The Support for Media Capacity in the Area of EU Integration project, funded by the European Commission, aims at strengthening the role of the media as Serbia works to make the changes it needs to join the European Union. The project will provide technical assistance to local media in Serbia to enhance their capacity to inform the public about the many aspects of EU integration. IREX Europe is implementing the project as part of a consortium led by the BBC World Service Trust (Britain) and in partnership with Mreza PG Production Group (Serbia) and LDK Consultants Engineers and Planners (Greece).
With European integration arguably the most important vehicle for economic, political and social development and reform in Serbia, the ability of Serbia to implement the Stabilisation and Association Agreement’s (SAA) acquis communautaire in general and the 2004 Communication Strategy in particular, is of critical importance not only to the European family of states, but to Serbia’s future.
However, if the government of Serbia wants to prepare the country for EU accession between 2012 and 2015, a step-change in public debate is required. Public debate needs to be widened and deepened.
To help the Serbian people better understand the EU and in particular the changes that will be taking place in their country it is essential that journalists properly and fully understand both the EU and the SAA and how it applies to Serbia. Journalists also need to provide interesting and informative stories that shed light on the impact of EU integration on the economy, society, international relations, to name just a few.
The project will build the capacity of the Serbian media, in particular at local and regional level, to convey key information to the public and provide space for Serbian citizens to discuss and debate what these issues mean to them and the potential advantages and obligations inherent in EU accession. Through managerial training, the project will also seek to bring broader benefits to the quality and sustainability of the Serbian media, thus contributing to the overall project objective to enhance media capacity in order to meet EU standards. The project will deliver three main results:
1. Detailed baseline and endline studies on the quality and quantity of media coverage of EU integration issues in Serbia.
2. In-depth capacity-building programme for 70 Serbian journalists and 50 media managers from five regions - Novi Sad, Belgrade, Kragujevac, Nis and Uzice – involving workshops and study visits focused on improving media coverage of EU integration issues and building capacity for self-sustainable business development by regional and local media.
3. Through the grants awarded in the Media Fund (1,8 million EUR), the project will support the production of a series of in-depth stories covering the process of EU integration in Serbia.
Completed IREX Europe projects in Serbia:
Serbia : Technical Assistance to Radio Television Serbia (RTS)