For Immediate Release

Friday, October 25, 2013
Harry Lipper, Senior Development Outreach and Communication Specialist

Belgrade, October 2013 The Media Coalition and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched a 15-month, $248,800 project to strengthen and support Serbia's democratic development by promoting media literacy and independent, accountable journalism.

The Campaign for Media Literacy will focus primarily on youth, raising their critical understanding of media content.  The drive will also involve journalists and teachers who use the media as tools and resources. The campaign will improve their understanding of the media's role in their daily lives and encourage them to become proactive as consumers and producers of media content.

"Media literacy and thinking critically about items in the media are crucial with the Internet and social media such dominant forces in our lives," said USAID Mission Director Susan K. Fritz. "With the Media Coalition, USAID will support responsible, balanced journalism and build an environment of accountability, benefitting Serbia's democratic society and its citizens."

The Media Coalition is an informal partnership of five Serbian journalists' and media associations.  The project will develop an online resource center and hold workshops, meetings, and public discussions for youth, teachers, and journalists.

"This campaign will strengthen consumers' demand for responsible journalism," said Vukasin Obradovic, president of the Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia. "It will encourage young people to form independent views about the most significant issues in their lives and create their own media content instead of being passive recipients of media content."

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 and support independent media in Serbia.

USAID is increasing direct support to local Serbian organizations like the Media Coalition as part of a broader effort to change the way USAID delivers assistance.  Direct assistance to organizations strengthens their capacity and uses USAID funds more efficiently.