Press releases

X South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF)

Vienna, 20 November 2016

Crisis reporting and media business issues discussed at the X South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) in Belgrade, Serbia.

The X South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) will take place on 21-22 November in Belgrade, Serbia. It is expected for over 400 participants from SEEMO region to join the opening of the X SEEMF, followed by a welcome address by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic. Opening Speeches will be by Oliver Vujovic, Secretary General, South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), Radomir Licina, Board member, South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), , Christian Spahr, Head of the Media Program South East Europe, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Sofia, Norbert Beckmann-Dierkes, Head of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Offices in Serbia and Montenegro, Philippe Guex, Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia and to Montenegro, Andrea Orizio, Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri, Secretary General, Central European Initiative (CEI), Trieste.

The event is organized by the Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), in cooperation with the Media Program South East Europe of the German Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and the Central European Initiative (CEI), and in partnership with Embassy of Switzerland in the Republic of Serbia, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), South East and Central Europe PR Organisation and International Institute - International Media Center. The main topics of the two-day forum will be: “Media in Europe: Ready for crisis reporting?” “Media business today – in the context of international crises and conflicts”

Secretary General of the Central European Initiative (CEI) Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri stated: "Our region is facing one of the most severe crisis in its history, i.e. the refugee and migrant crisis, involving also a number of CEI Member States. In this context, the media coverage of migration is a big challenge for journalists and media outlets. This year's South East Europe Media Forum is addressing this very issue providing a remarkable opportunity to all involved actors. It is in line with its traditional goal to promote professional reporting and quality information as well as to support freedom of the press and media ethics." Christian Spahr, head of the Media program for South East Europe in the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung foundation said: "Europe is challenged by many crises - economy, migration and global pressure on democracy and open societies.

Good journalism is crucial for citizens in South East Europe to make conscious political choices. The South East Europe Media Forum brings all relevant media stakeholders together to discuss how media can do an impartial and professional job. SEEMF plays an important role to assess the relationship between media and politics." The X SEEMF will also the occasion to present the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism. The 2016 winners are Lindita Cela from BIRN Albania in the section for Professional Journalists and Artsiom Harbatsevich from Belarus, who won in the category “Young Journalist”. A special mention went to Iurie Sanduta from Moldova, thanks to his investigative work for RISE Moldova and OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project) in Chisinau.

The introduction session will be devoted to the media in Serbia and their relationship to politics, offering the panellists an opportunity to tackle issues such as role of the state, ownership structure, market forces and journalism. After the discussion by media professionals and renewed journalists, the participants will be greeted by Franco Frattini, Former Italian Foreign Minister and EU Vice President Commissioner. The Concluding address will be by Roksanda Nincic, Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Belgrade and Erhard Busek, former Vice-Chancellor of Austria, President of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe, Coordinator Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI).

BUCHAREST, Nov 5, 2015

BUCHAREST, Nov 5, 2015

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is pleased to announce today's opening of the IX South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF), bringing together regional media CEOs, editors-in-chief, leading journalists, business professionals and governmental and NGO representatives to discuss the topic “Media in South East Europe – the Struggle for Success on the Web”.

The forum runs from Nov. 5 to 6 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Bucharest, Romania. SEEMO is an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI) and works in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), the Central European Initiative (CEI), the South East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO), the International Academy (IA) and the International Academy – International Media Center (IA-IMC).

Welcome speeches to open the forum will be delivered by Margot Klestil-Löffler, alternate CEI Secretary General; Sven-Joachim Irmer, head of the KAS Offices in Romania and Moldova; Christian Spahr, head of the Media Program South East Europe at KAS; Marina Constantinoiu, president of SEEMO Romania; and Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.

A welcome address by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis will be presented by presidential counsellor Laurentiu Stefan, while a welcome of the Romanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, will be presented by Alexandru Ene, CEI coordinator in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We are meeting in Romania in a period when many political things are happening in this country,” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic noted. “It is important that the media, especially in days like these, respect professional standards. Such standards will be one of the topics discussed during SEEMF, especially in the introduction panel during which leading Romanian media representatives will speak about the media situation in the country.”

Ambassador Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri, CEI secretary general, commented in relation to this year’s SEEMF: “The European perspective of its Member States is the core mission of the CEI. That's why we are committed to supporting the non-EU CEI countries in order to come closer to EU standards in terms of media legislation, digitalisation, public broadcasting, free movement of journalists and quality journalism. The SEEMF offers an exceptional platform to tackle these key issues!”

Christian Spahr, head of the Media Program South East Europe at KAS, added: “The South East Europe Media Forum fosters the topical professional exchange between journalists, media, experts and politicians on an international level. It is a great encouragement for the development of an independent media landscape. For this reason, the KAS Media Programme South East Europe is pleased to be a co-organiser of this biggest annual meeting of media professionals in the region.”

Joining the opening panel on the situation of press and media freedom in Romania will be Adrian Ursu, editorial director at Intact Media Group; Dan Tapalaga, editor and coordinator at Hotnews; Denise Rifai, presenter at Realitatea TV; Mihai Radulescu, presenter at TVR Romanian Television; Ion M. Ionita, senior editor at daily Adevarul; and Ioana Avadani, executive manager at the Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ).

During the event, Freedom House Romania and KAS will present the award “The Young Journalist of the Year 2015” (TJA) as well as the annual CEI-SEEMO investigative journalism award. The forum will also include the following discussions:

-“News content - competition on the Web. Who can cash in on it, and what kind of regulation is necessary?”

-“Future of the media business - the vision of CEOs and directors. Which directions are media landscapes taking in Southern and Eastern Europe?”

-“Journalists and their audience - a new relationship. Is a true dialogue through the Internet possible, and how can it be successful?”

-“Innovative business models in times of change and crisis. How can traditional media survive and start-ups become prosperous?”

The annual Commission on Media Policy will follow SEEMF on Nov. 7. The event is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom in Leipzig, the Media Foundation of the Leipzig Sparkasse and the European Commission. During the event, the annual Dr. Erhard Busek SEEMO Award for Better Understanding will be presented to Radomir Licina, co-founder of the Serbian dailyDanas, and the International Academy. The latter, a sister organisation of SEEMO, will be holding a press conference about persons with disabilities and the media on Dec. 4 and 5 in Belgrade.

VIII SEEMF in Skopje

SKOPJE, 16 October 2014.

Not enough or too much information? This is the topic of the Forum that brings together journalists, editors-in chief, civil society representatives from South, East and Central Europe.

On 16-18 October will take place in Skopje the VIII South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF). It bringing together media CEOs, leading journalists, editors-in-chief, business professionals, CEOs from companies active in South East and Central Europe, representatives of marketing and public relations agencies, civil society representatives, academics and representatives of state institutions from South, East and Central Europe.

The topic of the VIII SEEMF is Media in South East Europe: Not enough or too much information? The discussions will include the right to access information, data journalism, privacy and the protection of journalists’ sources, self-regulation and standards of quality reporting. A session will also be dedicated to opinion making in times of conflict and will discuss the lessons of the media war on Ukraine.

The SEEMF will also present the annual CEI-SEEMO Investigative Journalism Award. The International Press Institute will organise a workshop about defamation, and the Safety Net for European Journalists network will discuss about the needs of threatened journalists and of censorship disguised in Europe.

Apart from working sessions, SEEMF offers a unique opportunity to meet leading professionals for an open discussion about media, press freedom, marketing, business and new media in South East and Central Europe.

VII SEEMF Sarajevo

Sarajevo, 8 October 2013

The VII South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) took place on 7th and 8th October 2013 in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), with the topic: "Journalism in South East Europe: Monopolies, business models and the struggle for quality".

The forum was organized by the KAS Media Program South East Europe, the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) and the Central European Initiative (CEI). Around 250 media experts and journalists from all over Europe took part in the VII. SEEMF.

