15 December 2009, Sarajevo – The South East European Network for Professionalization of Media celebrated its 10th anniversary December 12, 2009 in Sarajevo. The next day the Network held its General Assembly meeting with the participation of the representatives of 14 out of its 17 members. As applicant for SEENPM membership, Media Center Caglavica (Kosovo) was present.
First, the General Assembly adopted the annual narrative and financial reports presented by program director, Sándor Orbán. Then the participants discussed the situation of the Network and the individual member centers, and also gave an overview of the state of media in each SEENPM country. Then SEENPM approved the application for membership of Media Center Caglavica, and elected a new Board consisting of Remzi Lani (Albania) – chairman, Boro Kontic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Brankica Petkovic (Slovenia), Biljana Petkovska (Macedonia), and Ognian Zlatev (Bulgaria).
In the second part of the meeting the participants tackled the impact of the economic crisis on media and the tasks of media development NGOs under the current conditions. The discussion was moderated by Jorgen Riggaard who had played an important role in the establishment of the Network in 1989-90 having represented then the Danish School of Journalism.
As a general conclusion, it can be stated that the quality of journalism has deteriorated in most SEENPM countries partly due to the financial crisis which had very seriously hit the media industry. As a consequence, new organizations often do not allow and cannot afford to allocate recourses needed to produce well-researched in-depth stories. In several countries clientelism and dependence on political or business circles have increased. While media development NGOs have an important catalyst role to play in promoting high ethical standards and quality journalism in SEE, several of them suffer from the lack of sufficient and predictable financial support, and it has become especially difficult to raise funds for core expenses.