Civil Society, Media and Normative Models at the Black Sea

The "Civil Society, Media and Normative Models at the Black Sea" roundtable conversation focused on evolving trends in the public space and civil society, including media responsibility, freedom of speech and information in the Black Sea region. Panellists will explore how these influence the role of civil society in shaping mutual perceptions, political divides and cultural differences across a variety of difficult contexts in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Republic of Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine. Also, attacks on free media represent real concerns across the region. The event took place on December 10 in Bucharest.
 
For instance, in a preliminary report, OSCE reported that recent electoral processes in Turkey were characterized by reports of intimidation of voters, lack of judicial review of the election board decisions, reduced access for voters to a plurality of views and information. Similar governance problems persist across the region. At the same time, Ukrainian local and regional elections on 25 October revealed evidence of vote buying and electoral fraud, particularly in Eastern regions. In spite of deficiencies in terms of overall governance, the Ukrainian society has become more politically mobilized, efforts to continue refining the political landscape aim at increasing electoral transparency.

The EU continues to grapple with the question of how best to manage its largest influx of refugees in more than 50 years. Several EU member states have responded by tightening their borders. Another rule making things more difficult is that refugees can be officially processed only in the EU member state they entered first.
The rising fluxes of migrants entering the EU’s borders through the Mediterranean have caused an upsurge in populist movements across Europe. Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey but also Central and Eastern countries are exposed to the rising numbers of migrants. The number of migrants registered at EU borders in July surpassed 100,000 for the first time, putting under pressure the already strained social and homeland services of targeted countries. In the Europe’s South, the dynamics are different. It is increasingly difficult to talk about the integrity of nation states when we see a spectrum of failed or collapsing states under the pressure of radicalized internal and external factions, manipulation of media channels by one dominating force, the emergence of non-state actors, the rise in both pre-modern and post-modern sectarianism, all against a background of rising religious terror in Syria and Iraq.

In this context, mainstream populism across Europe is altogether increasingly worrying as its discourse is heavily influenced and shaped by the narrative of self-declared anti-European movements. The main issues are related to perspectives of political integration, economic development, the relationship between solidarity and austerity and external factors which impact all these dimensions, including religious considerations.
 
While moral arguments are more difficult to be translated into policies, European legislation holds member states accountable to offer asylum seekers fair legal proceedings. Yet, promoting the benefits that regulated migration holds for European countries in terms of new jobs and young population in depopulated areas is an issue yet to be addressed by many EU member states.

09:30 – 11:30 Mass-media freedom: Values, Commitments and Challenges

Laurentiu Colintineanu - Editor EurActiv.ro - Romania
Celil Sağır - Editor, Today's Zaman – Turkey
Ioana Avadani -Directorul Centrului de Jurnalism Independent – Romania
Osman Köroğlu - Fatih University – Turkey
Erkan Saka - Istanbul Bilgi University - Turkey

11:30 – 11:45 Coffee break

11:45 – 12:45 Identity perceptions against the refugee crisis background and impact of migration in the Middle East: regional risks, common values, operational principles and the role of media

Ceyda Karan - Editor  Cumhuriyet Newspaper – Turkey
Ergun Babahan - Jurnalist, Millet Newspaper – Turkey
Liliana Popescu - Lector SNSPA - Romania
Oana Popescu – Journalist
Ion Mihai Ioniţă - Editor-in-chief, Foreign Policy Romania & Historia

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