Western Balkans: young media create a network | Europe/Central Asia | DW

“Finally, young people have a regional platform to position themselves more strongly in the media market,” said Adna Kepeš, a student who became editor-in-chief of Radio Active three months ago. The community radio produces programs for young people, but can only be received in the Bosnian town of Zenica. Seventy kilometers away, in the capital, Sarajevo, where most young Bosnians study, Radio Active is barely known. In neighboring Serbia and Montenegro, no one knows the station although there is no language barrier.

Adna Kepeš, editor-in-chief of the community radio station “Radio Active” in Zenica, Bosnia

The creation of the “Young Media Network” for the Western Balkans should change all that: not only Karike, a Bosnian-Herzegovina youth media, but also public broadcasters, student media and local Serbian and Montenegrin media. The ten media want to exchange program content and work together to develop new media formats in which young people from the three countries can discuss topics such as the pandemic, environmental protection or hate speech. Alone, each broadcaster is small, but together they can reach young people even in the most remote corners of the region.

Giving voice to young people

At this year’s Brave New Media Forum, all ten outlets signed the first agreement. In the coming weeks, they will work out the details and officially found the Young Media Network.

Danica Kovačević of Montenegrin youth media Makanje

Danica Kovačević of Montenegrin youth media Makanje

Danica Kovačević of Montenegro youth media Makanje sees this as an important step. “It’s really, really important for us to be part of the network and to work with other media to give a voice to young people like us.”

Youth media is supported by the Serbian media association Local Press, a partner of the DW Akademie. “Honestly, I’m impressed,” said general secretary Snežana Milošević. “They want to go beyond territorial borders, bring together young people from across the region and fight against hate speech and misinformation. We, the more experienced journalists, can take a page from their playbook.”

Before the creation of the network, the representatives of the Young Media Lab developed ideas for cooperation

Before the creation of the network, the representatives of the Young Media Lab developed ideas for cooperation

Tapping into funding sources together

In addition, each member of the network can tap into new financial sources. “As a group, each medium is more attractive for investors and advisers, as well as for project funding,” said Vanda Kučera, board member of the Serbian umbrella organization of marketing agencies. “A collective voice is stronger and has a greater effect in every respect.”

The logo of the new Young Media Network in the Western Balkans

The logo of the new Young Media Network in the Western Balkans

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, in Serbia, is a co-host of the annual Brave New Media Forum, and it welcomed the deal. “We see this network as an important future player in applying ethical, professional and business standards in youth media,” said Srdjan Djurdjević of the OSCE Media Department. “Therefore, we will support the activities of the Young Media Network.”

The “Young Media” project, which supports the creation of the Young Media Network, is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Brave New Media Forum took place in Belgrade in cooperation with the OSCE in Belgrade.

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