Statement by Štefan Füle on the Speak Up!2 conference on media freedom in the Western Balkans and Turkey (20/06/2013)
Type: Complete speech
Brussels - EC/Berlaymont
On 17 June 2013, Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, made a statement on the Speak Up!2 conference on media freedom in the Western Balkans and Turkey, scheduled for the 20th June in Brussels. The European Commission's annual strategy on EU enlargement, adopted in October 2012, highlighted freedom of expression and media as one of the most important challenges for the countries aspiring to EU membership. Moreover, freedom of expression is considered an EU accession priority. The conclusions of the first Speak Up! conference, hosted by DG Enlargement in 2011, became an important reference point for tackling issues in this field.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite by Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy (in ENGLISH): Dear friends, On the 20th of June the European Commission will host the 2nd Speak Up conference on freedom of expression in media in the Western Balkans and Turkey. It is largest events of this kind organize as a part of the enlargement portfolio. We will be welcoming over 400 participants: journalists, media analysts and politicians from the region and from the EU. We will assess challenges faced by media and define clear measures on how to tackle them. The conclusions of the 1st Speak Up conference in 2011 have become an important reference report: freedom of expression and media is now addressed as a key priority early on the accession process. It is an integrate part of the chapters dealing with the judiciary and fundamental rights. We cannot stress the importance of freedom of the media enough. First, because free media means critical debate and inclusive exchange of opinions in the society. Second, because it means public control of the authorities. Third, because it means proper follow up of wrong doings or corruption and without critical debate, public oversight and proper follow up of problems, democracy cannot function properly. Any country striving to become a Member of the European Union must implement this core democratic principle irreversibly. That is why the European Commission is so committed to helping aspirant countries to make progress in this field. Dear friends, I would like to invite you to our 2nd Speak Up conference on the 20th of June. It will be a good opportunity to discuss where progress has been achieved since 2011 and where additional efforts are needed. You can follow the conference on line, it will be streamed on the web and I also encourage you to take part in our discussion by twitter. At the end of this message you will see the link of the conference website where you can find all information regarding Speak Up 2 and our twitter account. I look forward to hear your interviews and having a lively and constructive discussion. Thank you and Speak Up.
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