The conference was opened by Christian Spahr, Head of KAS Media Program South East Europe, the CEI Secretary General Margit Wästfelt, the SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujović and Borca Rudić, the Secretary General of the BiH Novinari Association. Christian Spahr emphasized in his opening speech on the sometimes one-dimensional public debates about media freedom and pluralism: "Demands are made for freedom of the press, diversity in the media and transparency – and rightly so. But often without taking into account the foundations for these objectives: Market-oriented business models, which distinguish themselves from journalism as an instrument of power for the elites. Clear media law that guarantees a minimum of freedom and competition and is also enforced. And an interested civil society that appreciates quality journalism."

An integral part of the opening session was a panel on the media situation in the host country, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The animated discussion began with a public interview with the President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić. Besides that, the "CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism", supported by the KAS Media Program South East Europe, was granted. The winners are Mahir Šahinović (Sarajevo) in the category "Professional Journalists" and Rosen Tsvetkov (Sofia) in the category "Young Professional Journalists".

The forum attracted huge media interest. Not only journalists from the Balkan countries reported on the conference, but also German and Austrian media. The SEEMF takes place annually in alternating countries of South East Europe and is the biggest media conference in the region. The forum aims at supporting exchange and networking among leading journalists and media representatives in South East and Central Europe.

Challenges of Journalism in Age of New Media Debated at VI South East Europe Media Forum in Budva, Montenegro

Vienna, 25 October 2012

“New media contribute to democracy and advance the quality of communication, but they cannot substitute professional journalism which provides credibility to public information,” veteran Slovenian broadcast journalist and manager Boris Bergant said in his concluding speech to the VI South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF).

Focusing on the challenges of journalism in the age of new media, panel discussions at the two-day event in Becici, Montenegro, this week centred on social media, blogging, digital games and the use of new media to combat corruption. A special session was devoted to the media in Montenegro, which offered the opportunity to tackle issues such as the role of the state, ownership structure, market forces and journalism.

The event, which took place from 22 to 23 October 2012, was organized by the Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO, in cooperation with the Trieste-based Central European Initiative (CEI) and the Media Program South East Europe of the German Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).

“Today’s Forum is an excellent example of a joint cooperation among three influential partners for the benefit of the media of the region,” CEI Secretary General Gerhard Pfanzelter said in his opening speech.

Christian Spahr, director of the KAS Media Program, said in his keynote address: “It is meaningful that the South East Europe Media Forum focuses on the contribution of the Web to a pluralistic media landscape. It must be our common aim to support independent online media who can fill gaps in the free supply of information.”

Attended by 261 participants from 20 countries, the VI SEEMF was officially inaugurated by Montenegro’s president Filip Vujanovic, who praised the forum by saying that it “contributes to advance the freedom of expression, which is a priority in SEE countries”.

The VI SEEMF was also the occasion to present the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism. The 2012 winners were Slovenian journalists Blaz Zgaga and Matej Surc, while a Special Investigative Diploma went to the Albanian journalist Telnis Skuqi and a Special Mention went to the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIN) based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The SEEMF aims to promote exchanges and networking among media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe. Previous SEEMF events took place in Zagreb in 2007, in Sofia in 2008, in Tirana in 2009, in Budapest in 2010 and in Belgrade in 2011.

In addition to SEEMO, CEI, KAS the partners for the VI SEEMF are: the OSCE Mission to Montenegro; the OSCE Mission to Serbia, the South, East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO), the International Media Center, Vijesti daily and Raiffeisen Bank International.

VI South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF): Journalism, New Media and Social Networks, 22-23 October 2012, Budva/Becici, Montenegro

Vienna, 11 October 2012

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), the Central European Initiative (CEI), Trieste, Italy, and Media Program South East Europe of the German Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) announce that the VI South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) will take place in Budva/Becici, Montenegro, from 22 to 23 October 2012. This year’s forum will analyse multifaceted challenges of journalism in the age of new media. Special panel discussions will be dedicated to social media and blogging, digital games as well as the use of new media to combat corruption.

The conference will be inaugurated by Montenegro’s president Filip Vujanovic. His welcome speech will be followed by an interview.

During the two-day conference, to be attended by more than 150 participants from 20 countries, Slovenian journalists Blaz Zgaga and Matej Surc will be presented with the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism 2012. The jury also awarded a Special Investigative Diploma to the Albanian journalist Telnis Skuqi, a correspondent for Albania’s Telegraphic News Agency (ATA) in the town of Gjirokastra and a Special Mention was given to CIN Sarajevo for their remarkable contribution to investigative journalism in the region.

The evening discussion on 22 October will focus on media in Montenegro: “The Role of the State, Ownership Structure, Market Forces and Journalism.”

On 23 October, there will be four panel discussions:1) Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, You tube, Apps - Future of Media;2) Bloggers - Journalists or not? ; 3) New Media, Web Portals, Media Market, and 4) Journalists and Citizens: Online partnership against corruption. In addition, Emre Kizilkaya, editor of the Turkish daily Hurriyet, will have a presentation on Digital Games / New Games and Influence on Media.

SEEMF aims to promote exchanges and networking among media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe. Previous SEEMF events took place in Zagreb (2007); Sofia (2008); Tirana (2009); Budapest (2010) and Belgrade (2011).

“I am very happy that this year’s SEEMF is taking place in Montenegro, one of the youngest European states. We chose Montenegro in order to give clear support to the country’s media and press freedom, “said Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.

CEI Secretary General Gerhard Pfanzelter stated: “Freedom of expression and of the media is one of the fundamental elements of our democracies and the European Union. Accurate and reliable information is vital in our societies, especially in the phase undergoing political and economic transformation. This is why the CEI supports activities such as the SEEMF and the Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism, which highly contribute to protecting and enhancing freedom of the media.”

Christian Spahr, head of the Media Program South East Europe of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, stated: "The Internet is a strong challenge for all journalists and publishers. It continues to change our media landscape rapidly, which brings new opportunities and risks for quality journalism. It is meaningful that the South East Europe Media Forum focuses on the contribution of the Web to a free and pluralistic media landscape. One of the aims of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Media Program is to support independent online journalism."

In addition to SEEMO, CEI, KAS the partners for the VI SEEMF are: the OSCE Mission to Montenegro; the OSCE Mission to Serbia, the South, East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO), the International Media Center, Vijesti daily and Raiffeisen Bank International.

For more details, see: http://www.seemf.org/

Journalists interested in following SEEMF panel discussions can register at: info@seemo.org

SEEMO III South, East and Central Europe Investigative Journalism Days to be Held in Chisinau, Moldova, on May 23-25, 2012

Vienna, 22 May 2012

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), with the financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation agency, and in cooperation with the European Association of Regional Television (CIRCOM) and the Chisinau-based daily Ziarul de Garda, announces its annual conference dedicated to investigative reporting: The III South, East and Central Europe Investigative Journalism Days, to be held in Chisinau, Moldova, from May 23-25, 2012.

The conference, focusing on different aspects of reporting on corruption and crime, will be inaugurated by Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat. The opening ceremony will also include: SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic; CIRCOM Regional Training Project Manager Karol Cioma; Boris Bergant from the European Broadcasting Union-Special Assistance Project (EBU-SAP); Alina Radu, director of Ziarul de Garda; Gerhard Schaumberger, from the Austrian Development Agency; and Claudio Cappon, vice-president of the EBU.

Renowned international speakers, experts in investigative reporting, will cover a series of topics, including technology and advanced investigative techniques in the coverage of corruption and organised crime, as well as editorial policies on investigations into crime and corruption.

Paul Christian Radu, executive director of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project from Bucharest, Romania, will hold a panel on technology and advanced investigative techniques related to reporting on corruption and organised crime. Tony O’ Schaughnessy, an experienced international journalist and trainer, who served as a Current Affairs Series Editor for the BBC and is currently involved with CIRCOM’s video journalism and documentary courses, will focus on “Approaching investigative journalism within a current affairs program series-the editorial decisions to be made.” Marek Wollner, head and host of the investigative program Reporteri CT, broadcast by the Pubic RTV in Czech Republic, will hold a panel on investigative reporting on public television. Finally, Blaz Zgaga, a freelance reporter from Slovenia and a co-author of the three-part investigative trilogy, “In the Name of the State”, focusing on arms smuggling during the 1990s Balkan conflicts, will speak about his investigation.

