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Freedom, Independence and Plurality of Media in EaP Countries
11 October 2018, Brussels

Strategic communication and plurality and independence of media are among the cross-cutting deliverables for the Eastern Partnership. Media freedom is a core EU value and a cornerstone of democracy, making it a central part of the whole set of democratic and legal reforms implemented by Eastern Partnership countries. Consequently, it is a topic of high relevance in the political dialogue between the EU and its partners.

A well-functioning media environment, based on the principles of plurality and independence is one of the prerequisites for democratic, stable, prosperous and resilient societies. However, the power of media to transform society needs to be evaluated together with other socioeconomic, cultural and political factors in any given country, locality or region.

Some see the media as a largely negative force in civic society, propagating disinformation, alienating people from each other, from their local communities, and from active civic engagement. For others media, and especially digital media, offer a chance to engage local communities with civic and political issues. In this perspective media use is seen as moderately influencing civic participation or, through mechanisms such as online consultations, as potentially a factor in supporting democratic participation and representation and fostering transparency and accountability.

This workshop was co-organised by the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly, a parliamentary forum to promote political association between the EU and its Eastern European partners and the Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP), with the support of the Global Diplomacy Lab as a platform of highly creative and influential diplomats, academics, activists, entrepreneurs and artists.

Participants at the workshop were invited to share good practice and innovative perspectives, looking at ways to overcoming through territorial and parliamentary cooperation some of the challenges to media freedom policies, such as low average internet penetration and lack of digital skills, influence on media content, harassment of journalists and lack of viewership statistics.


Agenda:
2:30 to 2:45 p.m. - Opening
Rebecca HARMS, MEP, Co-President of the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly
Emin YERITSYAN, President of the Union of Communities of Armenia, Co-Chair of CORLEAP

2:45 to 4:00 p.m. - Presentations and debate with the audience
Egin CEKA, representative of the Global Diplomacy Lab
Anneli KIMBER, EU East StratCom Task Force, European External Action Service
Timur ONICA, Programme Officer, European Endowment for Democracy
Thijs BERMAN, Principal Adviser, Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media


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Egin Ceka

He is an Albanian political scientist and former diplomat. He studied political sciences, history and philosophy at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany, graduating in 2005 with an M.A. in International Relations with a thesis on “The future status of Kosovo. Actors, positions, options”.

Since then, Egin's research and teaching experience has included a Herder Scholarship at the Alfred-Toepfer-Foundation (2005), a Robert-Bosch-Fellowship at the IWM in Vienna (2007), research and teaching positions at the University of Vienna (2008, 2009, 2015, 2016), and participation in the Transformation Thinkers Conference in Berlin (2008).

His expertise lies in topics such as transitional justice, political parties, the state-church relationship and media literacy with special focus on South Eastern Europe.

Egin has also worked as an Albanian diplomat in Vienna (2008-2013).

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