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Regional news exchange for Southeast Europe ERNO marks 20 years of work

Text: Hana Imamović, Photo: FENA/ERNO

SARAJEVO, October 30 (FENA) - This year, November 1, marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Regional News Exchange Network for Southeast Europe (ERNO), set up in accordance with the highest professional standards.

The network brings together 11 public service broadcasters from post-Yugoslav countries, including Albania, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, and is one of four regional news exchange platforms within the Eurovision system, which includes the Mediterranean network, the Nordic network and the Eastern European network.

The Coordination Office was established in Sarajevo in 2000, where it is still located today and is the so-called contact point for all public services in Southeast Europe in case they need help with any news piece or a story.

The whole project of this network began on the initiative of the Finnish State Television, which pointed out the need to establish such cooperation, instructed by their good practices within the Nordic community.

The public services of 11 countries have realized the purpose of such a network and themselves contribute to the work of ERNO with membership fees, which is unusual for an international donor project and it has proven to be a success.

ERNO's main activity is the exchange of news. Between five and 12 TV reports are exchanged daily, and ERNO works in principle as an agency because it distributes semi-finished material that others can edit and use in accordance with the needs of their broadcasting content.

ERNO network members have exchanged more than 25,000 news so far. Regional cooperation includes the exchange of more than 50 documentaries, co-productions of documentaries and 10 series of feature stories.

In the last 20 years, ERNO has been strengthening cooperation between public broadcasters in the region and strongly contributing to the development of quality news production.

ERNO, together with the EBU, is a partner in a consortium to implement an EU-funded technical assistance program for public services in the Western Balkans.

"We are especially proud of the fact that together we have managed to establish a strong network of media professionals from public services in Southeast Europe, who are always ready to help each other despite all difficulties and challenges, thus increasing the free flow of information between the countries and between regions and other parts of Europe," said the head of the ERNO coordination office, Željka Lekić-Subašić.

EBU News Chief and Deputy Media Director, Liz Corbin says the strength lies in wealth and solidarity, and it is in the interest of all members to intensively exchange high-quality news from all regions and parts of the European Union.

"ERNO supports this exchange and makes sure that important news from the region of Southeast Europe is brought to the attention of all members," she added.

A regional network with the Coordination Office in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was established in 2000, with the assistance of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Finnish Public Television YLE and the EBU.

The aim was to encourage regional cooperation and provide TV material from and about Southeast Europe to all EBU members.

The ERNO network consists of 11 members of public broadcasting services, members of the EBU, namely, Television of Slovenia (RTVSLO), Croatian Radio Television (HRT), Television of Romania (TVR), Bulgarian Television (BNT), Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHRT), Serbian Television (RTS), Montenegrin Television (RTCG), Kosovo Television (RTK), Albanian Television (TVSH), Macedonian Television (MRT), and Hungarian Television (MTVA).