Representatives of the audiovisual sector in the Western Balkans, attending a seminar in Brussels on 16 May, adopted a Declaration reaffirming their commitment to support media independence, the upholding of professional standards and the fight against incitement to hatred in audiovisual content. They also signed up two protocols of cooperation amongst the broadcasting authorities Balkans and public broadcasters of the Western Balkans.

In her closing speech at the seminar, Commissioner Reding encouraged the stakeholders to continue their reform process and to join efforts with European Commission and European broadcasting authorities.

The development of independent and professional media is key for building stability and functioning democracies in the Western Balkans, and essential for their future integration in the European Union. The Western Balkan countries are giving priority for increasing awareness of European media standards in the region and accelerating necessary reforms in the sector.

The Western Balkan countries have already made substantial efforts to meet European standards on media. This process of reform is ongoing. However, further progress is needed to transform state broadcasters into genuine public service broadcasters, to ensure free access to information, freedom and independence of the media, and full independence of Regulatory Bodies. The seminar was the latest of four successive events organised by the European Commission and the Council of Europe involving authorities, regulatory bodies, audiovisual industry, NGOs and international organisations present in the Western Balkan Countries (Albania, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, including Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

Together, they work to ensure the co-existence of financially viable public and private broadcasters and to promote European audiovisual standards, raise ethical standards, and promote self-regulation in the Western Balkan countries.

Audiovisual and Media Policy > External Policy > Enlargement