Media Coalition and USAID Put Media Literacy in Focus

Media Coalition and USAID Put Media Literacy in Focus
Minister Tasovac with youth that participate in the Media Literacy Project
Media Coalition

For Immediate Release

Monday, December 15, 2014

Belgrade The Media Coalition and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have successfully completed the Campaign for Media Literacy – a fifteen-month project to strengthen and support the democratization of Serbian society by promoting media literacy and independent and accountable journalism.

The Campaign for Media Literacy facilitated new channels of communication and cooperation among the Ministries of Education and Culture, teachers, youth, and civil society organizations in the promotion of media literacy.  Events in Novi Sad, Niš, Loznica, Čačak, Belgrade, Kragujevac, Subotica, and Vrbaš focused on youth comprehension of media and encouraged proactive consumption and production of media content.  Journalists also provided training in the use of social media and moderated a series of public debates about the ongoing media reform.

The project held 22 workshops with 211 trainees across Serbia, hosted 16 public events with more than 200 participants, created four webinars (available online), and produced three educational brochures as well as ethical guidelines for journalists working online.

Speaking at the press conference, the Minister of Culture and Information Ivan Tasovac said that “during the next year we will work on a new media strategy, that will detail the experiences in the area of media literacy to date and contain a serious elaboration of future plans in this area,” adding that “there is an increased understanding of the importance of media literacy in the European Commission, which means that we will be knocking at open doors in Brussels.”

The USAID Mission Director Azza El-Abd said, “I am pleased that this project managed to facilitate a broader understanding of media literacy in Serbia.  This campaign has helped to remind us of the importance of critical thinking.  Well-informed and well-educated citizens are the foundation of democracy.”

"What I found valuable in the project is bringing the notion of media literacy and responsible journalism into the focus of young people, Serbia’s future leaders, and their teachers,” said Vukašin Obradović, President of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia.  “It also reminded journalists that the struggle for independent journalism never stops.” 

The Media Coalition includes the Journalists’ Association of Serbia, the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina, Local Press, Association of Independent Electronic Media, and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia.  The Coalition was formed to advocate for the adoption and implementation of Serbia's Media Strategy, to increase the independence of the media, and to protect it from undue pressure.