Friedensförderung durch Brücken der Verständigung
Peace Building through Bridges of Communication

[Mission statement]
[10 years of medienhilfe]
[Prominent Voices for Independent Journalism]
[Your Support]




Mission statement - Download as PDF

1992-2002: 10 years of medienhilfe  (Documentation)

Information instead of propaganda

medienhilfe was founded in the end of 1992 as a Swiss non-governmental and non-profit organisation, with the aim to support the independent media and freedom of press in the area of the former Yugoslavia. Since 1993 medienhilfe has established permanent contacts and co-operation with a number of independent media organisations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia. Over 50 different media organisations have been supported, among them 4 network projects composed of a number of particular media or infrastructure projects used by several media.

medienhilfe has been the implementing organisation of the Swiss Government, i.e. of two departments within the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 1. Political Division IV  and 2. Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Besides, medienhilfe started to operated as the implementing organisation of other governments (German Foreign Ministry, Irish Government) and international donors as the National Endowment for Democracy NED of the US-Congress. medienhilfe also receives support from Swiss cantons and towns, private foundations, companies, media houses and journalist associations, bigger NGOs, church organisations and a number of individuals.

Fields of medienhilfe's activities include the following:

1              Support to independent media organisations in the area of the former Yugoslavia, which includes:

  • financial and material support; accompanied by a close follow-up reporting and evaluation of all supported projects;

  • moral and political support (e.g. in cases of attacks and pressures);

  • counselling;

  • facilitating partnerships with Swiss media.

2              Research and analytical work, consisting of:

  • reports and analyses of media issues in the region as well as a position and a role of media in a broader social context;

  • action research on specific issues related to media (e.g. media role in social integration, conflict de-escalation and transformation and peace-building);

  • reports and analyses of alternative sector (NGOs), strategy papers and counselling (for Swiss NGOs operative in the area of the former Yugoslavia).

3              Activities related to Swiss public and policy- makers, which include:

  • Regular issuing of a bulletin (quarterly), which is sent to Swiss NGOs; journalists, media and journalist associations; politicians and individuals interested to be regularly informed on issues related to the media situation in the area of the former Yugoslavia;

  • Maintaining a website with a variety of information regarding the media in the region;

  • Organising special meetings with prominent media and NGO representatives from the area and representatives of the Swiss state bodies;

  • organising public events with media and NGO representatives from the area of the former Yugoslavia;

  • presence in Swiss media (placing articles from journalists from the ex-Yugoslav area; publishing own articles or through interviews).

Our criteria to choose local partners are as follows:

  1. Media who are not owned or controlled by state or para-state structures;

  2. Media whose editorial policy is not controlled or influenced by any political party;

  3. Media whose coverage complies with professional criteria and journalist ethics;

  4. Media who have engaged against nationalism and have promoted dialogue, understanding and peaceful cohabitation of people with different ethnic and religious background;

  5. Media who have been promoting civil society and democratisation processes;

  6. Special attention is given to cross-border and network media projects.

medienhilfe is a member of a closer group of donors who permanently co-ordinate their support activities. This group is formed by: Open Society Institute (offices in Brussels and Budapest, as well as national offices in the area of the former Yugoslavia), Swedish Helsinki Committee, Press Now, Norwegian People’s Aid, IREX ProMedia and Media Development Loan Fund.

In 2000 medienhilfe was a member of the pool of implementing organisations for the realisation of a quick support package for independent media in Serbia initiated by the Stability Pact. We will continue and strengthen this activity in 2001.

In 2001 a crisis-assistance-programme CAP was implemented in Macedonia as a joint project of the International Media Fund IMF. A field officer from medienhilfe is responsible for the implementation of this programme and for the coordination of the IMF's activities.

medienhilfe was member of the expert team working on strategy and policy papers for the EC support programme for independent media in the SEE. This Media Task Force includes representatives of NGOs, governments (e.g. USA and Denmark), a private foundation (OSI), the Stability Pact and EC.

The strategy elaborated in this paper is complementary to those to be implemented by international players we have co-operation with, which may additionally contribute to strengthening of the position of Switzerland (DEZA/AZO) within the international donors community. Each particular project proposed for support has carefully been evaluated, both in single assessment missions and donors joint project-travels and co-ordination meetings. Each of them will be supported by some or all of above specifically named donors.

How to contact us

medienhilfe , PO Box, CH-8031 Zurich, Switzerland
Phone and Fax: +41-1-272 46 37

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medienhilfe, P.O. Box, CH-8031 Zürich, Switzerland
Phone +41-1-272 46 37,  Fax +41-1-272 46 82, email: