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EBU - Eastern Partnership agreement to strengthen independence of East European media

Posted by Nick Prag at 02 October 2014, 22:20 CET |

The agreement on 2 October between the European Commission and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to work at strengthening the independence of the media in the European Neighbourhood Region (ENP) provides an opportunity to highlight the work of the EBU as well as the key role played by the European Neighbourhood Policy at such a dangerous time in east-west relations.

The EBU is an international non-governmental organisation which brings together public service radio and television companies from 56 countries in the European broadcasting area. Its activities include promoting independent public service media and training media professionals, as well as mobilising solidarity amongst its members to help those encountering serious political, technical or financial strife.

The EBU performs an important role in countries - such as Ukraine - which are undergoing a process of change. Under its Partnership Programme, the EBU undertakes various actions targeting public service broadcasters in the Enlargement and European Neighbourhood region. These actions include assistance, technical support and training to build internal capacity for independence and long-term sustainability.

In welcoming the agreement, EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot said: "Independent and sustainable public service media organisations are pillars of freedom of expression and a democratic media landscape. EBU Partnership Programme activities in the European Neighbourhood region will be all the more potent with the backing of the European Commission."

For its part, the remit of the European Neighbourhood Policy is to promote security, stability, and prosperity, as well as rule-of-law and democratic structures in the countries which border on the enlarged EU.

This group of countries includes Ukraine, as well as the EU's immediate neighbours both to the east (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova) and the south (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Tunisia).

In Georgia and Moldova, and also Ukraine, the Eastern Partnership promotes the reform course these countries have embarked upon, and it also offers EU support which can give additional impetus to their political, economic and societal transformation.

The EU's financial backing is aimed at encouraging greater economic integration, closer political and cultural relations, as well as deeper sectoral cooperation with and among partner countries.

At a time when Russia's focus appears to be to destabilise the countries around its own border, the Eastern Partnership offers hope of a more stable future within the embrace of the democratic and free West. The EBU agreement will help to strengthen this process.

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.