Balkan countries still failing on freedom of expression, warns EU Commission

Balkan countries still failing on freedom of expression, warns EU Commission
(Image: Jon S under a CC licence)

15 November 2016

All six Balkan nations hoping to gain EU membership made “no progress” towards meeting requisite freedom of speech criteria, according to a report published by the EU Commission last week.

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia were all evaluated as having made “some level of preparation” on the issue of freedom of expression, but have each been advised of the need to enact changes in the law in order to make further progress towards meeting EU requirements.

Editorial independence and levels of transparency in the mainstream media still fall short of freedom of speech requirements in the six nations. The Commission additionally highlighted concern over threats and violence against journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia, with Kosovo’s report underlining “increased threats and attacks” on journalists, rather than progress in this area.

Although Macedonia’s legislative framework seemed to fare better, receiving praise for being broadly aligned with EU standards, the Commission warned that “freedom of expression and the situation of the media remain a serious challenge in the current political climate”.

Source: Balkan Insight