In the belief that every citizen should have access to reliable and objective information, representatives of thirty-five countries met in Warsaw on Thursday to discuss Russian-language media initiatives at a conference opened by the chief of Polish diplomacy Grzegorz Schetyna.
The meeting participants have come to the conclusion that there is a need to enhance sources of objective information in response to a distorted image of Europe and of developments in the world as reported by some Russian-speaking media. This issue has been under discussion in the EU and other fora for some time now.
- This propaganda requires our response. But this response should not be about counter-propaganda. It should be about objective information in Russian – said minister Grzegorz Schetyna in an opening statement.
During the July EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting, the chiefs of diplomacy of Poland and the Netherlands presented an analysis by the European Endowment for Democracy “Bringing Plurality and Balance to the Russian-Language Media Space” and its proposals for specific actions that can support the market of pluralistic and independent media in the Eastern Partnership region and beyond.
The meeting in Warsaw was the first encounter between states engaged in supporting media projects in countries affected by Russian-speaking propaganda. Its participants have agreed with the report’s findings: that in Europe and beyond there is a lack of objective sources of information in the Russian language, specifically in the Eastern Partnership area. It is not a task for one state to create them.
In June 2015, the Endowment presented its report findings and specific recommendations. The most important ones include:
- to create an international News Hub that will generate and exchange news content;
- to start a Content Factory in order to support the creation and distribution of high-quality programmes other than news programmes for television and online broadcasting, focusing on local issues;
- to create a Centre for Media Excellence to coordinate the work of governments, non-governmental organisations and educational institutions with respect to media monitoring and market research and to organise media literacy programmes for the public and professional trainings for journalists.
We consider this meeting to be an important step that will allow us to review our engagement and allocate tasks. In this way we want to proceed to the next stage: the implementation of recommendations from the Endowment’s report, the aim of which will be to support and promote free and independent sources of information. We also seek to achieve better coordination of our efforts and to make their impact more effective, as well as to create new channels of communication with the Russian-speaking audience and to enhance the ones that already exist.
At the conference Poland declared that it will commit EUR 1 million to finance further activities undertaken by the European Endowment for Democracy in this regard.