Despite progress, prejudice for neighbours still exists in region's media, experts say

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 14, 2015 10:54

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  • Progress has been made over the past decade, but stereotypes persist on how  Balkan media reports on neighbors, regional conference told

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The Albanian Media Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of Switzerland in Albania organized in Tirana the Regional Conference "Reporting Neighbors in the Balkan Media."

The Albanian Media Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of Switzerland in Albania organized in Tirana the Regional Conference "Reporting Neighbors in the Balkan Media."

TIRANA, July 13 - Although media coverage of the neighbouring countries and nationalities in the region is improving, some old stereotypes and hate speech are still prevalent, regional media experts said at a Tirana conference, which analyzed media coverage in various Balkan countries.

The regional conference, "Reporting Neighbours in the Balkan Media," was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of Switzerland in Albania. Participants included researchers, journalists, media experts, and representatives of media organizations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The research results were presented after experts spent several months researching media outlets in these countries. Experts who worked on this project targeted TV, radio press and online media.

The conference concluded a regional project, which aimed to analyze the main trends and tendencies of mainstream media in the region regarding the reporting on neighbouring countries. Independent experts from the countries of the region contributed with their work, which analyzed positive developments in covering neighbours in the media, as well as negative sides of this coverage.

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The regional conference's publication.

Collected in a special publication, the studies provide a complex overview of the role that media has on relations between neighbors.

"In spite of undeniable progress of the last decade, it cannot yet be said – on this basis -- that negative stereotypes and historical prejudice belong in the past," the report noted.

How do we report on our neighbors when the Balkan conflicts are a thing of the past and the other countries of the region find themselves in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration? What is the image of the Other in the media of the region?  What is the impact of the process of European integration on the way countries of Western Balkans see each other? What is the role of new media and social media in creating perceptions of one another?

The answers to these questions are attempted in the publication that was presented during the conference.

As the Ambassador of Switzerland in Tirana, Christoph Graf, notes in the book's preface, this publication opens up a path for dialogue and better mutual understanding among media actors in the various Western Balkan countries.

During the two days of the conference, the participants discussed on the way and tools to take forward this dialogue.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 14, 2015 10:54