Media for Citizens – Citizens for Media: Advancing MIL in the Western Balkans

Seven media development organizations in the Western Balkans have joined forces under an EU funded project ’Media for Citizens – Citizens for Media’ to build capacities of CSOs to advance media and information literacy (MIL) in the region.

The three-year project (2018-2020) is led by the Foundation ‘Mediacentar’ in Sarajevo, in partnership with: the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM), an umbrella gathering a number of media development organizations in SEE; Albanian Media Institute in Tirana; Macedonian Institute for Media in Skopje; Montenegro Media Institute in Podgorica; Novi Sad School of Journalism in Novi Sad, Serbia; and Peace Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The project target countries are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The information on all project activities, outputs and products will be featured on the project implementers’ websites and social media, as well as on the SEENPM websites www.seenpm.org and www.cimusee.org (and the related social media channels), the latter website focused on MIL and citizen participation in media monitoring.

The project consists of the following key activities:

  1. MIL RESEARCH AND INFORMED ADVOCACY
  • Research and mapping of MIL practices: Reports

Five country reports, each dealing with a project target country (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), will provide an in-depth insight into existing practices, policies, strategies, documents and activities of key stakeholders across the region. Main gaps and needs at country level will be identified and concrete examples of good practices analysed.

The regional publicaton will provide mapping of practices and a regional synthesis. A comparative overview and conclusions will take into account MIL developments in wider Europe to allow key stakeholders in target countries to learn, transfer or multiply good models, policies or practices. Specific recommendations for next steps in development or improvement of MIL strategies, policies and practices in target countries will be included.

  • Forming and facilitating national multi-stakeholder coalitions

Five national inter-sectorial MIL coalitions will be operating in the project target countries. Five country advocacy/strategy plans will be elaborated.

Coalitions will be established from inter-sectorial working groups at national level with interconnection between government bodies responsible for education, culture and media, technology etc. and with representatives from CSO sector, media, and IT sector.

Preparation of national MIL advocacy strategies and plans will be based on the findings of the MIL research (Activity 1.1).

Coalition members will hold meetings aiming at identifying advocacy priorities, drafting and finalizing short and long term MIL advocacy plans and coordinating their implementation.

  • Country specific MIL advocacy actions targeting the improvement of media and education policies

National advocacy campaigns will support the implementation of national advocacy plans. Each campaign will focus on the enhancement of cooperation between sectors and key stakeholders (public institutions, CSOs, IT sector and media) and will seek to promote best practices and successful experiences from the region and EU in advocating for or recommending policy changes and system solutions.

A series of activities will be organized, such as:

  • working meetings with and presentations to key stakeholders,
  • public debates on the importance of MIL for freedom of expression and media freedom,
  • expert round tables,
  • targeted media campaigns,
  • policy analyses and recommendations,
  • initiatives for systemic changes in a form of policy papers.
  1. CAPACITY BUILDING AND NETWORKING FOR CSOs AT REGIONAL/LOCAL LEVEL
  • Event ‘Media and Information Literacy Regional Screenshot’

The one-day event will gather some 50 participants in Novi Sad, Serbia,  to get  an in depth look into existing MIL activities, initiatives and strategies in the Western Balkan region and to conduct a regional exchange on how to advance MIL.

The participants will include: activists/experts, representatives of key identified stakeholders from target countries, including Kosovo and EU members Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, practitioners and decision makers.

Key findings and recommendations from the country MIL research (Activity 1.1) will be discussed with key stakeholders to create valuable inputs for elaboration of final recommendations to policy and decision makers, presented in the regional publication (Activity 1.1).

  • Regional Media and Information Literacy Summer Festival

The event will gather some 150 participants in Ohrid, Macedonia, and provide a common platform for educational professionals (teachers, experts), CSOs active in media, education and media literacy fields, IT experts, media professionals and academics, students of journalism and other sciences to exchange knowledge and practice regarding creative IT-based MIL solutions.

The Festival will introduce innovative methods for promoting, teaching & learning MIL, focusing on the use of digital technologies and tools.

It will feature educational workshops, expert panel discussions, networking sessions presented by leading regional and EU based experts in the field.

