The ‘Matra Rule of Law Training Programme’ offers a training on the Freedom of the Media for civil servants working on the media law or policy from the Western Balkans countries, Georgia, Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine. The training is fully financed by the Dutch Government and is delivered by the Leiden Law School, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, and the Hague Academy for Local Governance. The training will take place online from 1 March until 2 April 2021, and the application deadline is 24 January. More details about the application process can be found here.
The focus and aims of the training are described below by the organisers:
“Freedom of expression and media freedom are crucial for every democratic society. Journalists and the media keep the public informed on matters of general interest to society. They act as public watchdogs who hold governmental authorities and other powerful forces in society to account. They expose wrongdoings and corruption. They provide shared spaces for public debate. In order to perform these roles, journalists and the media need to enjoy strong legal protection.
Such protection is provided by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which guarantee freedom of expression and information for everyone. The freedom enjoyed by the media, which is based on these articles, is not unlimited. It is governed by duties and responsibilities. It is also subject to certain limitations imposed by law, for example to protect children from harmful content and to prevent the spread of hate speech. These and other themes will be examined in the training programme, including the safety of journalists (with a special focus on female journalists), minorities and the media, and the thorny question of online disinformation. While the central focus will be on the media, there will be wider attention for the range of other actors in the online communications environment, such as platforms and social media.
The training programme aims to increase understanding of the European regulatory and policy standards relating to the concepts of media freedom and the right of the public to be properly informed. Presentations on Dutch and European experiences in dealing with these issues will encourage the participants to reflect on the situation in their own countries, to identify areas for reform and to nurture exchanges on practices in other countries. Special attention will be paid to obstacles and dilemmas in the implementation process and how to overcome them.”