More than 100 national and international journalists are expected to attend.

The III South, East and Central Europe Investigative Journalism Days will be inaugurated at 18.00 on May 23, 2012, in the Codru Conference Halls, Chisinau, Moldova.

The I South, East and Central Europe Investigative Journalism Days took place in Budva, Montenegro (2010), and the second in Belgrade, Serbia (2011).

For more information please contact Lyudmila Handzhiyska: info@seemo.org.

SEEMO Issues Preview of Report on Bulgarian Media

Vienna, 26 April 2012

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) conducted a mission to Sofia, Bulgaria, from April 1 to 4, 2012 in order to assess the latest media developments in the light of changed media ownership and reports of pressure on media. The delegation met Bulgaria’s deputy prime minister and minister of interior, Tzvetan Tzvetanov, as well as over 25 editors-in-chief, leading journalists, media experts and NGO representatives.

The Bulgarian media scene has been profoundly transformed during the past three years, since the German-based media group Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) retreated from the country’s market in 2010. Media Group Bulgaria Holding has bought WAZ publications. On the other hand, the New Bulgarian Media Group began acquiring numerous publications in 2007. Both groups own numerous media outlets and control a large share of the print market. While the former appears to be associated with the pharmaceutical industry, among other business interests, the latter is reportedly related to one government-trusted bank. These two media conglomerates fight for the market and for influence. According to some interlocutors, the country’s top political leadership had to intervene in order to stop their public war. When asked about the missions or ideology of the two media groups, interviewees responded unequivocally: “There is no ideology. It is about business and personal interests.” Their rivalry split the publishers union. Currently there are two publishers’ unions.

Respecting the business interests of media owners and silencing any information that may be interpreted as harmful is widely accepted by most reporters as a way of doing journalism. Even independent media, valued for their intellectual content, and unrelated to the above-mentioned groups, abstain from addressing those economic areas where their owners are active. For example, if an owner is in the oil business, one abstains from writing in-depth articles about energy.

Foreign media ownership is perceived as advantageous for media outlets and journalists. Foreign owners are perceived as credible, long-term thinking and generally absent from day to day editorial decisions.

Bulgarian media owners, on the other hand, with less than two decades of capitalist experience, are perceived as investors with short-term vision who strive for immediate profits.

This business model has influenced the quality of media: most dailies have become tabloids.

Business and personal interests determine what journalists can write or how they can deal with specific issues or political figures. One editor said: “A journalist who came to work for us from another newspaper asked me if we should write good or bad things about a particular politician. He told me that his previous employer had strict instructions regarding politicians. You were not allowed to write anything about certain politicians. About others you had to write only positive stories. As for the third group, negative coverage was advised.”

This perception of media freedom and journalism implies that readers (and viewers) cannot rely on one specific media outlet to acquire information in the public interest. They are required to read different papers, watch different TV channels and switch between the only two radio stations (one private and one public) that produce news and programs, or opt for online media.

“Corporate journalism” as it is called in Bulgaria undermines the credibility of most media and creates distrust among journalists (perceived as followers of a particular media group). The economic crisis coupled with diminishing advertisement expenditures has affected most outlets. However, the two big media groups can keep covering losses in their media outlets since they generate profits in other business. Those who live off media business face serious challenges. In fact, reporters leave small quality publications for the better paid corporate journalism posts.

Last but not least, SEEMO has observed that Bulgarian journalists fail to address certain topics related to diversity: gender and gender violence, homophobia, ethnic and religious minorities, to mention several. These issues are addressed occasionally, if there is a particular incident, generally negative, that triggers coverage. Bulgarian society and the political arena have not started debating these social topics, which top the EU's policy agenda in other countries.

SEEMO Releases Report on Media Situation in Kosovo

Vienna, 25 April 2012

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), on Wednesday released its report on the media situation in Kosovo. A SEEMO-led press freedom mission delegation visited Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, from November 23 to 25 2011.

The delegation met: President Atifete Jahjaga; Prime Minister Hashim Thaci; International Civilian Representative Pieter Feith; Head of the OSCE Mission Werner Almhofer and more than 50 media representatives, including owners, directors, editors-in-chief, journalists, media experts, media NGO representatives, and other professionals.

The objective of the press freedom mission was to assess media developments in Kosovo, following reports of pressure on media. The Kosovo media landscape has changed dramatically during the past 20 years. As part of former Yugoslavia, Kosovo had only a few state-sponsored media and one state television. After the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the Kosovo media market expanded exponentially: numerous newspapers and television and radio channels have been created. They are currently competing to survive in the crisis-stricken market of 1, 8 million people.

The SEEMO Report Concludes:

The Kosovo media market is crowded with numerous print and electronic media that may not survive economic challenges.

Albanian and Serbian-language media reflect the divisions between Pristina and Belgrade related to the unresolved political status of Kosovo. Media communities have not contributed to reconciling Albanians and Serbs: with some exceptions, they usually address parallel issues of parallel societies. Most abstain from hate speech.

According to most interviewees, media outlets are subject to political and business pressure. In the case of the Albanian-language media, pressure stems from different sources, mainly the government and political parties, but also from business leaders and some international representatives. In the case of the Serbian-language media, pressures are divided: some stem from internal struggles, while others come from Belgrade political representatives. Serbian- language media that try to overcome these divisions are also partially isolated from mainstream society: most Serbian journalists do not speak Albanian.

The common features of Kosovo journalism are low professional standards, high turnover, economic challenges, an absence of investigative reporting and a silencing of sensitive issues. Low wages and a frequent absence of regular contracts undermine reporters’ independence.

The lack of democratic traditions, as well as the lack of understanding of the role of independent media, combined with general fear of expressing one’s opinion, curtail the efforts of those reporters who try to conduct professional investigations.

Some attacks on journalists occur because of the lack of understanding of their role. In that respect, government and its institutions have failed to communicate properly, and/or train different officials as to the rights of access to information.

On the other hand, different international agencies that have played a crucial role in fostering the establishment of the legal basis for the functioning of independent media, are presently perceived as supporters of institutions rather than promoters of freedom of expression.

The process of democratisation is a long-term project and international pressure and influence cannot be substitute for the political will of the local authorities to transform their democratic rhetoric into concrete actions.

The SEEMO report recommends:

To Kosovo Media Professionals: Strengthen professional organisations capable of defending and promoting journalists’ rights; encourage journalists’ training and workshops; support investigative and quality reporting; respect professional standards and promote multiculturalism and diversity.

To Kosovo Authorities: Guarantee freedom of expression through actions rather than declarations; implement the law on public broadcasting and ensure that Radio Television Kosovo ( RTK) functions as a public rather than a state broadcaster; decriminalise defamation and libel; improve and professionalise the communication departments of ministries and other public institutions; organise capacity building for civil servants and explain the role of media in democratic societies; implement and respect all media-related laws; and abstain from pressuring the media, directly or indirectly.

To the International Community: Monitor and ensure that government fulfils all of its obligations related to respect for freedom of expression and media freedom; monitor and ensure that all media-related laws are implemented; abstain from pressuring the media, and organise training and workshops for journalists as a long-term project, respecting local necessities.

Link to the full report: http://seemo.org/files/Report%20on%20SEEMO%20Mission%20to%20Kosovo%202011.pdf

SEEMO Delegation to Visit Bulgaria from 2-3 April 2012

Vienna, 25 March 2012

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), will visit Bulgaria from 2 to 3 April 2012.

The purpose of the visit to is to acquire a better understanding of the media situation in the country. In recent years, SEEMO has received complaints regarding pressure on media outlets. In addition, as SEEMO has reported, there have been physical attacks on journalists and media property.

SEEMO, a leading regional media organisation of editors-in-chief, media owners, media CEOs and prominent journalists in South, East and Central Europe, defends press freedom and promotes quality journalism.

