HOW TO BRING EUROPE CLOSER TO ITS YOUTH

The FINANCIAL
20/10/2008 13:28
Georgia

The FINANCIAL -- It's common knowledge that today standards for the
competitive labour market are very high in Europe. Young people need to
improve their education by examining new forms of learning in Europe.

Making new contacts and cooperating with community media centres in
Poland, Germany and Ukraine . This was the issue the participants
discussed during the conference "Europe and the Caucasus: Youth,
Media, Education" which took place on 5 October, 2008 at Caucasus
University in Tbilisi .

Young Georgians, Armenians and Azeris took part in the conference.

"We want to create a programme of the political education "Academy
of Democracy" for Georgia. That's why an agreement with Caucasus
University was signed in September. The second programme is a variety
of seminars and trainings on journalism for the citizens of Caucasian
countries as well as cooperation for the creation of a European
community TV programme via the internet," commented Michal Wojcik,
coordinator of the project.

"Citizen media is especially popular in Germany. The citizens can
make their own products and express opinions. What we want to create
is a unified system of European Citizen Media. Citizen media exists,
but it's not enough. In Germany a special tax system guarantees the
existence of this media. If the government won't support citizen
media it will be very difficult to raise funds," Dr Joachim Musholt,
General Director, Citizens Media Centre Bennohaus, told The FINANCIAL.

This initiative provides young people with the opportunity to express
themselves creatively and explore ideas, experiences and communicate
the above-mentioned to the public. It gives the chance to create
a community web TV service open to everyone. The aim of the Free
Media Bridges is to bring Europe closer to its youth. The project
involves young people from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany,
France, Poland and Ukraine . The project is supported by the European
Union. It is granted by the Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive
Agency of the European Commission.

Caucasus University in collaboration with the Georgian youth
organization ERTOBA invited all interested students who study
journalism and international relations, as well as leaders,
employees and volunteers of the youth NGOs to get acquainted with the
programme offer presented by the European institutions of non-formal
education. The programme of the conference presupposed discussions
on the topics of political education, as well as media and citizens
education programmes which are realized by the Foundation Nowy Staw
from Poland, Bennohaus from Germany, Centre Nasha Sprava from Ukraine ,
ERTOBA and the European Association Youth4Media e.V.

The conference in Tbilisi took place in the framework of the Free
Media Bridges from East to West project.

Free Media Bridges is an international two-year media initiative
promoting cooperation and dialogue among young people in Europe. It is
designed to encourage active participation and involve young people in
non-formal education projects, youth initiatives as well as in creating
their own TV. It provides trainings for youth workers, international
media workshops, regional conferences in East Europe and what's most
important: production of the European web TV program Prioritaire.

Dr Joachim Musholt spoke about the importance of creating citizen
media in Georgia.

According to Dr Musholt the real worth of Citizen Media is in its
independence and freedom from the government. In this case state
control is changed by public control.

"In Germany things have changed and they don't support open channels
any more. Because of financial difficulties the European Committee
decided to save money," said Dr Musholt.

According to Dr Musholt, by dealing autonomously with new media in a
simple, informal way, youngsters will get the possibility to develop
new media skills and cope with political and socio-cultural topics.