The European Union steps up support to independent media in the Western Balkans

Freedom of media is one of the political criteria for EU accession – a must for countries willing to join the European Union. At the EU-Western Balkans Media Days conference that took place on 9-10 November in Tirana, Albania, the Commission announced that it will invest in new initiatives to support independent journalism, sustainable media outlets, and boost regional cooperation among public service media.Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, participating at the EU-Western Balkans Media Days said: ““Freedom of expression is a fundamental value of the European Union and inextricably linked to further progress on the EU path. The EU-Western Balkans Media Days pave the way to a more comprehensive approach to support independent media outlets, assist the expansion of media literacy in the region, help digitalisation and know-how transfer. A vibrant, economically sustainable, independent and pluralistic media sector is equally important for exercising freedom of expression as are the legal, political and judicial conditions that guarantee it.” A full press release is available here. The concluding speech by Commissioner Hahn will be available online. Photos and video of the event are available on EbS.