The seven-member delegation will meet Minister of the Interior Tzvetan Tzvetanov and more than 25 media representatives including owners, directors, editors-in chief, journalists, media experts, NGO representatives, and other professionals.

The head of the mission is Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.

SEEMO Releases Report on Media Situation in Montenegro

Vienna, 28 Februar 2012

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), released on 28 February 2012 a report on the media situation in Montenegro. SEEMO conducted a press freedom mission to Podgorica, the country’s capital, from 8 to 10 November 2011.

The delegation met Prime Minister Igor Luksic, Deputy Minister of Culture Zeljko Rutovic; Director of the Police Department Veselin Veljovic; Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro Ambassador Leopold Maurer and Press and Media Officer Dragan Mugosa; Head of the Political and Public Information Unit, OSCE Mission to Montenegro, Alyn Roberts and Media Programme Manager Radka Betcheva; and more than 30 media representatives including owners, directors, editors-in-chief, journalists, media experts, media NGO representatives, and other professionals.

The objective of the press freedom mission was to assess the media situation in Montenegro following several developments: a) the introduction of new media-related laws, including decriminalisation of defamation and libel; b) follow-up of the activities related to attacks on journalists, including the 2004 assassination of Dusko Jovanovic, editor-in-chief of the daily Dan; c) fact-finding about pressures on media; and e) evaluation of the steps taken towards the establishment of self-regulatory bodies.

Conclusions

Until December 2010, when Igor Luksic was appointed prime minister, Milo Djukanovic defined both the political and the media scene in Montenegro: media supported or criticised him; he publicly spoke of media he disliked. The current prime minister has adopted friendlier rhetoric. During the meeting with the SEEMO delegation, he expressed full commitment to respecting media freedom.

Different media-related laws have been adopted, in line with international standards, the government has assisted media survival by directly or indirectly bailing out both electronic and print media, and respect for media freedom is high on the agenda. However, media laws have to be properly implemented, institutional capacities have to be built, and above all, the government needs to make an extra effort in order to gain credibility among media representatives. Last but not least, access to information has to be improved: sometimes it is too slow.

Most journalists and editors interviewed by the SEEMO delegation consider that political and business pressure is a major threat to media freedom.

In a country with 620,000 inhabitants and with one media unit per 4,700 inhabitants, economic survival of media outlets is not easy: some depend on government or municipal subsidies, others on government - sponsored advertisements and on dwindling commercial advertising.

Survival is not guaranteed and competition is fierce. In order to gain market share, media outlets attack other media outlets by publishing allegedly incriminating information that is often difficult to substantiate, including personal attacks exchanged publicly by media owners and representatives. Investigative reporting is scarce, information is not always checked, and many journalists lack steady jobs. There is no censorship, but content is determined by financiers, media owners and their business interests and/or political views, powerful individuals or fear of reprisals.

The number of major media players in Montenegro is not as elevated as the number of officially registered media outlets. Owners, editors and journalists know each other well: their personal relations, rivalries and animosities influence the media environment. Editors and journalists have been unable to form credible professional institutions: self-regulatory bodies, unions and associations.

Quality journalism is scarce: virtually all SEEMO interlocutors agreed that professional standards were low and the ethical code was frequently breached. The right of the public to receive fair, well-checked and reliable information has not been respected.

Recommendations:

1. Laws should be fairly and impartially implemented;

2. Political pressure on the media should stop;

3. The Government and its institutions must gain credibility. If most media professionals perceive political pressure as a major threat to free media, authorities on all levels must step up efforts to gain confidence. The media must do its part to gain credibility, as well.

4. All outstanding cases of attacks against journalists and media property must be resolved. By finding and prosecuting all the perpetrators, the Government would be demonstrating that it cares about media freedom and that it is committed to respecting a free media environment. In other words, it would demonstrate that democratic rhetoric is not a facade that camouflages political practices of the past.

To Media and Media Professionals in Montenegro:

1. Media and individual journalists should cease their public wars, mutual accusations and finger-pointing. By breaching ethical codes of conduct, they undermine their own credibility. Market share should not be acquired through unethical practices and violation of professional standards. They should place the public’s right to information above their right to insult each other.

2. Creation of a self-regulatory body would be a step in the right direction, although it is not clear if the establishment of parallel regulatory bodies would overcome the current divisions.

3. Professional training and the education of journalists must be strengthened at all levels: the public deserves credible and verified information.

To the European Commission and the OSCE:

The international community must keep up the pressure on Podgorica. Montenegro aspires to join the EU and must therefore abide by the rules. The international community should use all of its instruments in order to ensure that laws are not only changed but also implemented. It should engage in further capacity building of different institutions. After all, learning democratic procedures is a process.

REPORT ON THE SEEMO PRESS FREEDOM MISSION TO MONTENEGRO

SEEMO To Inaugurate New Country-Specific Press Freedom Websites

Vienna, 27 Februar 2012

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), will, in cooperation with different partners, expand a number of press freedom websites dedicated to monitoring media developments in specific countries. Currently, SEEMO runs websites on press freedom issues in Belarus, Hungary, Macedonia and Turkey.

Due to the success of the already-existing websites, SEEMO will create press freedom websites dedicated to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Ukraine. SEEMO, together with IPI, monitors media developments in all the above-mentioned countries and territories. The web project is expected to be completed by September 2012.

Country-specific websites contain an array of information sources in English: news, exclusive monthly reports, legal and political analyses, and local and international initiatives in support of press freedom. They follow political events and debates in each country and include links to information and analysis from governments, as well as human rights organisations specialised in press freedom. Further, they include links to media coverage, expert opinions, press-freedom mission reports and other updated information drawn up by SEEMO, governments, and multilateral, professional and human rights organisations focused on press freedom.

SEEMO's country-specific websites are designed for specialists and a public at large interested in acquiring updated and in-depth knowledge of media issues and press freedom.

"I am happy that the SEEMO websites have generated such high interest, said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. "This indicates that there is a need to have comprehensive information in one place."

SEEMO/IPI Press Freedom Mission to Croatia from 25-28 January 2011

Vienna, 25 Januar 2011

A delegation of the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), including representatives from the International Press Institute (IPI), will begin a four-day Press Freedom Mission to Croatia on 25 January 2011.

During their visit, the Press Freedom Mission will meet with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, as well as a broad array of representatives of media professionals.

Self-censorship, pressure by advertisers and political groups, threats against journalists, especially investigative reporters, the situation of the public broadcaster, and other problems media professionals face in their daily work are the topics high on the agenda.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic, who will lead the Press Freedom Mission, said: "The main aim is to obtain clear feedback about the media situation and media developments in Croatia."

Vujovic added: "Croatia, which is on its way towards the EU, must provide a positive example with regard to media developments and journalist professionalism, and this is the message we want to set during our visit".

IPI Acting Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said: "As Croatia prepares for EU accession, the International Press Institute (IPI) is hopeful that this mission is the beginning of a strong relationship with the media and government stakeholders in the country."

SEEMO Announces its 2011 Activities Calendar: Conferences, Workshops, Media Freedom Missions, Publications and Awards

Vienna, 13 April 2011

The South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), has announced its planned events and activities for 2011:

21 April 2011: Deadline for submitting entries for the Beta News Agency Photograph of the Year Award and SEEMO Human Rights Photo Award.

16 - 20 May 2011: SEEMO Istanbul Media Days, Istanbul, Turkey. The event is organised by SEEMO and Bilgi University (Istanbul, Turkey) in cooperation with the Department of Communication of the University of Vienna, Austria.

19 May 2011: Presentation of the SEEMO Human Rights Photo Awards at the New Moment Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia.
25 May 2011: Deadline for submitting nominations for the 2011 Dr. Erhard Busek SEEMO Award for Better Understanding. The call for competition opened on 22 March 2011.

26 - 27 May 2011: Workshop on Public Relations and Media, Ljubljana, Slovenia. The workshop is organised by the South East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO), International Media Centre-Slovenia and Vienna-based SEEMO, in cooperation with the Central European Initiative and the City of Ljubljana.

