Western Balkans agree on Regional Principles on Public Service Media governance

Representatives of parliaments, regulatory authorities, public service media governance, senior management, and civil sector from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia adopted a set of regional common principles on Public Service Media (PSM) governance at a conference held in Belgrade 28-29 January.

The principles are based on European standards and concrete challenges and practices in the Western Balkans region. They specifically insist on the independence and de-politicization of PSM governing bodies and the need for an open and transparent process of election of governing bodies's members.

The principles stress the importance of clear separation of powers between supervisory and managerial bodies, and a functioning that is professional, transparent and accountable.

Participants acknowledged the need for strengthening communication with PSM audience and engaging in proactive public diplomacy.

Head of Member Relations CEE Radka Betcheva said that although the principles were not binding, they were very encouraging and strongly supported by key stakeholders from the six West Balkans countries present at the conference.

The participants have definitely demonstrated a will for promotion and implementation of these principles in practice. They have underlined the relevance of the principles and the challenges they address and see
them as a useful tool for assessment and improvement of PSM frameworks and practices
”, she added.

The work on the principles carried out by EBU and ORF experts and the organization of the conference is part of a project funded by the European Commission (EC) and implemented by a consortium of partners, namely IFJ, EFJ, ERNO, BIRN, ORF and EBU.

The adopted principles will be sent to parliaments, governments, regulatory authorities, civil sector and PSM in the six countries.

Many participants requested a high- level promotion of the principles and the support from the EC in this regard.

The conference elected focal points in each country to form assessment groups to oversee the implementation of the principles. 

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo

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