More than 350 media professionals and donors from the Eastern Partnership and the EU gather in Kyiv on 13 September for the 2nd Eastern Partnership Media Conference, which aims to shine a spotlight on the growing challenges facing journalists in the EU’s Eastern partner countries.
Bringing together participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine as well as EU Member States, the conference offers a unique platform to identify obstacles to a healthy media environment, discuss ways of addressing them, and examine how the EU and other donors can best support independent journalism in these countries.
In his message to the participants, European Neighbourhood Commissioner Johannes Hahn stressed that ''Freedom of expression is one of the very foundations on which our Union is built. We believe that a strong, independent press is fundamental to successful societies everywhere. Today's conference clearly shows the importance of closer engagement of the EU with partner countries on the issues of plurality and independence of media.''
Over the past decade, the European Union has spent and earmarked about €30 million in support of media initiatives in Eastern partner countries, €14 million of which on current projects.
The conference will look at the pressures experienced by media workers in the Eastern neighbourhood, discuss solutions to achieve economic sustainability in news and story production, as well as difficulties in reforming public broadcasting sectors.
Participants will also discuss methods to make media outlets more sustainable and to help journalists continue to grow professionally. The challenges posed by disinformation campaigns and efforts to spread biased or misleading information on social media will also be on the agenda, with a focus on how media can help increase critical thinking in society.
The 2nd Eastern Partnership Media Conference is held in preparation for the 5th Eastern Partnership Summit, to be held in Brussels in November 2017. The discussions and practical findings of the conference will provide a basis for further considerations at the Summit.