Sarajevo, 8 October 2013

The VII South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) took place on 7th and 8th October 2013 in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), with the topic: “Journalism in South East Europe: Monopolies, business models and the struggle for quality”.

The forum was organized by the KAS Media Program South East Europe, the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) and the Central European Initiative (CEI). Around 250 media experts and journalists from all over Europe took part in the VII. SEEMF.

The conference was opened by Christian Spahr, Head of KAS Media Program South East Europe, the CEI Secretary General Margit Wästfelt, the SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujović and Borca Rudić, the Secretary General of the BiH Novinari Association. Christian Spahr emphasized in his opening speech on the sometimes one-dimensional public debates about media freedom and pluralism: “Demands are made for freedom of the press, diversity in the media and transparency – and rightly so. But often without taking into account the foundations for these objectives: Market-oriented business models, which distinguish themselves from journalism as an instrument of power for the elites. Clear media law that guarantees a minimum of freedom and competition and is also enforced. And an interested civil society that appreciates quality journalism.”

An integral part of the opening session was a panel on the media situation in the host country, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The animated discussion began with a public interview with the President of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Željko Komšić. Besides that, the “CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism”, supported by the KAS Media Program South East Europe, was granted. The winners are Mahir Šahinović (Sarajevo) in the category “Professional Journalists” and Rosen Tsvetkov (Sofia) in the category “Young Professional Journalists”.

The forum attracted huge media interest. Not only journalists from the Balkan countries reported on the conference, but also German and Austrian media. The SEEMF takes place annually in alternating countries of South East Europe and is the biggest media conference in the region. The forum aims at supporting exchange and networking among leading journalists and media representatives in South East and Central Europe.