DW Akademie in Serbia supports children and young people in making themselves heard in the media. It also helps media outlets reach young audiences and thereby reposition themselves in the market.
Freedom of information and the press have deteriorated in recent years in Serbia and the Western Balkans. Many media organizations and companies there are under political pressure and struggling financially to survive. As a result, many lag behind digital trends and national media no longer reach younger audiences.
Young people in particular rarely turn to national television, radio or print for information but instead – much more so than in Western countries – turn to the Internet, especially social media. However, they hardly find local media content there that interests them and as a result are increasingly using portals and social media channels produced abroad. Domestic media for their part offer few opportunities for young people to express their concerns and views.
DW Akademie promotes traditional media and young media initiatives in the Western Balkans that implement innovative projects containing informative content aimed at children and young people. Many of these are digital projects, including a news website in southern Serbia where teenagers write for their peers and a YouTube project run by young people, with support from experts at Montenegro’s public radio station. DW Akademie also supports a multicultural TV youth program in Vojvodina, and a young multimedia editorial office at the public broadcaster in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These pilot projects are evaluated in focus groups.
In addition, DW Akademie in Serbia assists media and youth associations in helping young people gain a stronger voice in society. It trains staff there to advise media companies in developing content tailored to young audiences. These organizations also help children and youths – especially disadvantaged young people such as Roma or the unemployed – in furthering their education through journalism workshops and gaining a voice in the media.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director: Klaus Dahmann, Serbia
Locations: Belgrad, Novi Sad, Niš, Skopje, Sarajevo, Podgorica, Prishtina
Local partners: Several Serbian media associations (Asocijacija medija, LokalPress), Serbian Press Council (Savet za štampu), Youth Umbrella Organization Serbia (Krovna organizacija mladih Srbije)
Main focus: Civic participation of young people, digitization, Media and Information Literacy (MIL), professionalization and viability of the media sector, transnational networking of media and NGOs