27-30 June 2011: II South, East and Central Europe Investigative Journalism Days, Belgrade, Serbia. The workshop is supported by the Austrian Development Agency.

5 -9 September 2011: SEEMO Press Freedom Mission to Montenegro.

1 September 2011: Deadline for submitting nominations for the 2011 Central European Initiative (CEI) - SEEMO Award for Investigative Journalism. Call for nominations starts in June.
10-14 October 2011: SEEMO Regional Conference on Media, Gender and Minorities, Tirana, Albania. In cooperation with the Austrian Development Agency.

28 October 2011: Presentation of the 2011 Dr. Erhard Busek SEEMO 2011 Award for Better Understanding. The ceremony takes place in Vienna, Austria.

10-11 November 2011: V South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF). Location to be announced. Presentation of the 2011 CEI- SEEMO Investigative Journalism Award.

20 -22 November 2011: SEEMO Press Freedom Mission to Kosovo.

24 -25 November 2011: News Agencies, New and Old Media in South East and Central Europe, SEEMO regional conference, Pristina, Kosovo. In cooperation with the Austrian Development Agency.

5-9 December 2011: SEEMO Press Freedom Mission to Serbia.

10 December 2011: Presentation of the SEEMO Human Rights Award.

SEEMO regular publications:

South, East and Central Europe Media Handbook includes information and media contacts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Annual publication since 2003, the Handbook - in both print copy and, more recently online form- have been supported by the Central European Initiative, Austria´s Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and the Erste Foundation.

De Scripto magazine - four issues per year - is published in cooperation with the University of Vienna. In 2011, De Scripto will focus on Bulgaria, Istanbul Media Days, Kosovo and Slovenia. The issue dedicated to Slovenia will include a special report on the recently inaugurated International Media Center in Portoroz. Each issue is produced in collaboration with a local university.

Additional publications and events will be announced in due time. For any additional information on SEEMO activities, conferences, publications and events, please contact: info@seemo.org

First Istanbul Media Days to Take Place from 16 to 20 May 2011

Vienna, 09 May 2011

The Istanbul Media Days is the first multidisciplinary media event designed for students, journalists and the public at large. From 2011 onwards, it will be held annually in Istanbul, Turkey. This event will address the diverse challenges facing contemporary media and provide a platform for debate and the exchange of experiences.

The First Istanbul Media Days, scheduled to take place from 16 to 20 May 2011, is organised by the Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO); Faculty of Communication, Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey; Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft, Vienna University, Vienna, Austria; Austria Kulturforum in Istanbul and Turkish Committee of the International Press Institute (IPI).

Influential Turkish and international media experts, journalists, business and NGO representatives will deliver speeches, followed by discussions.

In addition to the Second Istanbul Media Days, to be held in 2012, SEEMO will initiate similar projects with other universities and partners. The First Belgrade Media Days, scheduled for 2012, will take place in Belgrade, Serbia, in cooperation with the Singidunum University.

For further information, details and to register, please contact info@seemo.org or visit the website: www.istanbulmediadays.org

South East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO) celebrates its First Conference in Ljubljana on 26 and 27 May 2011

Vienna, 20 May 2011

The first conference of the South East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO) will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 26 and 27 May 2011. It will focus on the Future of Public Relations and the Media Business, including PR Education and PR Networking.

SECEPRO is an independent, non-profit network of media experts and PR professionals in South, East and Central Europe.

Founded in cooperation with the Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), SECEPRO is the only PR platform in the region. It aims is to facilitate collaboration and exchange among journalists and public relations, advertising and marketing agencies.

The first SECEPRO conference is organized in cooperation with the Trieste-based Central European Initiative (CEI), SEEMO and the International Media Center-Slovenia, based in Portoroz.

The event is expected to attract numerous professionals from the region. Zoran Jankovic, the mayor of the city Ljubljana, will inaugurate the event with a welcome dinner for all the participants.

Samra Luckin, the director of BORAM, a PR agency from Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina, Mitja Mesol from the International Media Center-Slovenia, and Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, will chair the conference.

Introductory speeches will be delivered by Gordana Vilovic from the University of Zagreb, Thomas Bauer from the University of Vienna, and Marko Milosavljevic from the University of Ljubljana.

SEEMO Announces 2nd South, Central and East Europe Investigative Journalism Days - 27-29 June 2011, Belgrade, Serbia

Vienna, 27 June 2011

The Vienna-based South East Europe Organisation (SEEMO), supported by the Austrian Cooperation Eastern Europe - Austrian Development Agency, and in cooperation with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Serbia, the International Press Institute (IPI) and the International News Safety Institute (INSI), announces its annual meeting of journalists dedicated to investigative journalism: The 2nd South, Central and East Europe Investigative Journalism Days.

The 2nd South, Central and East Europe Investigative Journalism Days will take place in Belgrade, Serbia, from 27 to 29 June 2011, and will focus on corruption.

The Conference will cover a variety of topics related to investigating corruption, personal security, reporting on extremist politicians - as well as a training session.

Speakers include prominent international journalists and media experts who have firsthand experience in investigative reporting, both on the international and local level. SEEMO registered more than 120 participants.

Serbia´s president Boris Tadic will address the conference on 29 June 2011.

For additional information, contact krasi@seemo.org or kristina@seemo.org
AGENDA

SEEMO Delegation to Visit Skopje from 4-6 October

Vienna, 30 September 2011

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), will visit the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) from 4-6 October 2011.

The purpose of the visit to is to acquire a better understanding of the media situation in the country. During the past years, and especially since the beginning of 2011, SEEMO has received complaints regarding political and economic pressure on media outlets.

SEEMO, a leading regional media organisation of editors-in-chief, media owners, media CEOs and prominent journalists in South, East and Central Europe, defends press freedom and promotes quality journalism.

The seven-member delegation will meet the country´s President, Gjorge Ivanov; Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his team; the Head of the OSCE Mission, Ralf Breth; Austrian Ambassador Alois Kraut; and more than 30 media representatives including owners, directors, editors-in chief, journalists, media experts, NGO representatives, and other professionals.

The head of the SEEMO delegation is Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.

SEEMO will publish a report after the mission.

V South East Europe Media Forum Media Pluralism and Media Business in South, East and Central Europe 2-3 November 2011, Belgrade Serbia

Vienna, 28 Ostober 2011

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), the Central European Initiative (CEI) from Trieste, Italy, and the Media Program South East Europe of Germany’s Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) are pleased to announce the V South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) in Belgrade, Serbia, from 2 to 3 November 2011. This year’s forum will analyse problems and perspectives of media pluralism, media market and business models in the region.

The conference will be inaugurated by Serbia’s prime minister, Mirko Cvetkovic.

During the two-day conference, to be attended by more than 200 participants from 20 countries, Polish journalist Kalicki Wlodzmierz will be presented with the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism 2011. Special investigative journalism diplomas will be given to Artan Hoxha (Albania), Dijana Suboticki (Serbia), and Matej Surc and Blaz Zgaga (Slovenia).

SEEMF aims to promote exchanges and networking among media executives and leading journalists in the region. Previous SEEMF events took place in Zagreb (2007); Sofia (2008); Tirana (2009); and Budapest (2010).

In addition to SEEMO, CEI and KAS, the partners for the V SEEMF are: The European Broadcasting Union (EBU); the OSCE Mission to Serbia; the South, East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO); the International Media Center; and Raiffeisen Bank International.

more on www.seemf.org

SEEMO Delegation to Visit Montenegro 8-10 November 2011

Vienna, 11 November 2011

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), will visit Montenegro from 8 to 10 November 2011.

The purpose of the visit to is to acquire a better understanding of the media situation in the country. During the past years, SEEMO has received complaints regarding political and economic pressure on media outlets.

SEEMO, a leading regional media organisation of editors-in-chief, media owners, media CEOs and prominent journalists in South, East and Central Europe, defends press freedom and promotes quality journalism.

