The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has welcomed its key role as a partner in a major new EU-funded project aimed at introducing media reforms in the Southern Mediterranean region.
The MedMedia project will focus on media legislation, regulation, programming, strategy and leadership networking in the Southern Mediterranean region with the aim of helping state media fulfill its public service role and compete with the commercial sector.
It will also work to build public trust by strengthening the media’s role as an independent watchdog and a forum for democratic debate.
The project is being implemented by a consortium led by BBC Media Action and comprising the IFJ, the Federation of Arab Journalists, IREX Europe, the Blanquerna School of Communication and the Jordan Media Institute.
The project has been launched following an inaugural meeting in early May, organised during UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in Paris, which brought together delegates from journalists’ organisations, broadcasters, the donor community, implementing agencies and civil society organisations.
"New challenges have arisen in Southern Mediterranean countries in recent years, in a context of deep political change,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "Public service media can only contribute to fostering democracy, diversity and progress in society, if it operates in an open and independent environment.”
“MedMedia is a hugely important project which will help bring about change in the regions media by supporting policy-makers and media professionals in their efforts to reform legislative and regulatory frameworks, whilst helping public service media to develop programming which better reflects the interests and concerns of their audiences.”
The MedMedia group, which will meet periodically and on an ad-hoc basis, will advise on major issues related to media policy and reform in the Southern Mediterranean region, maximise the involvement of national stakeholders and ensure the long-term sustainability of the initiative.
“We are absolutely dedicated to our cause to develop open and balanced media in countries across the Southern Mediterranean region, said IFJ Senior Vice President Younes Mjahed. “The MedMedia project will help us continue in our battle for public sector media that is transparent and can work freely for society and for the citizens of countries in the region.”
The project is funded under the European Neighborhood Partnership Instrument. Started in January 2014, it will run for a period of four years.