From: Alice Taylor
Western Balkan Press Councils Sign Regions First Joint Declaration

Western Balkan press and media councils, including Albania’s, have signed the region’s very first joint declaration on strengthening media ethics in the digital era.

The agreement is the outcome of the UNESCO EU-funded project, Building Trust in Media and South-East Europe- Phase 2, which brought together the area’s self-regulatory bodies.

During the event, which took place between 16-18 November, participants discussed common positions on challenges posed by the current evolving information ecosystem, new forms of journalism, and dependency on social media for distributing content. The sustainability of self-regulation platforms was also discussed.

The Declaration calls on media professionals to ensure sufficient training and awareness of journalistic standards, but also to ensure the visibility of the media’s adherence to self-regulatory systems.

Koloreto Cukali, Executive Director of the Albanian Media council said, “Press and Media Councils increasingly have a role to play in helping ethical media survive and thrive on the Internet platforms, particularly on social media platforms.”

Dzenana Burek, Executive Director of the Press Council in BiH added, “The reality is that journalism is inextricably linked to these platforms, and we see that journalistic content is too often taken down from platforms. And for now, we don’t know what criteria are used for content moderation, which is very worrisome as media heavily rely on platforms in their work.”

Adeline Hulin from the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels said, “The adoption of a Joint Declaration by all Press Councils of South-East Europe and Turkey is a solid signal about the increased cooperation existing between self-regulatory mechanisms of the region. It is also a strong call for increased adherence of online media actors to ethical and professional media standards and a call to various stakeholders to strengthen the sustainability and effectiveness of media self-regulation.”