The seven-member delegation will meet Prime Minister Igor Luksic, Deputy Minister of Culture Zeljko Rutovic, Ambassador Leopold Maurer, head of the EU delegation to Montenegro, and Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission Ms. Waldemar Figaj. In addition, the delegation will meet more than 30 media representatives including owners, directors, editors-in chief, journalists, media experts, NGO representatives, and other professionals.

The head of the SEEMO delegation is Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.

SEEMO will publish a report after the mission.

SEEMO ADA Conference, 14-16 September 2010 Vienna and other SEEMO Activities

Vienna, 22 July 2010

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East and Central Europe is pleased to announce the DialogueConference Media in South East and Central Europe and EU: Hate Speech and Stereotypes in the Media, Role of Media in Conflicts and War, Professional Standards and Education of Journalists, which will be held in Vienna, Austria, from 14 - 16 September 2010.

The Conference is being organised by SEEMO in cooperation with the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) - Austrian Development Agency (ADA). SEEMO is expecting over 70 leading media professionals as participants that will have the opportunity to take part on 14 September on a one day gathering in Bratislava, and than on 15 and 16 September in Vienna. In cooperation with long year SEEMO partner Erste Foundation (Erste Stiftung) a reception-dinner will be organised on Wednesday 15 September 2010 in the evening. One of the confirmed speakers of the SEEMO conference is Erhard Busek, Jean Monnet Professor ad personam, President of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe, Coordinator of SECI - Southeast European Cooperative Initiative, Former Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and President of the European Forum Alpbach.

"This is an important gathering for exchanging experiences amongst the leading media professionals in South East and Central Europe" pointed outBoris Bergant, former European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Vice President, former RTV Slovenija Deputy Director and SEEMO Board President.

SEEMO Board Member Marta Palics from Novi Sad, Serbia, said: "Hate speech is a reality in the region, the war in the nineties brought a lot of unprofessional behaviours in the media scene in former Yugoslavia. It is vital for SEEMO to follow up this topic."

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic added: "SEEMO organised a similar conference in Vienna in 2006 and it is very important that media professionals from the region are meeting again in Vienna. The fact that the meeting is going to be held in the city where the headquarters of SEEMO is located, is of particular importance for our organisation."

This Vienna DialogueConference SEEMO is preparing after it organised in May this year very successful the First South East and Central Europe Investigative Journalism Days in Montenegro. At the end of this year, on 2 and 3 December 2010, SEEMO will organise together with Konrad Adaneur Stiftung (KAS) and the German publishing group WAZ Medien Gruppe the IV South East Europe Media Forum in Budapest with topic Access to Information - Sources for Investigative Journalists. All this activities are happen in the year when SEEMO is celebrating 10 years of work. Since 2000, SEEMO has brought together, in various meetings, over 9,800 editors-in-chief, media executives, leading journalists and public persons from the region. Additional to that SEEMO is finishing in this year the Handbook for Investigative Journalist, as also the 2010 edition of the SEEMO South East and Central Europe Media Handbook, that should be published in to Volumes on over 2500 pages. During this jubilee year SEEMO is also working on the publications Women, Men and Media and Media, Marketing and Business, and on the regular editions of its media magazine De Scripto SEEMO will continue in 2010 with publishing new books in its edition Leading Investigative Journalists.

IV South East Europe Media Forum To Be Held from 2 - 3 December 2010 in Budapest, Hungary

Vienna, 01 Decembar 2010

The WAZ Media Group, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation (KAS) and the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), in cooperation with the Central European Initiative (CEI) and Access Info and together with local partners Pannon Lapok Tarsasaga, HVG, the Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe (N-Ost), Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) and Fuggetlen Mediakozpont (Center for Independent Journalism) are pleased to announce the IV South East Europe Media Forum (SEE Media Forum), which will bring together media CEOs, editors-in-chief, leading investigative journalists, business professionals, governmental representatives, CEOs from companies active in South East and Central Europe and representatives of NGOs. The IV SEE Media Forum, centered around the topic "Access to Information - Sources for Investigative Journalists", is scheduled to take place from 2 - 3 December 2010 in Budapest, Hungary. László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary will open the Forum.

Welcome speeches will be given by Srgjan Kerim, President of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly and special envoy for political affairs of the WAZ Media Group, Frank Spengler, Deputy Head of the European and International Cooperation Department of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Gerhard Pfanzelter, Secretary General of Central European Initiative (CEI), and Oliver Vujovic, Secretary General of the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO).

After the opening, a roundtable between journalists and experts on the hot media topic of WikiLeaks will be held.

Other panels at this year's SEE Media Forum are: "Tools for Investigative Journalism"; "Media NGOs and Access To Information"; "Access to Information - Regional Experience"; "Access To Information - International Experience"; "Transparency of Media Ownership and Public Information"; and "Coming To Terms with The Past - Accessibility of Secret Archives".

More than 250 media professionals are expected to take part. A welcome reception will be organised in cooperation with Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI). During the SEE Media Forum the annual CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism as well as the annual WAZ-IFJ (International Federation of Journalists) Courage Award will be presented and awarded to outstanding investigative journalists.

The WAZ Media Group and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) will present the team of Hungarian authors Jozsef Gelei (50) and Laszlo Muranyi (54) with the "WAZ-IFJ Prize for Courage in Journalism 2010". The sponsors will award Croatian journalist Hrvoje Slabek (38) a second-place distinction. The jury has decided to split the prize, which is being announced for the second time.

The Central European Initiative (CEI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) will present to Adrian Mogos from Romania the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism 2010, along with a 'special mention' for Iryna Khalip from Belarus and Lydia Pavlova from Bulgaria for their valuable contribution to investigative journalism in their countries.

In addition to the working sessions, the two-day forum offers a unique opportunity to meet leading professionals for an open discussion about media, investigative journalism and access to information in South East and Central Europe.

The South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) is a joint project by the WAZ Media Group, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation (KAS) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO). The first SEEMF was held in 2007 in Zagreb, Croatia; more than 150 participants took part. The second SEEMF was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2008, with more than 250 participants. The third SEEMF was held in 2009 in Tirana, Albania; about 300 participants attended.

Registration for the event remains open. For further information and registration forms for the SEE Media Forum, please contact Ms. Krasimira Plachetzky at the SEEMO office in Vienna (E-mail: krasi@seemo.org ) or Mr. Sandor Orban in Budapest (E-mail: SEEMF2010Budapest@cij.hu )

Joint IPI/SEEMO Fact-finding Mission to Hungary To Be Held 15-16 December2010

Vienna, 14 Decembar 2010

The International Press Institute (IPI) and its affiliate, the South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), will hold a press freedom fact-finding mission to Hungary on 15-16 December 2010.

The mission participants will be: SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Board Member Marta Palics, and IPI Press Freedom and Communications Manager Anthony Mills. They will be a meeting with a broad array of journalists and state officials.

The mission comes at a particularly worrying time for press freedom in Hungary.

In early December, several Hungarian newspapers published blank front pages to protest against legislation which they warn curtails press freedom. In recent months, IPI and SEEMO have also expressed concern at legislative efforts - described by the ruling party as necessary media reform - to limit press freedom in Hungary.

Legislation currently being discussed in parliament envisages granting the official media watchdog the power to levy sizeable fines on private media outlets, and to sanction media outlets for "unbalanced coverage" and transgressions against the rules on covering "sex, violence or alcohol," according to the BBC.

The government has argued that the law will guarantee a more balanced media, the BBC noted.

The BBC also reported that if the legislation currently under discussion passes media outlets will have to devote at least 50% of programming to European productions and radio stations will have to fill at least a quarter of their air time with Hungarian music.

In addition, the bill contains a proposal to allow the newly-created Media Council - all of whose members are government nominees - to hand down fines which must be paid before they can be appealed. Since the fines could total tens of thousands of Euros, some media outlets could face financial threats to their existence.

Parliament has been debating the bill - which enjoys overwhelming support from centre-right government parties - for the past few days, and is expected to pass it any day now.

