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Freedom of expression is a comprehensive human right since it includes individuals’ possibility to actively speak out and seek and receive information. Public Service Broadcasting is particularly relevant to UNESCO’s core mission because it can serve as a cornerstone of democracy if it is guaranteed with pluralism, programming diversity, editorial independence and appropriate funding as well as accountability and transparency towards the public. That is why, between 2003-2010, UNESCO supported the development of a regional news exchange project in South East Europe. Women trafficking in the region, youth rights in EU and non-EU Balkan countries, industrial pollution in Croatia, sewage spillage in Serbia and environmental education were among the many issues public broadcasters covered as a group in their news and current affairs stories. Today, the news exchange project which has formed a stable self-sustainable network called ERNO, produces and exchanges more than 1,200 news items per year. Needless to say, television plays a vital role in raising local awareness of important issues relevant to this region of the world. Not only does television alert to the region’s most important issues, it also fosters cooperation and mutual understanding between South East European media, which provides, in turn, a framework for coordinated action towards tackling common political, economic and environmental crises.

(For egta, ACT, EBU)