Independent information sources, especially underground press – samizdat, played a significant role in toppling Communism in the Eastern Block. But independent media have still an important task to perform. In the times of the system transformation it is the promotion of democracy and free market, especially on the local and regional level. The independent newspapers, radio, television and Internet portals and other media of communication should provide impartial and objective information, explain ongoing political and economical processes, woo the public opinion to support a transparent and sufficient government. Unfortunately, in the post-soviet countries most of the media is still weak, especially in the province. In the last few years political conditions there for the media development has been unfavorable.
Among post-soviet countries Poland has gained the most experience connected with establishing the independent media in the times of dictatorship and their development in the times of democratic changes. Nowadays, there is a big sector of the public (including electronic) and private media in Poland, which compete with one another. It enhances the development of impartial journalism. At the same time, there is a lot of the local media, which successfully support the large nationwide media. But the media is not only a professional journalism, but also a robust management, technical support and distribution. A vital element is the existence of laws protecting the freedom to inform and to be informed, alongside with organizations defending journalists’ rights and protecting the journalists’ code of ethics. Polish experience may be of use in post-soviet countries.
The project “Using Polish experience in training journalists for Armenia „Independent media” program – The Polish-Czech-Slovak Solidarity Foundation – The Caucasus Media Institute, is addressed to institutions offering trainings to journalists in Armenia. A part of the project is a twelve days study visit (13th to 24th of November 2006) for ten journalist teachers and trainers from Armenia. The visit include meetings at universities and schools that offer journalism studies and journalism classes. We would also like to present training projects for journalists carried out by NGO’s, systems for training and enhancing qualifications for young journalists in Warsaw editorial offices of newspapers, radio and television stations. Additionally, we plan seminars and lectures on the following topics: “Transformation in the Polish media after 1989”, “Laws regulating the public and private media”, “Investigative journalism”, “The media ethics”, “Journalists’ associations”, “Advertisement versus Media”, “Problem of competition between the media”, “Political lobbing and media independence”.
A seminary in Yerevan will convey a summary of the project. The participants of the study visit shall give an account of their experiences to representatives of universities and the media. The purpose of the meeting will be also to discuss the possibility of applying Polish solutions in Armenia.
The participants will be selected in an open competition by The Public Council, which consists of:
- Marek Przybylik (journalist, academic teacher of journalism at the University of Warsaw) - Chairman,
- Maciej Łętowski (Managing director of the Radio Information Agency, academic teacher of journalism at the Catholic University of Lublin)
- Grzegorz Miecugow (journalist of the television channel TVN, academic teacher of journalism at Collegium Civitas),
- Sławomir Popowski (journalist of the newspaper „Rzeczpospolita”, academic teacher of journalism at Wyższa Szkoła Dziennikarska im. Melchiora Wańkowicza),
- Maria Przełomiec (independent journalist cooperating with the newspaper „Dziennik” and The Polish State Television),
- Bartosz Węglarczyk (journalist of the newspaper „Gazeta Wyborcza”).
The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland as a part of a foreign aid programme in 2006 and National Endowment for Democracy.
Detail information about the project and application forms may be obtained at offices of The Polish-Czech-Slovak Solidarity Foundation and The Caucasus Media Institute.