This year's third iteration of the Regional Academy for Democracy will take place in Ohrid, Macedonia, with the particular topic of the state of media freedoms in the Western Balkans being in the focus of our seminar.
With the economic crisis, the position of the media has been downgraded in Balkan societies, where the powerful assert much more control over the journalists than ever before. With state funding for the media dropping, it is very often the smaller outlets, such as the minority media, who suffer most and have to close down. With bad or often unclear legislative solutions with regard to the position of the media, these solutions opened space to back-door dealings and corruptive influences to seep into the media sphere and create an even more complex problem in the press.
New media, on the other hand, allowed the public sphere to grow to unseen proportions, and with it, the room for use and misuse by the powerful.
This is why we will, during our four-day meet, our participants will be encouraged to grasp the challenge standing in front of young decision-makers in order to fight for the freedom of the media, as the media represents a catalyst for progress of any modern democracy.