Pressure on critical media in Eastern and South Eastern Europe
KAS Media Program at "Frankfurt Days on Media Law"
Also available in Deutsch
The repression of critical media in many Eastern European countries was the main theme of the 14th Frankfurt Days of Media Law. The expert conference was hosted by Viadrina European University and the Southeast Europe Association (Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft – SOG). Chairperson of the conference was Prof. Dr. Johannes Weberling, Head of the Department of Media Law at Viadrina University.
The Media Program South East Europe of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung contributed to the conference on 2nd and 3rd February in Frankfurt (Oder). Prof. Dr. Carmen Thiele, Vice Dean at Viadrina European University and Hansjörg Brey, Executive Director of the Southeast Europe Association, opened the event.
Christian Spahr, Head of the KAS Media Program South East Europe, spoke about "Balkan trends as European challenge" in the field of media. He explained negative developments in terms of media freedom in many South East European countries. According to Spahr, obstacles for the media freedom in the region are a concentration of media ownership, insufficient legal guarantees for free reporting and a lack of consensus about ethical standards in the media community. Christian Mihr, German Director of the NGO "Reporters Without Borders", mentioned an "ethical vacuum" in parts of the industry. Prof. Dr. Weberling also took part in the panel discussion about the state of media freedom in Eastern and South Eastern Europe. He suggested a more open and outspoken debate about the media issues. Prof. Dr. Thiele moderated the discussion.
Journalists, lawyers, media and legal experts from Germany and Eastern Europe also debated threats for press freedom in Greece, Poland and Turkey. Different German media outlets – TV stations, radio reporters as well as online media from Berlin and the surroundings – reported on the event.
During a workshop session, the experts presented the current media situation in individual countries of Eastern and South Eastern Europe and discussed the preconditions for the establishment of new quality media outlets. Christian Spahr and KAS Media Program project coordinator Dobrina Trifonova took part in the session. Obscure media ownership, monopolisation of distribution, external pressure and self-censorship, but also increasing conformism among the journalists were mentioned by the participants. The role of public broadcasters and the increasing distribution of fake news were also topics of the exchange.
The KAS Media Program South East Europe has hosted joint workshops with the "Article 10 ECHR" Task Force of Viadrina University and formulated recommendations for journalists and media experts. More here.
Frankfurt, February 6, 2017