14 November 2022
On November 10-11, the EU - Western Balkans Media Conference was held in Tirana, where over 180 participants, journalists and various actors from the media field from the Western Balkans and the European Union were invited to 5 panel discussions. Participant from IMC in the conference was IMC member Mr. Besnik Berisha.
Freedom of expression and freedom of the media are considered essential elements in relation to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries because these are essential elements of the EU enlargement policy. The conference was a good opportunity for dialogue with the media community and other relevant actors to discuss freedom of expression and media freedom, to address the challenges facing the region as well as to identify opportunities in achieving the objectives for independent media, professional and stable, which make qualitative and correct reports. The need for due care was underlined, especially in the face of elements of disinformation, manipulation of information, and external interventions, especially in the context of Russia's aggression in Ukraine. Particular focus was given to fact-checking, illustrating approaches and best practices.
During the conference, the impact of online media as well as companies known as "big tech companies" was also discussed. Large companies are self-regulated, and through the Digital Services Act they will be subject to regulation. It was generally implied that the expansion of regulation will be more effective in combating disinformation, information manipulation and outside influence.
There were also discussions about media ownership in the sense of media control and concentration where the role of regulators is irreplaceable.
The conference was preceded by the media sustainability workshop, where the financial challenges facing the media today, as well as media assistance programs, were widely discussed. The conference was organized by the European Union as an expression of commitment to strengthening the freedom of the media and their independence at the regional level.
IMC remains committed to its commitment to creating a favorable media environment where we have media pluralism and professional media. Within its competences, the IMC will exercise its mandate to ensure that we have reliable, accurate, fact-based reporting, as well as independent and sustainable media in general.