Action summary

This is a Joint Programme funded by the Council of Europe and the European Union, which builds on the previous Council of Europe work targeting specific needs in the field of freedom of expression and media in South-East Europe.

The programme comprises a series of training activities targeting the judiciary through the innovative HELP methodology, as well as specific activities directed to regulators, journalists and public service media, relating to the interconnected segments, which are of significant importance for freedom of expression and exercise of human rights, in line with Council of Europe and European standards.

The beneficiaries of the programme are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Kosovo*. A regional component of the programme is dedicated to create opportunities for exchange of best practices and finding common solutions for similar problems.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

Overall objective

To promote freedom of expression and freedom of the media in line with Council of Europe standards, with a
specific focus on the Judiciary in South-East Europe.

Outcomes and expected ouputs

Outcome 1: To enhance the application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case-law in the field of freedom of expression in the daily work of the judiciary through the interpretation and implementation of the legislation in line with European standards.

Expected outputs:

  • Domestic judgments reflecting application of Article 10 and ECtHR case-law are increased

Outcome 2: To strengthen the capacity of the national training centres, judges’ and prosecutors’ academies and bar associations to train legal professionals on the ECtHR, the case-law of the ECtHR and other European standards on freedom of expression.

Expected outputs:

  • The training curricula on Article 10 are developed and the capacity of the national training institutions with regard to freedom of expression and the media are improved

Outcome 3: To increase the awareness and capacity of judges, public prosecutors and lawyers dealing with freedom of expression issues on CoE standards and the case-law of the ECtHR.

Expected outputs:

  • Regional forum of legal professions is established and it regularly meets to exchange good practices and provide mutual support for the development of domestic case-law in line with ECtHR case-law on media issues, namely Article 6, 8 and 10.

Outcome 4: To enhance the independence and effectiveness of the bodies responsible for broadcasting regulation, in line with European standards.

Expected outputs:

  • Studies on independence and effectiveness of the regulatory authorities continue to be provided after request of the national authorities;
  • Regulatory authorities’ and employers’ professional capacities are strengthened;
  • Regional co-operation between regulators is developed; exchange of good/bad practices is established.

Outcome 5: To promote rights and responsibilities of journalists and develop professionalism, responsibility and respect of ethical rules among journalists based on the ECtHR case-law and other CoE legal instruments.

Expected outputs:

  • Structural dialogue between media actors, self-regulatory bodies, judiciary, politicians, parliamentarians, policen and human rights defenders is established at national and regional level. Media actors are aware of their duties and responsibilities and their professional capacities are strengthened.

  • Duration: 36 months (April 2016 – March 2019)
  • Beneficiaries/Partners: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia
  • Funding: The European Union and the Council of Europe
  • Budget:

All references to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text, shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.


Freedom of expression website

Project description