The Second European Conference on Minority and Local Media, which took place on 15 November at Kolegijum Evropa in Novi Sad, drew the conclusion that minority media are cultural heritage.
This year’s installment of the conference, which has been discussing and analysing the environment and developments in the minority and local media arena — as well as the media in general — for seven years now and which last year turned into a European platform, invited the public to consider the introductory question “Are minority media cultural heritage?” and tried to give a specific answer to the question through different perspectives over the two conference days.
The answer was indeed affirmative, asserting that these media must not remain “walled off” because their presence is not an end in itself, but rather, as a medium that is part of the public information system, they have the purpose of providing timely, objective, and impartial information.
On the first conference day, a talk on “Minority Rights and Media in South Tyrol” was given via video by Marc Röggla, Researcher, European Academy, Institute for Minority Rights, Italy, and Secretary General of MIDAS.The second day of the conference saw four panels initiate a constructive dialogue on the role and potential directions of development of the media in the focus of this event, with notable participation from the students of the Mihajlo Pupin School of Electrical Engineering in Novi Sad, Serbia, who are taking the Media Literacy elective course.
The first panel — Multiculturalism and Cultural Heritage — applied different perspectives to address the issue of multiculturalism as a way of life and communication, in the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, which was launched by the European Union. The panellists used personal experiences and attitudes to portray concrete ways in which multiculturalism and interculturalism can be lived both in private lives and in public spaces.
Minority media should establish specific self-regulatory mechanisms precisely in the context of the recent elections for national councils of national minorities, as voiced at the second panel on “Self-Regulation of Minority and Local Media and Entrepreneurial Journalism”. The panelists agreed that all media, without exception, must have and develop journalistic codes of ethics and professional standards in their agendas. At the same time, everyone agreed that both minority and local media must keep up with trends in journalism, media, and digitization and accordingly develop new business models, products, and services in order to maintain financial stability and sustainability.
The third European Minority Media Production panel, moderated by Nataša Heror, Managing Director of Heror Media Pont, the guests from Europe presented their media outlets: Gwyn Nissen, Editor-in-Chief, Der Nordschleswiger, Denmark, Marc Marcè, Editor-in-Chief at Regió7, Catalonia, Spain, Janek Schäfer, Editor-in-Chief at Serbske Nowiny, Germany, and Rajmund Klonowski, Editor-in-Chief at Kurier Wilenski, Lithuania.
The participants of the fourth panel discussed minority media as bridges of cooperation between countries where minority communities live and their countries of origin. However, the biggest focus in the discussion was on the development of the new public information strategy for the Republic of Serbia, the draft of which is set to be published by the end of this year.
Conference organizers were Heror Media Pont, Magyar Szó, Media Association, Centre for Minority Rights Development, and MIDAS.
Photo: Dragan Kurucić