Meetings of the Intersectoral Group on Freedom of Expression and Media NCEU and the Media Freedom Matrix
Belgrade, March 22, 2018 – As part of the project “Protecting Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in the Western Balkans”, Civic Initiatives and Project Partner, FoNet news agency, have so far worked on creating a Media Freedom Matrix – an online tool for monitoring media freedom and organized the first of the three scheduled meetings of the Intersectoral Group on Freedom of Expression and Media of the National Convention on the EU.
The idea of launching the Media Freedom Matrix is to increase respect for freedom of expression and the media, as well as to facilitate the monitoring of planned measures and the effectiveness of their implementation in the field of media freedom during the European integration process.
The online platform for monitoring the development of media freedom through EU integration will ensure the monitoring of existing and necessary measures in the following chapters: 5 (Public Procurement), 8 (Competition Policy), 10 (Information Society and Media), 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights), 28 ( Consumer protection and health protection) and 32 (Financial Supervision). The Media Freedom Matrix aims to increase public awareness of laws and practices that protect freedom of expression.
The Media Freedom Matrix provides all relevant CSOs and media actors with a simple mechanism to monitor, exchange information, publish reports about measures within Chapters 5, 8, 10, 23, 28 and 32. The online platform will contain database on all the steps made in this area done by the state, including journalists and other media actors. When data becomes fully available, it will also be a powerful platform for data-based advocacy and a tool for accountability of authorities. In addition, the Matrix collects in one place all specific and concrete cases of violation of media and freedom of speech in Serbia, making a unique and transparent database, which will, in the end, serve as an advocacy platform and a tool for calling the state accountable. The matrix is currently in its final stages of preparation and will be completed and presented at a press conference next week. The matrix will be constantly updated with new data.
Also, the introductory meeting of the Intersectoral Group on Freedom of Expression and Media of the National Convention on the EU was held in late December. After the meeting, a press conference followed where the Media Freedom Matrix was announced. The second meeting will be held on Monday, March 26, at the Building of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. Mechanisms for protecting journalists are the topic of this meeting.
The third meeting, which will deal with media competition, will take place on Friday, March 30, at the House of Human Rights and Democracy.
The capacity of the Intersectoral Group on Freedom of the Media and Expression is considerably strengthened, as suggested by the inflow of new members after the first meeting and the great interest for the next meetings.
Partner on the project, FoNet news agency, produced dozens of articles on the subject of freedom of expression and the media.
This project is funded by the European Union through the small grants programme “Protecting Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in the Western Balkans” implemented by the Croatian Journalists’ Association as part of the regional project Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, carried out through partnership of six regional journalists’ associations – Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS), Association of BH Journalists (BHJ), Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (TUMM).