The 5th European Conference Devoted to Minority and Local Media has started: Diversity is essential for any kind of progress and innovation

“Minority, and especially local media, bring spice to all discussions and actually allow us to nurture the diversity that is necessary for any kind of progress and innovation”, said Violeta Bulc, curator of the Ecocivilisation movement and former EU Commissioner for Transport and Communication in her introductory speech of the 5th European Conference Devoted to Minority and Local Media, that started today.


The fifth European Conference Devoted to Minority and Local Media, organized by Heror Media Pont, Magyar Szó, Storyteller, the Media Association of Serbia and the Minority and Local Media Development Center in cooperation with MIDAS and FUEN, is also the tenth event in a row of this communication platform. The main goal of this year’s edition of the Conference is for the media to become aware of their influence in the fight against global warming. In that spirit, Violeta Bulc also emphasized the need for all minority communities to understand the importance they have for the sake of overall social prosperity.



“Ecocivilisation is a new narrative that we offer to the world to see that there is something other than these confusing times that are present everywhere. We are reshaping our relationship with the Planet itself: we see that climate change and pollution are issues that have a significant impact on every citizen of this world, and we do not have truly systemic solutions to that. We have partial solutions, we have partial agendas, but we do not have a systemic view of where and how this could reshape our societies “, said Violeta Bulc and added:


“This is the weak point of all the solutions we are talking about today, including the ‘Green Agenda’, which is truly the leading one in Europe, and probably the most advanced and sophisticated approach to climate change mitigation in the world. But what is missing is structural change, which can really deliver the agenda we have set for ourselves regarding climate change. ”



The Ecocivilisation platform is essentially a 30-year project that, as Bulc says, brings people from all over the world together on a common platform, to have an open dialogue, where knowledge becomes a universal good. “We capitalize on mutual experiences and the exchange of knowledge so that we can act at the local level in the spirit of global change,” said Violeta Bulc.


Eco-Balance in the Media


The first panel at this year’s conference nominated the topic of media eco balance, and this topic was discussed by Violeta Bulc, curator of the Ecocivilisation movement, Stevan Ristić, President of the Board of the Media Association of Serbia, Valentin Mik, Editor-in-Chief of the Romanian-language weekly Libertatea and Ozren Simjanovski. Director of “Makedonska videlina”, Macedonian weekly with moderator Vladimir Dorchova Valtnerova, Editor-in-Chief of the portal “Storyteller”. The goal is for the media to develop an environmentally sustainable plan for their existence, so this panel looks at ways to reduce the emissions of negative gases produced by an average print media and how to raise awareness and call to action its readers (who will reduce their negative footprint under the influence of the media), to achieve ecological neutrality.



“In recent years, do we have a media balance at all, not talking only about Serbia? I think we can agree that there is less and less of it “, Stevan Ristić answered the counter question when asked what media eco balance is and added:” As for eco balance, I think that is what the essence of journalism should be, and that is to check information, to contact the other party, to write about the topic in a balanced way. I don’t think there is too much of it in Serbia, even when it comes to reporting on ecology. I think that we are victims of heightened passions and that these are the topics on which is reported on, without fulfilling elementary things from the journalistic craft. ”


Ozren Simjanovski agreed with this statement and added: “When we talk about any kind of balance, one thinker once said, ‘Talent is the sense of proportion.’ Sometimes we should have a sense of proportion, and we could look at that as a balance. ”



On the other hand, media eco-balance panelists see in the context of proactivity. “Apart from their basic purpose, which is the production and placement of information, the media should be more proactive in creating conditions for more sustainable environmental development,” said Valentin Mik.


Violeta Bulc understands the balance in the media in a holistic way as a vertically and horizontally covered story and news analysis that shows different opinions based on facts, clear experience and good argumentation. “For example, climate change is a great topic to look at through this dimension. Scientists have raised their voices about the negative externalities of industrial progress, but the media simply did not want to hear it. They constantly showed, in most cases, only the positive side of industrial progress. But in order to really understand the social impact, we have to look at the positive and negative effects, “said the panelist.



In the second part of the first day of the conference, Craig Willis, a researcher, and Sergius Bober, a senior researcher, presented the new global networks of experts working in the field of minority language media. The International Association for Minority Language Media Research was founded in Edinburgh in October 2019 during the Minority Media Conference.


About the socio-political position of the media in the languages of minorities in society


The traditional international panel brought the information and attitudes that marked the year 2021, regarding the influence of the media in minority languages and their participation in public dialogue. The topic that, in terms of its breadth and importance, overrides both social and political influence is the protection of the environment. To what extent are the minority media interested in this topic or do they adhere exclusively to narratives concerning national affiliation or the preservation of language and culture? This is just one of the issues raised by panelists Rajmund Klonowski, Editor-in-Chief of Kurier Wilensky, Polish newspaper in Lithuania, Mark Marcé, Editor-in-Chief of Regio7, Catalan newspaper, Catalonia, Spain, András Cirimichiu, Editor-in-Chief of Nyugati Jelen, Hungarian newspaper in Romania and Tony Ebner, Editor-in-Chief of Dolomiten, German newspaper, South Tyrol, Italy.



“Public opinion is increasingly sensitive to the environment, so every media, including minority media, must be very aware that this topic is of public interest and a topic that should normally and regularly be in our newspapers, portals, radio or any other”, said Marc Marcé.


There are topics that transcend national identities and divisions, such as the topic of illegal immigration, which for the first time in decades united Poles and Lithuanians against the legislator’s decisions, against the wave of migration that is coming towards us, believes Rajmund Klonowski. “Environmental issues are also those in which there is no dispute between Poles and Lithuanians,” said Klonowski.



“In Romania, the issues of green environments, green economy and green alliances are all issues that people mostly agree with, but these are not important issues, they are not as important as in the Western countries. In Romania, economic influence is most important for both the minority and the majority, as well as in the media. “If these ‘green’ measures have a negative impact on the people’s economy, then people will not support them,” said András Cirimichiu.


Tony Ebner believes that minority communities are among the first to delegate “green” topics. “Because minorities, if we look at Europe, live in places that are especially beautiful and that is why the protection of our environment, the protection of our nature, water, sky, sea, is the first thing we have to push forward, because it is our territory,” Ebner concludes.



The content of the conference, which is also supported by Ecocivilisation, is broadcast on the YouTube channel Heror Media Pont Production and on the Facebook page Heror Media Pont.


The patrons of this year’s conference platform are the Ministry of Culture and Information, the Provincial Secretariat for Culture, Public Information and Relations with Religious Communities and the Council for Culture of the City of Novi Sad.


Source: Heror Media Pont

Photo: Dávid Csilla