The regional conference of the Safejournalists network (www.safejournalists.net) on the topic of protection of media freedoms and security of journalists in the Western Balkans will be held at the Holiday Hotel in Sarajevo, from April 26 to 28. The conference will be attended by journalists, editors, media experts, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions from the region and the EU, and international organizations dedicated to the protection of freedom of expression.
With the support of the European Union, the Safejournalists network was formed in 2016 by a joint decision of journalist organizations from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Kosovo to map and record attacks on journalists and threats to media professionals and ensure effective legal protection for journalists through the actions of competent institutions and punishing attackers. During 2020, the Network expanded its activities to the territory of Albania, with a focus on recording threats to journalists and public reactions to cases of endangering the rights of journalists and media freedoms in that country.
The Safejournalists network currently has a database of more than 1,200 recorded cases of threats and attacks on journalists, with monitoring of the actions and reactions of the competent authorities and public institutions in sanctioning attackers. National Indicators of Media Freedom and Security of Journalists are published each year with a comparative, regional report on trends and progress in the field of media freedom. In 2021, the Journalists’ Security Index in seven Western Balkan countries was prepared and published, as the first comprehensive mechanism for numerically measuring the progress of the Western Balkan countries in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of the media in line with EU standards.
At the regional conference in Sarajevo, we want to discuss the current challenges of protecting journalists from violence, as well as the possibilities of applying EU standards for the protection of media freedom in the local context of the Western Balkans. We will also draw attention to violence against women journalists, who are increasingly victims of online threats and harassment, and talk about new, international instruments to help the media and journalist organizations in our region. As some of the Western Balkan countries went through war cataclysms and devastation two decades ago, we would like to draw attention to media coverage of the current war in Ukraine and invite fellow journalists to professional coverage of the public and victims interests.
All those interested can follow the conference online via the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIsduCsqTMuHNWxnB7JtZgOMJ4UQt1qZtZ4