In November, Hungary's parliament passed legislation ostensibly aimed at promoting press freedom but which in fact allows for journalists to be forced to give up their confidential sources in cases involving vaguely-defined 'national security'.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said: "For the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) this visit is very important. We aim to obtain clear feedback from media and state representatives about the media situation, problems, and developments in Hungary."

IPI Press Freedom and Communications Manager Anthony Mills said: "We have in recent months repeatedly expressed our concern at the deteriorating press freedom situation in Hungary. The legislation currently being discussed in parliament is further evidence of an attempt to limit the scope of press freedom in the country. That's why missions like this are so important."

****For further information, please contact:

Mirjana Milosevic SEEMO Press Freedom Coordinator South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) E-mail: info@seemo.org Web: www.seemo.org

SEEMO Announces New Board President, Offers Support to Detained Iranian Blogger

Vienna, 13 November 2009

SEEMO is glad to announce that during the SEEMO Board Meeting Boris Bergant, former European Broadcasting Union (EBU) President and former Deputy Director of RTV Slovenia, was elected as the new President of the SEEMO Board. Zrinka Vrabec Mojzes was appointed as Deputy President, Radomir Licina, former Board President, will be a Board Member with special responsibility for all SEEMO publications; Pavol Mudry will be in charge of the organisation and funding; Agron Bajrami will be in charge of monitoring activities; Milena Dimitrova will be in charge of press freedom and ethics; and Marta Palics will be responsible for regional cooperation.

During the board meeting, Milena Dimitrova from Bulgaria acquired, according to the results of the SEEMO election in 2006, the function of SEEMO Board Member, instead of Jorgos Papadakis from Greece. The SEEMO Board and SEEMO Secretary-General Oliver Vujovic would like to thank Papadakis for his contribution and all his efforts in recent years as a member of the SEEMO Board. The SEEMO Board and the SEEMO Secretary-General also express a special thank you to Radomir Licina, who was SEEMO Board President from 2002 to 2009, and who did a great job of representing SEEMO over all of the past years.

Another outcome of the SEEMO Board Meeting was a call for regular elections in all SEEMO countries for new Coordinators / Chiefs of the Offices. The elections should take place within six months following the SEEMO Board Meeting. The election will be coordinated by the SEEMO Secretariat in Vienna in cooperation with all SEEMO members in the region.

During its board meeting the SEEMO Board offered special support to Fariba Pajooh, a young Iranian blogger and journalist. On 22 August 2009, Pajooh was arrested at her parents' house in Teheran. SEEMO supports the liberation of Pajooh and hopes that the authorities in Teheran will free her as a positive signal.

SEEMO is proud to announce the continuation of cooperation with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) until 2012. As a first activity under the new contract, SEEMO is organising the conference Women, Men and Media in Sarajevo from 13-16 December 2009. The next conference, as part of this cooperation, will be the South East Europe Investigative Journalism Forum, a regional meeting of investigative journalists in Montenegro, in May 2010.

SEEMO would hereby like to use this opportunity to also announce its press freedom mission to Serbia. This SEEMO-IPI mission, led by SEEMO Secretary-General Oliver Vujovic and organised in cooperation with the OSCE, will take place from 1 - 3 December 2009. During the visit to Serbia, the mission members will meet different media and political representatives.

SEEMO is also continuing its publishing activities. The new, 2009 edition of the SEEMO South East and Central Europe Media Handbook will be published by the end of November 2009, with the support of regular SEEMO partners: the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Central European Initiative (CEI) and Erste Foundation. After publishing the book, the SEEMO staff will immediately start with the preparation for the 2010 issue. Additionally, a new edition of SEEMO's quarterly De Scripto magazine was published. This number was in cooperation between the University of Vienna and the University of Athens. The next issue of De Scripto magazine will be focused on public broadcasting and will be published by the end of 2009.

Finally, SEEMO is glad to note that on 4 - 5 November 2009 the third South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) was successfully held in Tirana, Albania. The topic of this year's SEEMF, which was opened by Albanian President Bamir Topi, was Media, Marketing, Business and New Media. The third SEEMF registered a record number of more than 350 participants from the entire South East and Central European region and was organised in traditional partnership between SEEMO, WAZ Medien Gruppe, and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS). Local partners included Albania Tring Digital, Tring Communications, the Albanian Media Institute and Vizion +. SEEMO is preparing with its partner the fourth SEEMF which should take place in the second half of 2010.

SEEMO / IPI Press Freedom Mission in Serbia from 1- 3 December 2009

Vienna, 30 November 2009

A delegation of representatives from the South East European Media Organisation (SEEMO) and the International Press Institute (IPI), along with delegates from the office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, will begin a three-day press freedom mission in Serbia on 1 December 2009.

During the visit, the delegation will meet with Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, Minister of Culture Nebojsa Bradic and the Justice Ministry's Secretary General, Slobodan Homen, as well as other government officials, representatives of journalists' and publishers' associations and media professionals.

The general situation of media in Serbia is that there continues to be verbal and physical attacks on media professionals, especially in the field of investigative reporting, and legal and administrative measures are often imposed. These issues, as well as the unsolved cases of murders of journalists, are topics high on the agenda.
"An open media environment plays a crucial role in any democratic society. Investigative reporting on corruption and crime and media dedicated to minorities and diversity play an important role in the democratic process. Media professionals should have the right to report freely without any fear for harassment, intimidation and, moreover, without paying with their own lives in certain cases," said SEEMO Secretary General, Oliver Vujovic, who is heading the press freedom mission. He added: "Thanks to the assistance of the OSCE we will have an opportunity to learn about both the positive and negative aspects of the current situation in the Serbian media."

Upcoming SEEMO Events and Publications

Vienna, 23 September 2008

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), would like to announce the following upcoming SEEMO events and publications.

The II South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) in Sofia, Bulgaria The topic of the II SEEMF is “Media and Democracy in South East Europe: Professional Standards and Education of Journalists.” The II SEEMF will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 5-6 November 2008. This annual event is organised by the WAZ Medien Gruppe, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), and SEEMO. The local partners of this year’s SEEMF are the Newspaper Group Bulgaria and the Media Development Centre, Sofia. Over 150 participants are expected, including editors-in-chief, media executives, and representatives from media education centres and university schools of media and communication in South East and Central Europe.

Presentation of the VI Dr. Erhard Busek - SEEMO Media Award for Better Understanding in South East Europe

The VI Dr. Erhard Busek - SEEMO Media Award will be presented in Vienna on 16 November 2008 by Dr. Erhard Busek, former Vice-Chancellor of Austria, Coordinator of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), Chairman of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (IDM) and President of the European Forum Alpbach, and by Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General.

SEEMO Conference: Public Services in South East and Central Europe

The SEEMO Conference on Public Services will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 9-11 December 2008. SEEMO is organising the conference in cooperation with Radio-Television (RTV) Slovenia and the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) – Austrian Development Agency (ADA). The directors of public services, representatives of regulatory agencies and media experts from South East Europe are expected to participate. This is the third conference organised this year by SEEMO and ADC-ADA. Two successful conferences were already held in Belgrade in June 2008: the conference on “Media, Marketing and Business” and the conference on “Private News Agencies in South East Europe”.

Presentation of the VI SEEMO Human Rights Award for Media Professionals in South East Europe

The VI SEEMO Human Rights Award for Media Professionals in SEE will be bestowed upon a media professional from South East Europe on 10 December 2008. The SEEMO Human Rights Award is presented annually on the occasion of International Human Rights Day.

Upcoming SEEMO Publications

In the coming weeks, a new edition of the media magazine De Scripto will be published by SEEMO. In addition, SEEMO will soon publish the “SEEMO Investigative Reporting Handbook”, a book on “Media and PR” and a book on “Media, Marketing and Business in South East Europe”. Furthermore, publications on “Public Broadcasting in South East Europe” and “Women, Men and Media” are in planning.

Finally, SEEMO would like to announce the publication in two volumes of the 2008 edition of the “South East and Central Europe Media Handbook” (“SEEMO Media Handbook”) in October 2008. The Media Handbook includes media reports and contact details of selected radio and TV stations, newspapers, magazines, media organisations, media schools, journalists’ organisations, and internet service providers and other new media from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Bulgaria. SEEMO publishes this book annually in cooperation with its partners, the Central European Initiative (CEI), the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, and the ERSTE Foundation.

