WHAT IS SEEMO
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non-profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. The organisation is a network of media professionals in this part of Europe and aims to create a bridge between international media activities and the media developments in the region. It has headquarters and national committees in several countries. Following states or territories are included in SEEMO: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO.
One of SEEMO’s main activities is protecting press freedom by helping journalists and media outlets in South East Europe. Over 60 per cent of SEEMO’s press releases and letters of protest to governmental and other officials have had positive results in the past. Every SEEMO protest is distributed to leading regional and international media, national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations, politicians, and also public persons and institutions.
Part of the regular press freedom activity of SEEMO are SEEMO Press Freedom Missions, and SEEMO Monitoring Visits. Between 2000 and 2020 SEEMO organised or participated as partner in 74 international press freedom missions / monitoring visits.
In the past, SEEMO has provided direct help to journalists in the region by giving them technical equipment and other assistance. SEEMO also provided the necessary aid to journalists, who received death threats.
SEEMO actively cooperates with international, regional and national governmental and non-governmental organisations and institutions. SEEMO also actively cooperates with other international press freedom and media organisations, and it supports and participates in joint regional and international projects and activities.
Since October 2000 SEEMO has assembled over 23,850 editors-in-chief, media executives, leading journalists and public persons from the SEEMO region in various meetings. Between 2000 and 2020 SEEMO was invited to be co-partner in more than 340 events.
Between 2002 and 2005, SEEMO organised 14 dialogue meetings between editors-in-chief, media executives and leading journalists from South East Europe. The I Dialogue Meeting Serbia and Kosovo in Ohrid (North Macedonia) 2003, involving over 100 participants from Belgrade (Serbia) and Pristina (Kosovo), was the first meeting in history bringing together all leading editors-in-chief, media CEO and media owners from Serbia and Kosovo.
Two SEEMO dialogue meetings were organised for leading media representatives from North Macedonia after the armed conflicts in the country in 2001, one meeting in Ljubljana (Slovenia) in May 2002, with over 80 media representatives from North Macedonia and one after several months in Skopje (North Macedonia).
During one of the SEEMO dialogue meetings, the meeting in Montenegro in Podgorica in 2003, over 60 media representatives from all leading media in Montenegro took part, what never happened before or after this meeting.
SEEMO dialogue meetings in Bosnia and Herzegovina were organised for leading media representatives from all part of Bosnia and Herzegovina (one meeting in Neum and one meeting in Sarajevo), and several Dialoge meetings in Opatija took place in 2003, 2004 and 2005 for leading media representatives from Serbia and Croatia.
In 2005, SEEMO organised the first meeting of private news agencies in South East and Central Europe in Skopje, as also one in 2006 in Ohrid, as also a meeting of editors and media executives from news agencies in Tirana, Albania in 2007. Additional SEEMO meetings for representatives from news agencies took place in 2008, 2010 and 2016.
In 2006, SEEMO organised a regional conference of media representatives from South East and Central Europe in Vienna. SEEMO organised since 2000 over 30 different workshops and round-tables in Austria.
SEEMO initiated in 2006 regular country meetings of investigative reporters (first meeting in Opatija, June 2006). SEEMO organised between 2006 and 2020 over 30 conferences and workshops for investigative journalists in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzeogvina, Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Moldova, Montenegro, Kosovo, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine. Additional SEEMO organised 8 workshop for young investigative reporters in the SEEMO region.
In 2005 SEEMO organised a press freedom conference in Thesssaloniki and in 2008 in Athens. SEEMO organised also a media freedom workshop in Athens in 2017 and 2018.
SEEMO organised several conferences for editors-in-chief and managers of minority media, like the SEEMO Regional Minority Media Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2002 with around 100 participants, the Conference of editors-in-chief and managers of Roma media in South East and Central Europe in 2003 in Belgrade, Serbia (with over 70 participants), Vlachian (Aromanian) media in Sofia, Bulgaria (2004) and Tirana, Albania (2005), as also two conferences Minority media in South East and Central Europe in Belgrade in 2007 and 2013.
In 2010 SEEMO organised a conference for representatives of LGBT media and also a workshop for LGBT journalists in 2017.
SEEMO organised in June 2008 the conference Media, Marketing and Business in Belgrade (Serbia).
In December 2008 SEEMO organised the conference Public Broadcasting and Private Media in South East Europe in Ljubljana (Slovenia), where general managers of the public broadcasting media and representatives of private electronic media took part. The event was organised with support of Austrian Development Agency (ADA), RTV Slovenia and European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
In May 2010, SEEMO organised the first South, East and Central Europe Investigative Journalism Days in Montenegro, with the welcome by the President of the Parliament in Montenegro Ranko Krivokapic.
The second South, East and Central Europe Investigative Journalism Days were in Serbia in May 2011 with topic “Corruption and Media” and the welcome was by Serbian President Boris Tadic.
