According to Radka Betcheva, EBU head of members relations and Eastern Europe, the project comes at a crucial time and will help build on a pilot project to help PSM in the Western Balkans in 2013-2015 and the EBU Partnership Programme, operating since 2009.
She added: “Public service media in the Western Balkans are still highly vulnerable to political interference. This project will deliver the urgent assistance they need to undertake an audacious reform agenda and adapt to a rapidly changing media environment. It also ensures that we gain the momentum from the previous EU-funded support projects and the EBU Partnership Programme”.
The EBU says it will cooperate with five other media organisations to develop the “Technical Assistance to Public Service Media in the Western Balkans” project, which will be led by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and will receive dedicated EU funding. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Austrian public broadcaster ORF, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Office of the Eurovision News Exchange for South-East Europe (ERNO) complete the project consortium.
The beneficiaries of the project will be RTVSH (Albania), BHRT (Bosnia & Herzegovina), RTK (Kosovo), MKRTV (FYR Macedonia), RTCG (Montenegro) and Radiotelevizija Srbije (Serbia).
EBU DG Noel Curran said: “I am delighted that we succeeded in the EU call for technical assistance for PSM in the Western Balkans together with our Consortium partners. This will provide crucial help for the reforms of PSM in this region, promote the exchange of best practices and deepen our cooperation with the EC.”