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Western Balkans: Hahn warns, media freedom is non-negotiable

Priority to join EU.Politicians and media share responsabilities

09 November, 18:53
(ANSA) - BRUXELLES - "Freedom of expression is a fundamental value of the European Union and as such, it is a non-negotiable condition for any applicant or candidate country on their way towards EU accession", EU Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn told during the kick-off of EU-Western Balkans Media Days which take place in Tirana on 9th and 10th November.

The Commissioner addressed directly to political leaders and media organisations of the region who share "responsibilities".

"Political leaders in candidate and applicant countries are responsible for guaranteeing media freedom, including the security and decent living conditions of journalists," he told.

On the other side, media can help democracy overcoming "polarisation" and improving "the ethnic tensions" by "respecting standards and providing objective, unbiased reporting".

Hahn warned that the European Commission has noted "a wide misuse of defamation lawsuits to hinder the work of critical journalists" and therefore has "alerted" the six Western Balkans countries. "Freedom of media is an important indicator of the functioning of Rule of Law", he added, which is one of the key priorities to make the hope to join the EU come true.(ANSA).

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