New approaches needed for media freedom and against disinformation

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Key topics of the XI. "South East Europe Media Forum" in Sofia were new strategies for quality journalism and media literacy

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The official opening with Dr. Lars Hänsel (KAS), Oliver Vujović (SEEMO) and Christian Spahr (KAS)

The official opening with Dr. Lars Hänsel (KAS), Oliver Vujović (SEEMO) and Christian Spahr (KAS)

Press freedom, disinformation, media literacy and the quality of political debates in Europe were the main themes on the 27th and 28th November at the XI. South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) in Sofia. Over 200 journalists, publishers, media experts and politicians from all over Europe came to the biggest media conference in the region. The KAS Media Program South East Europe hosts the forum together with the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) and the Central European Initiative (CEI).

The event was opened by Christian Spahr, Director of the KAS Media Program South East Europe, and Oliver Vujović, SEEMO General Secretary. Spahr spoke about the challenges which media in South East Europe are facing, e.g. the influence of media owners on the editorial work, the high concentration of ownership and the weak media markets. According to him it is necessary to encourage solidarity and mutual support among reporters. "Journalists need more support also from the EU and Western partners," said Spahr.

Bulgarian Minister presents the main focuses of the EU Presidency 2018

Co-host CEI was represented by Nedelcho Mihaylov from the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry. During the welcome addresses Dr. Lars Hansel, Head of the KAS Team Europe/North America, emphasised that politicians have the power to provide a better framework for media freedom. "The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung supports all those who strive for quality media," said Hänsel.

The Minister for the Bulgarian EU Presidency, Lilyana Pavlova, took part in the official opening. In her speech she presented the priorities of the EU Presidency. One of them would be the EU integration of the Western Balkans. "The Bulgarian EU Presidency will be a Balkan Presidency. The EU project cannot be fulfilled without the Western Balkans," explained the Minister. Pavlova said that integration is the key to stability and prosperity.

A welcome note of the EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, was presented by Hristo Hristov of the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria. Mariya Gabriel sees fake news as a danger since the media markets are very instable. Thus, there is a necessity to look actively for solutions.

New KAS study on media freedom and political communication in Bulgaria

The Managing Partner of the Bulgarian research institute "Alpha Research", Boriana Dimitrova, presented the results of a study commissioned by the KAS Media Program South East Europe. According to the survey, only ten percent of Bulgarians believe in independent media. Dimitrova commented that with decreasing trust in media the trust in democracy also decreases. The political communication of politicians in Bulgaria was also analysed. Only eleven percent of Bulgarians feel well informed by politicians. The results of the study are available here.

More in the report.


Darija Fabijanić, Manuela Zlateva

Publication series

Event Reports


Bulgaria, December 1, 2017

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SEEMF 2017