“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.