The role of the media in the regional reconciliation process is the focus of a three-day training course that started on 7 December in Budva, organized by the Regional Youth Co-operation Office (RYCO) Local Branch Office with the support of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro.

Fifteen young journalists from across Montenegro gathered to discuss intercultural dialogue, and basic principles of professional reporting.

In opening the workshop, Dominique Waag, Head of the Mission, reminded participants of the limitations of freedom of expression – especially in relation to phrases that promote or incite xenophobia and any form of hatred or intolerance. “While the exercise of freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental human right, it must always be balanced against using it as a cover for hate speech. This will be an essential parameter for you to have in mind, as journalists, in order to promote reconciliation in the region while also promoting freedom of information,” said Ambassador Waag, adding that young journalists can play an important role in media literacy, building a strong foundation of professional and ethical journalism, based on facts-checking, in a multi-ethnic or multi-cultural environment.

Bojana Lalatović, Programme Officer from RYCO Local Branch Office, stated that this training course should strengthen the professional standards of media representatives, given their key role in building and promoting sustainable and inclusive peace. “The way media content is presented to young people and creation of credible and interesting stories that promote different groups and perspectives have a strong influence on young people’s perception of social events and development of democratic culture in the society,” said Lalatović.

With the support of two experts from intercultural and journalism area, young journalist will improve their knowledge and skills on effective reporting on issues related to intercultural dialogue, reconciliation and peace building.

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