Project news & updates

EJC Launches Dutch-Funded Projects in Macedonia and Ukraine

27 March 2009 | PRESS RELEASE


The EJC has a new role to play empowering media professionals and students in Eastern Europe. Together with its project partners, the EJC will implement media training and awareness programming in Macedonia and Ukraine, having won two multi-year grants from the MATRA - Societies in Transition Programme. MATRA is part of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The projects, rolling out a media literacy programme in Macedonia and improving New Media skills in Ukraine, officially start in April, 2009. This is the first full year the Matra programme has been active in the West Balkan country of Macedonia. The 2.5-year project, Improving Media Literacy Education, teams the EJC with the Macedonian Institute for the Media, based in Skopje. Teachers will be provided with toolkits and dedicated web resources. 

The final phase of the project is to embed and institutionalise media literacy courses into national curricula for primary and secondary schools. Dutch best practice will be utilised by experts from Nieuws in de Klas, a leading media literacy organisation based in Amsterdam. A second Macedonian partner, the Institute for Democracy, will assist with the training programme and running the dedicated website. 

The New Media Initiative for Ukraine is aimed at journalists, students, media activists and traditional media. It is focused at the regional level. Through EJC’s partner in Kiev, Internews Ukraine, the target groups will be taught to unlock the potential of new markets and audiences reachable via new media technologies. Internet penetration has reached a critical mass in Ukraine, making this a crucial time to reach a Ukrainian public thirsty for information and wider access to independent voices. 

The project includes a series of intensive, practical workshops in Ukraine’s regions, as well as the launch of a web portal for online toolkits. A New Media Summer School for graduate students of journalism will be established in Kiev. The Faculty of Communication and Journalism at the University of Utrecht will provide expertise. 

“These countries face huge challenges in the coming years: Macedonia’s quest for EU and NATO membership and Ukraine’s relations with its eastern and western neighbours,” said Josh LaPorte, EJC project manager for media development. “Citizens in both countries must have access to various credible sources of information. This is the role of the media in a democratic society. Mediums of all sorts, particularly online media, must facilitate transparent decision-making and build momentum for national reforms.”

Improving Media Literacy Education in Macedonia
Together with the Macedonian Institute for Media, the EJC carried out a 30-month programme dedicated to raising media literacy among students and improve citizens’ understanding of media’s role in society. An effort that paid off, as the Macedonian Ministry of Education has since then incorporated media literacy in the primary and secondary school curriculum.

New Media Initiative for Ukraine
Through this project, the EJC and Internews Ukraine sought to improve the new media skills of both media practitioners and citizens. At a time when Internet penetration in the country was rising at record speed, the EJC lined up a series of workshops and online resources that aimed to empower Ukrainians and boost local media’s reporting capacity and production quality by using online tools.

MATRA, Societies in Transition
MATRA, a programme of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, constituted an effort to support democratic transition in the Western Balkans, Central, and Eastern Europe, and strengthen the ties of the target countries with the Netherlands. The EJC participated in five media-related projects, from 1995 and up to the programme's conclusion in 2011.