Commission on Media Policy, Belgrade, Serbia,
22-23 November

semf forum

Commission on Media Policy 2016

Vienna, 20 November 2016

The annual Commission on Media Policy will be held on 23 November in Belgrade, Serbia, gathering over 60 Commission members and observers.

The topic of this year’s Commission on Media Policy will be “Is there a greater good in my good? Journalists roles and responsibilities”. The event will help assemble media experts, managers, editors-in-chief as well as journalists from over 35 countries throughout Central, Southeast and West Europe, as well as the US.

The welcoming address will be by Professor Ellen Mickiewicz, Director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University, Erhard Busek, former Vice Chancellor of Austria, former Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South East Europe and current Coordinator of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative and President of the Vienna IDM Institute, Oliver Vujovic, Secretary General, South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), Vienna, Milorad Ivanovic, Editor-in-Chief, Newsweek Serbia, Belgrade and Henrik Kaufholz, from  European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) , Leipzig.

During the sessions, Commission members will have a chance to discuss topics concerning the difficulties journalists face when reporting on parties that reject democratic principles and European traditions, try to explain as journalists the reasoning of voters choosing anti-democratic leaders, and press freedom issues in Europe.

The annual Dr. Erhard Busek – SEEMO Award for Better Understanding in South East Europe will officially be presented to Erol Onderoglu, Turkish journalist, editor and human rights activist.

The Commission will bring together media practitioners, managers, and experts in both the public and private sectors to discuss alternatives for media policymaking, as well as the freedom, role, and future of the media in the world. The Commission was initiated by former US president Jimmy Carter in 1990. SEEMO has been organising and coordinating the event since 2013.

In addition to SEEMO, the partners of this year’s Commission on Media Policy are: European Center for Press and Media Freedom, European Commission, Newsweek Serbia, the South East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO), the International Institute - International Media Center and Belgrade International Academy.

Speacial guset speaker will be Serbian Ombudsman Saša Janković


Conference languages: English

Conference venue:

Crowne Plaza Belgrade, Mediteran&Adriatic, Vladimira Popovica 10, Beograd 11070

+43 1 513 39 40

Twitter: @SEEMF_MEDIA | | E-mail:

22 November

20:00 Welcoming reception- only for Commission participants (in Crowne Plaza, Club lounge)

23 November

9:00-9:30 Welcome Coffee

9:30-10:00 Welcome by

Erhard Busek, former Vice-Chancellor of Austria, President of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe, Coordinator Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), Vienna

Ellen Mickiewicz, James R. Shepley Emeritus Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Duke University, Durham, USA

Oliver Vujovic, Secretary General, South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), Vienna

Milorad Ivanovic, Editor-in-Chief, Newsweek Serbia, Belgrade

Henrik Kaufholz, ECPMF, Leipzig

Introduction of participants

10:00-10:45: Session I
Political Parties at the Margins and Power: how should journalists cover the growing political weight of parties rejecting European traditions of democratic inclusiveness?

Chair: Ellen Mickiewicz


Zrinka Vrabec-Mojzes, Editor, Nacional magazine, Zagreb and SEEMO Board member
Ryszard Holzer, Editor, Newsweek Poland, Warszawa
Istvan Deak, Editor,, Bucharest

10:45-11:30: Session II
The Supporters: How can journalists explain why ordinary people vote for and support party leaders and laws contrary to democratic European norms?

How can they avoid repeating the same “explanations” over and over again: difficult economic situations and fear of cultural diversity. Can journalists go deeper and really explain more? Do these factors ALWAYS produce tyranny? Everywhere? If not, why not?

Chair: Erhard Busek

Erol Onderoglu, Reporters without Boarder Turkey, Istanbul
Alberto Spampinato, Director, Ossigeno per l'Informazione, Rome
Boris Bergant, EBU advisor, SEEMO and former deputy EBU President, Ljubljana

11:30-12:00 Coffee break

12:00-13:00 Session III —Freedom of the Press in Europe

Where is it endangered, where is it strong, what accounts for the differences? Corruption and Crime Go Unpunished—Law Enforcement Weak and Compromised? Politics and Power Seek to Stifle Dissent? Foreign Ownership Ignores Local Issues? None of the above?

Chair Ellen Mickiewicz

Tonia Samsonova, The Question / Radio Echo of Moscow, Moscow
Saso Ordanoski, Media Expert, Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Milorad Ivanovic, Editor-in-chief, Newsweek Serbia, Belgrade and SEEMO advisor

13:00-13:30 Guest Speaker: Ombudsman Saša Janković (Invited by Newsweek Serbia) /with Q&A (Introduction by Milorad Ivanovic, Editor-in-chief, Newsweek Serbia, Belgrade)

13.30-13.45 Presentation of Dr. Erhard Busek SEEMO Award for Better Understanding in South East Europe 2016 to Erol Onderoglu, journalist and RSF’s representative in Turkey

13:45-14:45 Lunch

14:45-15:30 Session IV Do journalists “create” extremist politicians?

Does the colorful, leader who fuels anger and breaks with decency gain from coverage? Are “shocking” figures like this just “good” television and “good” stories, because hey attract audiences and therefore financial gain?

Do journalists, owners, and editors agree about this coverage?

Chair: Erhard Busek


Angel Petrov, Editor in Chief, (Sofia News Agency), Sofia
Goran Mihajlovski, Founder,, Skopje,
Luka Zanoni, Director, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucas, Rovereto

15:30-16:15 Session V Do or Should Journalists Try to Explain How the “Greater Good” of Society Transcends and Exceeds “My Group’s Getting a Better Deal?”

How would journalists make audiences understand what is the greater good?
Is it the greater regional good? Helping people in Southeast Europe understand each other?
Is it what the old-time leaders think it is?
Is it what the new refugees ask for?
Is it becoming homogeneous?

Chair: Ellen Mickiewicz

Radomir Licina, Founder, Danas daily, Belgrade and SEEMO board member
Marina Constantinoiu, Editor,, Bucharest and SEEMO coordinator Romania

16:15-16:30 Coffee break

16:30-17:15 Session VI What are the Three Most important Things about the EU that Journalists Should Cover Deeply and Fully, so that Audiences can Truly Understand?

Chair: Erhard Busek

Dragan Sekulovski, Association of Macedonian Journalists (AJM), Skopje
Marko Milosavljevic, Professor, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana

17:15-18:15 - Recommendations

Chair: Ellen Mickiewicz

Rapporteur and discussant: Craig LaMay ,
Discussion by entire group

18:15-18:30 Acknowledgments and Closing Words

Erhard Busek, Ellen Mickiewicz, Oliver Vujovic