Up to 5 small scale initiatives using digital technologies in promoting MIL in the region will be designed and implemented on the ground in cooperation with CSO partners.

  • Train the trainers for CSOs – building capacities for the development of MIL actions and programmes within CSOs

This activity contributes to capacity building for CSOs active in media and education to integrate MIL into own operations.

The project will create a regional pool of 50 MIL trainers capable of supporting other CSOs and assisting beneficiaries of this project’s sub-granting schemes in increasing capacities for implementation of MIL promotion in the project target countries.

Selected EU/SEE experts will develop materials and implement a 2-day workshop in each target country.

An online training manual for MIL education in national languages will be published.

  • MIL capacity building for CSOs working with media, education and creative industries to support advancement of MIL and reach out to target groups

Each of 50 trained MIL trainers will conduct one-day workshops for local CSOs active in the field of education and media using the manual and materials produced under Activity 2.3.

Approximately 370 participants will be trained in 25 workshops.

The focus will be on CSOs working with specific target groups: youth, elderly, ethnic groups, who express interest in advancing MIL in own operations.

Workshops aim at increasing capacities in understanding MIL and its importance for media freedom. CSOs will have the opportunity to learn about main MIL concepts, their role in promoting MIL; MIL teaching techniques in schools; digital tools used for advancing MIL among different target groups; creative approaches to MIL public presentations.

  1. MIL SUB-GRANTING FOR CSOs

 Up to 40 MIL initiatives total of the local CSOs will be sub-granted in the project target countries.

The sub-granting scheme is aimed at strengthening capacities of local CSOs engaged in media and education to mobilise local actors, IT and creative industry to reach out to different target groups, raise awareness and educate about MIL and its importance.

  1. MIL OUTREACH TO CITIZENS

4.1. Civic (non-profit) media engagement in awareness raising campaigns for citizens

 The activity envisages 10 online campaigns, and at least 10 civic (non-profit) media engaged as media partners.

This activity will help actively engage journalists, teachers and citizens into raising awareness about MIL and media freedom fight by making them the main protagonists.

Prominent journalists from CSO, non-profit media; students, parents, elderly citizens, and school teachers will share their views about MIL – what they think it is, why it matters, how they see it, and why they think it is important for strengthening media freedom and integrity in the region.

Special attention will be given to diversity in media and MIL challenges for vulnerable groups.

4.2 Building cooperation between schools and civic (non-profit) media in teaching MIL – “Journalism for citizens”

 The activity aims at creating a platform linking the media (and their CSOs) with educational institutions – teachers and students, to promote and educate about MIL in practice.

125 events in 5 countries will bring together highs school students, teachers and journalists, reaching at least 2500 students. 30 journalists will have improved skills and knowledge on presenting MIL to students.

  • Prominent journalists of high professional integrity will be engaged in promoting MIL for high school students in each country;
  • Selected journalists will prepare presentations on the issue of media freedom and critical understanding of the media contents, with special attention given to the media representation of the others, tackling the hate speech, prejudices and stereotypes that are being sustained by mainstream media;
  • A practical manual with guidelines on how to effectively approach school children to learn about MIL will be disseminated online;
  • Selected journalists will conduct a series of lectures at schools and discuss MIL challenges with the students and teachers;
  • Also, selected CSO’s media partners will be supported to invite high school students and teachers for a visit to learn about journalism and media production process.
  • Where possible, CSO media partners and the journalists will support media production among students, through the web sites of their schools, social networks.

FollowMedia for Citizens – Citizens for Media!

www.cimusee.org
https://www.facebook.com/CIMUSEE/
@CIMU_SEE

www.seenpm.org
https://www.facebook.com/seenpm.org/
@SEENPM_org

You can reach us at admin@seenpm.org for any information about the project.


The regional program “Media for Citizens – Citizens for the media: Strengthening the Capacity of NGOs for the Development of Media and Information Literacy in the Western Balkans” is implemented with the support of the European Union by partner organizations Mediacentar SarajevoAlbanian Media Institute,Macedonian Institute for MediaMontenegrin Media InstituteNovi Sad School of JournalismPeace InstituteSEENPM .

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* - References to Kosovo are without prejudice to positions on status. They are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.