies and action plans for bringing together radio, television, mobile and online production
  • A joint regional model and guidelines for the production of independent and reliable audience measurement and engagement tools
  • Strategies, policies, and best practices to counter disinformation and promote credible and trustworthy journalism
  • Co-produced children and youth content with five new series produced with the assistance of subject experts
  • A unique regional platform for the exchange of digitized archive materials – providing ‘a window’ to the archive content of the Western Balkans

The EBU was responsible for leading on governance, funding, management reforms and audience research.

EBU Director General Noel Curran said:

“The EBU team has worked tirelessly to ensure the successful implementation of this project. We are grateful for the collaboration with the European Commission, Consortium partners and key stakeholders from all the six beneficiaries. 

“Public service media organizations are facing many challenges but the recent humanitarian crisis and the war in Europe have served to demonstrate the indispensable role they play in our society and in our democracy. That’s why we need to continue to support the development and transformation of public service broadcasters into trusted, professional, and credible media and build on the achievements of the project.”

The project received two tranches of funding from the European Commission that enabled broadcasters to also face the challenges of operating in the COVID-19 era.

Radka Betcheva, Head of Member Relations Central & Eastern Europe said:

“This project was extremely comprehensive covering many different areas and engaging with many different stakeholders. We have worked together with parliaments, the civil sector, regulatory authorities and our Members.

“Transforming public service media into a genuine service to citizens is a long process which cannot be fulfilled overnight, especially in young democracies. We must persevere and continue with our support to build robust financial and governance systems that safeguard the  institutional and editorial independence of public service media throughout the region.” 

European Commission Programme Manager, Victor Dragutan, from DG NEAR said: “Public service media plays a considerable role in the media ecosystem in the region. 

“Independent public broadcasters that are able to fulfill their public service remit are key to ensuring freedom of the media and freedom of expression as well as the proper functioning of democracy at large – which is fundamental for the European integration process of the Western Balkans. The reform of public service broadcasting remains thus crucial for democracy and overall development in Western Balkan societies, making it an important area of interest for EU support. 

“The EU remains committed to help and encourage its partners in the Western Balkans to address the challenges of building professional and independent media. The EU also closely monitors progress in this field, and will continue to offer financial and technical assistance, provided there is the necessary will to reform.”

Watch the interviews

Shkumbin Ahmetxhekaj - Director General RTK

Shkumbin Ahmetxhekaj Director General RTK


Belmin Karamehmedović - Director General BHRT

Belmin Karamehmedović Director General BHRT


Redi Neziri – Deputy Director General of RTS

Redi Neziri Deputy Director General of RTSH


Milivoje Mihajlovic - Deputy Director General RTS

Milivoje Mihajlovic Deputy Director General RTS


Smilka Janeska Sarkanjac - Board of MRT

Smilka Janeska Sarkanjac Board of MRT


Boris Raonic – Director General of RTCG

Boris Raonic Director General of RTCG

Contact detail

Radka Betcheva
Head of Member Relations Central and Eastern Europe

+41 22 717 2006