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News / New edition of EU-Western Balkans Media Conference in Albania reaffirms the importance of media freedom and freedom of expression
The new edition of the EU-Western Balkans Media Conference took place on 10-11 November 2022 in Tirana, Albania and it hosted almost 200 participants, including journalists, media professionals, civil society organisations, fact-checkers, professors and more from the Western Balkan region, the EU and its partners.
The Conference, jointly organised by the European Commission and the European External Action Service, started with a workshop opened by Andris Kesteris, Media and Civil Society Principal Adviser at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, who, who together with the Commission’s main partners, such as USAID and GIZ, presented the newest media assistance programmes in the Western Balkans.
The conference officially started with Ambassador Hohmann, Head of the EU Delegation to Albania, who highlighted that free and independent media are a key pillar of democracy in forming a public sphere, shaping public opinion and holding those in power to account.
Michela Matuella, Acting Director for the Western Balkans at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, followed up commenting: “Freedom of expression is a core European value and a prerequisite for accession and precisely it is also at the centre of the EU’s enlargement policy.” However, she underlined that governments and relevant actors (regulatory bodies, public broadcasters and media owners) must step up their efforts too, to create an enabling environment for media freedom.
The conference continued with several panels on key issues such as information manipulation and foreign interference, modern content production, disinformation and collaborative approaches.
One of the highlights of the conference was the delivery of the EU Investigative Journalism Awards in the Western Balkans, during which the three top investigative journalists from the WB6 were awarded.
Source: European Union
Photo credits: European Union
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