The third South, East and Central Europe Investigative Journalism Days took place in Chisinau, Moldova, in 2012 and the participants were welcomed by the Prime Minister of Moldova Vlad Filat
SEEMO started in cooperation with SECEPRO, International Academy, International Institute – International Media Center, and project-partners Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Stiftung) and the German WAZ Media Group 2007 the South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF). It is a meeting of leading journalists and political representatives in the SEEMO region. The first SEEMF was in Zagreb, Croatia in June 2007, with the participation of the Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and 200 journalists from South East and Central Europe. Second SEEMF took place in Sofia, Bulgaria in November 2008, with the participation of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergej Stanishev and over 250 journalists from South East and Central Europe. In 2008 additional SEEMF partner became the Raiffeisen International Bank from Vienna. The third SEEMF was in Tirana in November 2009, and the event was opened by the Albanian President Bamir Topi. The IV SEEMF took part, in Budapest on 2 and 3 December 2010, the event was opened by the President of the Hungarian Parliament László Kövér and the Central European Initiative (CEI) is since 2010 regular SEEMF partner. The V SEEMF was in Belgrade, Serbia in November 2011, opened by Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic. VI SEEMF, opened by President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic was in Budva, Montenegro in 2012. VII SEEMF took place in October 2013 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), Sarajevo, and the event was opened by the President of the Presidency of BIH Zeljko Komsic. VIII SEEMF was organised in Skopje, North Macedonia in October 2014 (in cooperation with UNESCO as additional partner). IX SEEMF was in Bucharest (Romania) from 5–7 November 2015, X SEEMF took place in Belgrade, Serbia on 21–23 November 2016 and the participants welcomed Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic. The XI SEEMF was in Sofia, Bulgaria 2017, XII SEEMF took place 2018 in Tirana (welcome by President of Albania Ilir Meta) and XIII SEEMF in Croatia in Zagreb in 2019. In 2019 the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) became additional SEEMF partner (EBU was SEEMF partner also for two events between 2007 and 2019). Connected to the Covid19 situation in Europe, SEEMO organised SEEMF 2020 in 7 cities (7 hubs) with online live coverage.
SEEMO supported the founding of three NGOs: International Academy in Serbia, International Institute- International Media Center in Austria and of the South, East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO). International Academy is specialized in coverage topics like media and persons with disabilities, LGBT community, gender questions, position of woman in media, position of older persons in the society etc. International Institute – International Media Center is partner of the Krems Donau University. SECEPRO founded in 2010, is a regional organisation for PR experts, active in more than 30 countries of South, East and Central Europe. The first SECEPRO meeting took place with support of SEEMO, City of Ljubljana and CEI in Ljubljana in May 2011 with participation of leading PR representatives from the region.
2011 SEEMO started in cooperation with SECEPRO, International Academy, International Institute – International Media Center, and University of Vienna, a new event, Istanbul Media Days, as an annual meeting of media experts, journalists, students and representatives of universities in Istanbul. The first event was organised in cooperation with Bilgi University in Istanbul (2011) and the second event in cooperation with Kadir Has University in Istanbul (2012). Because of the political and media situation in Turkey, SEEMO decided in 2013 temporarily to make a break in the annual organisation of the event. SEEMO decieded to organise similar media days in the region like Pristina Media Days in 2017 with a welcome by Kosovo-President Hashim Thaçi and in partnership with SECEPRO, International Academy, International Institute – International Media Center, University of Pristina and University of Vienna.
SEEMO started in 2013 in cooperation with SECEPRO, International Academy and International Institute – International Media Center to organise annually the Commission on Media Policy. The Commission on Media Policy was founded under the name “Commission on Radio and Television Policy” to encourage democratic policies and practices. The Commission was founded by former US president Jimmy Carter in 1990. The idea for its creation was born in the mid-1980s when Prof. Dr. Ellen Mickiewicz from Duke University and former US President Carter discovered the changes in the way the Soviet Union used television in comparison to the past policy while working on issues of international security and arms control.
The conference Media and Politics was organised by SEEMO, International Academy, SECEPRO and International Institute-International Media Center in Bucharest in 2014 with over 150 participants. The event was open by Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.
Conferences covering traffic or ecological environment and the role of media were organised in Zagreb, Split, Belgrade (3 conferences), Athens (2 conferences), Sarajevo and Trieste by SEEMO in cooperation with the City of Vienna and other partners. In this activities SEEMO cooperated with the publishing group Bohmann-Verlagsgruppe and with Compress-Verlag .
In the first years of work, SEEMO organised a media monitoring in cooperation with the Austrian Bundespressedienst (BPD), part of the Federal Chancellery of Austria (Bundeskanzleramt Österreich).
Education of young journalists, but also training for journalists and editors are part of the SEEMO work since 2000. Additional in cooperation with universities, companies, schools and political parties SEEMO members and staff are teaching journalism, communication, marketing, public diplomacy, diplomacy and political science.
Press freedom work covered by SEEMO includes monitoring of press freedom and media situation in the SEEMO region and reacting in cases of threats or attack on journalists and other media workers.
In cases of conflicts between media and journalists or between two media companies or between two journalists, SEEMO offers mediation. Since 2000 SEEMO was active in mediation in more than 200 cases. In some cases long year conflicts between media companies or media owners were solved thanks to the mediation by SEEMO.
SEEMO supported as co-founder the start of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) in Leipzig. SEEMO is member of IFEX