Brussels, 17 June 2013
Speak Up!2 conference on media freedom in the Western Balkans and Turkey
To assess the challenges faced by the media in the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Commission is organising a second SpeakUp! conference on 20 June in Brussels.
Speak Up!2, the largest event of this kind organised in the context of the enlargement process, will bring together around 450 participants from the region and EU Member States – journalists, media analysts and politicians. They will discuss freedom of expression in individual countries and possibilities to improve and enhance it. They will also assess progress achieved since the first Speak Up! conference in 2011.
"Freedom of expression and media is one of the most important values of the European Union. As a key priority, it is addressed early in accession process, it is an integral part of the chapters dealing with the judiciary and fundamental rights," Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle said. "The Speak Up! conference in 2011 gave a strong impetus for addressing this issue throughout the enlargement process. The conclusions of the first Speak Up! conference have become an important reference point. Now, two years later, we will be assessing the progress achieved, and, more importantly, what still needs to be done."
Ensuring freedom of expression and media is one of the most important challenges for the countries aspiring to the EU membership. The European Commission is also following and reporting on the developments in this area in the annual Progress Reports. At the same time the Commission is committed to supporting the efforts of the media community and decision-makers in the Western Balkans and Turkey to tackle existing shortcomings.
The Speak Up!2 conference will be opened by Member and former President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, Irish Minister of State, Fergus O'Dowd, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović and European Commissioner, Štefan Füle.
The conference will be streamed on a dedicated website. For more information (also via Twitter #SpeakUp2), please check the conference website at: http://www.speakup2conference.eu
See video message by Commissioner Š.Füle