Effective ways of providing the Libyan people with access to impartial, objective information during the current crisis were the focus of a conference organised by the EU-funded project MedMedia in Tunis last week.
The event on 18 December brought together key stakeholders from the Libyan media and civil society as well as representatives from international donor organisations and implementing agencies.
The international contingent included delegates from the European Commission as well as the Dutch, German and British governments and the United Nations.
Nataliya Apostolova, Head of the EU Delegation to Libya, opened the conference by stressing the EU’s continued commitment to building capacity in the media sector, in particular through training journalists, developing legislative frameworks and supporting the constitution-drafting process.
Project directors for international agencies such as Deutsche Welle, Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), BBC Media Action and International Media Support (IMS) described work already carried out on the ground, then exchanged ideas and proposals for building on these achievements.
The Libyan delegates highlighted the growing polarisation of the media sector and the fundamental lack of credible information available to local audiences.
The conference considered a range of possible solutions for addressing this information gap and facilitating national dialogue, including satellite broadcasting, community radio and TV talk shows.
In the final session, the participants agreed to establish a coordination mechanism for international organisations operating in Libya. This approach would enable them to exchange experience, explore synergies and minimise duplication of efforts in the long term.
The EU-funded MedMedia project aims to create an enabling environment for media reforms in the Southern Mediterranean region. It is part of the €17 million EU programme “Media and culture for development in the Southern Mediterranean” which aims at supporting the media and culture reform processes in the region.
MedMedia focuses on media legislation, regulation, programming, strategy and leadership with a view to helping state media fulfil their public service mandate and compete with the commercial sector. It will also work to build public trust by strengthening the media’s role as an independent watchdog and a forum for democratic debate.
(Source: EU Neighbourhood Info)