BIRN Hub signs five-year agreement with Sida

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BIRN Hub, as the BIRN Network’s umbrella organisation, this month signed a five-year agreement with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) on core support for implementing cross-regional programmes and enhancing the capacity of the Network.

The Sida core support during the period January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2019 will provide dedicated, independent backing for a vital ongoing programmes and new initiatives in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia, with additional intervention in Macedonia and Montenegro.

Sustainable media development is still a challenge for the highly troubled Balkan media scene, plagued by lack of transparency of ownership and finances, poor legislation, political interference and weak grassroots organisations. BIRN will strive to empower people to access their rights by providing accurate and relevant information and creating opportunities for them to participate in democratic processes.

“In the year when BIRN is celebrating its 10th anniversary, the five-year Sida core support will enable us to consolidate our institutional knowhow and strengthen our capacities for improving freedom of expression and the environment for independent media in the region. At the same time, BIRN will remain committed to fulfilling its role of a media watchdog in the public interest,” said Gordana Igric, Executive Network Director.

Dragana Obradovic Zarkovic, Director of BIRN Serbia, added: “This grant will enable the BIRN network to empower the regional aspect of our work and to systematise all the great things that we have been doing over the last ten years in different countries. That can be the initial push for another ten years of development, and I really hope that we will use it.”