The USAID-funded ‘Balkan Media Assistance Program’ (BMAP), aimed at securing more stable resources for media outlets in BiH, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, was presented in Sarajevo on Tuesday. The project worth USD 7 million will be implemented in the Balkans countries over the period of three years and is expected to help the media outlets become more competitive on the local and regional markets, as well as to strengthen their sustainability and independence in the region.
US Ambassador to BiH Maureen Cormack expressed content over launching of this project, which would be supporting regional media outlets in the Balkans in use of new technologies, entering partnerships related to advertising and propaganda, to work on building and forming of audience that would be following them, etc. "We would also like to help through this project the media outlets dealing with investigative journalism, because we believe their role in society is special and significant", stressed Cormack.
"I truly believe that free media is absolute foundation of democracy, and they are under a pressure from various sources today in the whole region", Cormack underlined.
President of Regional Media Association Zeljko Ivanovic said that the fight for freedom of speech and for professional journalism was jeopardized, adding that media in region need joint cooperation, solidarity, support and exchange of experience in this area. According to him, media need to make huge investment in order to survive and to be competitive.
President of the Steering Board of the BiH Press Council and Director of magazine ‘START BiH’ Dario Novalic noted that many media have collapsed due to political pressures.
More details of the program are available at the USAID official website.