SEEMO General Information

The current SEEMO staff members in Vienna are: Krasimira Plachetzky, SEEMO assistant; Sara di Pede, SEEMO assistant; Sladjana Matejevic, SEEMO conference and financial coordinator; Elva Hardarson, press freedom and fundraising coordinator and Selma Koric, coordinator De Scripto magazine.
The SEEMO Board members are: Radomir Licina (senior editor Danas daily, Belgrade), Agron Bajrami (editor-in-chief Koha Ditore daily, Pristina), Boris Bergant (deputy director RTV Slovenia, Ljubljana and EBU vice-president), Pavol Mudry (founder and board member, SITA news agency, Bratislava), Marta Palics (editor, RTV Novi Sad, Novi Sad), Jorgos Papadakis (journalist, Athens) and Zrinka Vrabec Mojzes (editor, Radio 101, Zagreb).
The SEEMO Coordinators are: Albania - Frrok Cupi (director, Agon newspaper, Tirana), Bulgaria - Ognian Zlatev (director, Media Development Center, Sofia), Bosnia Herzegovina - Samra Luckin (director, BORAM, Sarajevo), Croatia - Ante Gavranovic (former president of the Croatian Journalists Association (HND), Zagreb and of Croatian Publishers Association, Zagreb), Greece - Jorgos Papadakis, Moldova - Alina Radu (director, Ziarul de Garda newspaper, Chisinau), Romania - Marina Constantinoiu (editor-in- chief, Jurnalul National, Bucharest), Serbia - Veran Matic (editor-in-chief, Radio TV B92, Belgrade), Montenegro - Zeljko Ivanovic (director, Vijesti daily, Podgorica), Kosovo - Haqif Mulliqi (RTV Kosovo, Pristina), Ukraine - Aleksey Soldatenko (Programmes Director, International Institute for Regional Media and Information, Kharkiv).
The SEEMO Ethical Committee includes: Danko Plevnik (commentator, Slobodna Dalmacija daily,Split - Karlovac).

The SEEMO Advisers are: Hari Stajner (former director Media Center, Belgrade), Boro Kontic (director, Media Centar, Sarajevo), Donika Shahini (OSCE Media Department, Pristina) and Mitja Mersol (former editor-in-chief, Delo daily, Ljubljana).

SEEMO Dialogue South East Europe

Vienna, 14 July 2003

SEEMO Dialogue South East Europe

SEEMO would like to release information about the three very successful "Dialogue Conferences" it organised in the first half of 2003, which were sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs:

1. The meeting of editors-in-chief and media executives from Kosovo and Serbia, in Ohrid, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), from 7-9 May 2003, which was organized in cooperation with the OSCE Mission in Kosovo. This was a historical conference, since it was the first time that editors-in-chief, media managers and leading journalists from Kosovo and Serbia met. More than 100 participants came to the meeting, including editors-in-chief or CEO of all leading media in Serbia and Kosovo.

2. The meeting of editors-in-chief and media executives from Montenegro on 26 March 2003 in Podgorica, Montenegro, where more than 50 leading Montenegrin media representatives (editors-in-chief or CEO of all leading media in Montenegro) were present. It was a good opportunity to discuss the problems of media and media workers in Montenegro.

3. The meeting of editors-in-chief and media executives of Roma media from East and South East Europe on 2-3 July 2003, in Belgrade, Serbia, with more than 70 editors-in-chief or CEO of Roma media in the region of South East and Central Europe.

Also SEEMO would like to inform about a new book by Kemal Kurspahic, that was published by SEEMO. Together with the Media Centre in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and with financial help from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, SEEMO published in April 2003 the book, "Prime Time Crime", (in Bosnian), written by Kemal Kurspahic, former editor-in-chief of the daily Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo. SEEMO will also publish a Serbian edition of this Book with Dan Graf publishing group in Belgrade.

Dialogue Between Editors-in-Chief and Media Executives from Croatia and Serbia

Vienna, 19 October 2003

SEEMO Holds Dialogue Between Editors-in-Chief and Media Executives from Croatia and Serbia.

The Vienna based The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is pleased to announce the meeting of editors-in-chief and media executives from Croatia and Serbia, to be held in Opatija, Croatia, from 21-23 October 2003.

The conference, organised in cooperation with the International Center for Education of Journalists (ICEJ) from Opatija and with the financial support of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, is part of SEEMO South East Europe Dialogue Meetings.

The SEEMO Vienna office has registered over 90 participants from both Croatia and Serbia for the Opatija conference, as well as prominent international guests. This is the first meeting between such high-ranking media professionals from Croatia and Serbia since the war.

During 2002, in May and November, SEEMO organised dialogues between editors-in-chief and media executives from FYROM (Republic of Macedonia) in Ljubljana and Skopje.

In 2003 SEEMO organised numerous dialogues for the media: in March 2003, it organised the meeting of editors-in-chief and media executives from Montenegro in Podgorica; in May 2003, it organized the meeting of editors-in-chief and media executives from Serbia and Kosovo in Ohrid; and, in September 2003, it organized the meeting of editors-in-chief and media executives from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Vojvodina in Salzburg. In July 2003, SEEMO organized a dialogue between editors-in-chief and media executives of Roma Media in South East and Central Europe in Belgrade.

All of these meeting were successful and they were the first such high ranking media meetings to help foster better communications and the exchange of information among leading media professionals.

SEEMO and Journalists from the Balkan region request greater freedom of movement

Vienna, 17 October 2001

At the conference on "Borders and Minorities in Balkans", held on 6 October 2001 in Thessaloniki, under the auspices of the Greek newspaper "Makedonia", several important recommendations have been adopted, which were presented to the governments of the Balkan region and supported by SEEMO.

Participants attending the conference agreed to appeal to the governments in the region to take the necessary measures to facilitate the free flow of information, ideas and people across national borders within the Balkan region.

Specifically, it was requested:

- to make borders as much as possible open for free exchange of ideas and information;

- to allow the circulation of all regional printed media within the Balkan region;

- to allow journalists and scholars to exercise their profession without hindrance by ensuring that if there is a need to obtain visas, these are provided rapidly and without bureaucratic interference.

Furthermore, participants in the conference recommended that the governments and the local NGOs promote a regular and organized exchange of young people, especially students, thus offering the possibility to learn from and about each other.

Finally, professional journalist organizations were requested to foster discussions among journalists from the Balkan region about issues of interest for the region.

Leading journalists and editors from Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, FR Yugoslavia (including Kosovo), Greece, Macedonia and Turkey participated in Thessaloniki conference.

The SEEMO Print Media Commmittee supports the above mentioned recommendations and will use all necessary instruments to facilitate the free flow of information, ideas and people across national borders within South East Europe.

Radomir Licina

SEEMO Coordinator for Print Media

SEEMO Announces Media Award for Better Understanding

Vienna, 25 September 2001

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is pleased to announce the SEEMO Award for Better Understanding.

Sponsored by Dr. Erhard Busek, former Austrian vice chancellor, the 2.000- EUR award will be given to a journalist, editor or media executive in South East Europe, who, through the media, has promoted a climate of better understanding among peoples and worked toward ending minority problems, ethnic divisions, racism, xenophobia, etc.

If you know of any person who would be a worthy recipient of the SEEMO Award for Better Understanding, please contact SEEMO at:

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
SEEMO-IPI, Spiegelgasse 2/29
A-1010 Vienna
Austria
Tel: + 43 1 513 39 40, Fax: + 43 1 512 90 15
E-mail: seemo@freemedia.at
http://www.freemedia.at/seemo

The deadline for applications for the SEEMO Award for Better Understanding is: 1 February 2002.

SEEMO Missions, Visits and Meetings

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17 YEARS SEEMO - A CULTURE OF DIALOGUE FOR PRESS FREEDOM