Berovo, 15 November 2020

Training of journalists on the EU accession process

Fifteen journalists from different national and local news media attend a four-day training for „Мedia coverage of the EU integration process”, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in the framework of the project “Nordic Support to the Progress of North Macedonia”. The training is organized in coordination with the Secretariat for European Affairs, and is conducted by the Center for European Strategies, Eurothink.

The main goal of the training for journalists is to strengthen the capacity of the media in terms of creating media content for the negotiation process with the EU, by sharing relevant resources to obtain quality information that will contribute to the transparency of the process itself.

"Sweden defines the freedom of expression as well as the freedom of the media and pluralism as pillars of democracy, because they are areas of vital importance for any open and free debate. Sweden believes that the media have a key role to play as guardians ensuring the accountability of governments and public authorities", said Michael Atherhag, SIDA's coordinator for the Western Balkans, Turkey and Latin America.

The training is conducted by a team of local experts from the Secretariat for European Affairs, international experts from Serbia and Montenegro with direct experience in the EU negotiation process, as well as by a journalist-editor from the region with extensive experience in covering the EU-related topics.

"The Secretariat for European Affairs is committed to maximum transparency, information and inclusion in the communication on the European integration processes. The public is our biggest ally in this process, and without active, engaged, well-informed and professional media, our goal will be much harder to achieve. I believe this training is only the first in a series of close and open cooperation with all media workers in the future," highlighted Kalinka Gaber, state secretary at the Secretariat for European Affairs.

The processing of the topics covered in the training should help the journalists to further prepare and improve their knowledge of the principles of functioning of the European Union, to receive more detailed information about the new negotiation framework, the various aspects of the common EU policies, the benefits of the Stabilization and Association Agreements, as well as to hear about the challenges to the transparency of the integration process.

"Journalists are the 'fourth government', the main corrective, but also a partner of state institutions that lead the European integration process. Only well-prepared and informed journalists, who know the essence of the EU accession process, can play their role correctly and successfully, moving hand in hand with other social actors. Objective and timely informing of the public concerning the Europeanization of the Macedonian society, as well as the sincere readiness of the country to join the EU, should be the priority of the media and journalists," underlined Ivan Stefanovski from Eurothink, who conducted the training.

The experts’ presentations and discussions of the journalists and lecturers during the training shall be used to prepare a Media Reporting Manual on the EU negotiation process that will gather the available sources and tools for preparing the media content on the EU integration process.