DW Akademie in the Western Balkans | Europe/Central Asia | DW | 11.07.2024
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Europe/Central Asia

DW Akademie in the Western Balkans

DW Akademie is supporting media professionals from public broadcasters, local and niche media and start-ups to reach more young people with innovative quality journalism.

In the Western Balkans, freedom of the press and freedom of expression remain fragile, and in some countries have become even weaker. Many media organizations and companies are under political pressure and struggle to survive financially, and often cannot keep up with technology or tackle disinformation. 

As a result, many traditional media have trouble keeping their audience or attracting younger media users who mainly get information from social media – even if sources there aren’t verified or are susceptible to disinformation. 

Our activities: Focus on youth media 

DW Akademie supports media outlets in developing innovative content aimed at a young audience. Children and youth take part in developing and producing material so that society can hear their interests and concerns. Since 2017, DW Akademie together with partner organizations has advised more than 20 media houses and trained hundreds of media professionals

Download the latest evaluation report for the region here.

The regional Young Media Network was established in 2022 for youth media and young media professionals in the Western Balkans. The focus is on formulating quality standards for media content targeted at children and youth, and on offering consulting to media outlets and training for journalists. This network also aims to help make young people more resilient to hate speech and disinformation on the Internet. 

Mediamocracy Summer Camp 2019

DW Akademie is also involved in several other programs and organizes a three-year advanced training program for young media experts. Nominated by partner organizations, they take part in ongoing projects, and a third round of experts is now getting underway.  

Every year, the Serbian umbrella youth organization KOM publishes an analysis of how young people are portrayed in the media. Every summer it also organizes a Mediamocracy Camp together with other partner organizations for youth interested in the media. 

Support for private media and public broadcasters   

DW Akademie is also involved in two longer-term projects:

  • #SustainMedia (2022-2024) which together with GIZ and Internews supports private media, particularly local and niche media  
  • Innovation. Media. Minds (2023-2026) which together with the Goethe-Institute promotes public service journalism 

In both projects, DW Akademie advises media managers on topics such as artificial intelligence, user retention and format development.  

We also train media workers in the core areas of quality journalism, multimedia techniques and social media formats, focusing on coherent sustainable improvement processes which receive longer-term support from DW Akademie experts. 

Brave New Media Forum 2023 | Belgrad

Panel discussion at the Brave New Media Forum 2023 

Our events

Since 2017, DW Akademie together with the OSCE Mission in Serbia has organized the Brave New Media Forum in Belgrade which attracts over 300 participants from more than 20 countries. Now the only annual regional media forum on the Western Balkans, it brings together young people interested in the media, experienced media professionals and influencers to discuss freedom of the press, freedom of expression, disinformation and new media trends. 

The Brave New Media Forum also includes two side events: 

  • Innovation Days that focus on the benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence as well as innovative models in media outlets and 

  • the Next-Gen Media Expo that highlights best practices for modern, constructive and innovative journalism.  

Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), European Union

Program Director: Klaus Dahmann

Locations: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia

Local partners: 23 commercial media, seven public broadcasters, media organizations, Serbian umbrella youth organization (Krovna organizacija mladih Srbje)

Main focus: Professionalization and sustainability of media sector, transnational networking of media and NGOs, participation of young people, digitalization, Media and Information Literacy (MIL)

From the region

Key issues