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[EuroDig Interview] Maja Rakovic, Serbia

Maja Rakovic is from Serbia and studied literature (BA, Faculty of Philology, Belgrade) and journalism (MA, University of Westminster, London, UK). She worked as a broadcast journalist for two Serbian televisions, Politika and B92; currently, working as a media adviser for the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, dealing mostly with media policy, media projects and international relations.

Maja is part of the team who will join the EuroDig in Geneva next week and accepted our invitation for this interview.

DIPLO IGCBP: Maja, you recently took a capacity building programme with Diplo. What was the reason that brought you to explore this field?

MAJA: Through my work I have recently come across many issues that have been addressed within the framework of Internet governance and, when I learned about this course, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to continue exploring this field in a guided and more coherent way.

I work as a media policy adviser for the Ministry of Culture of Serbia and my duties include project management, strategic planning and international relations in the media field. I also represent Serbia in the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services of the Council of Europe, an inter-governmental standard-setting body which deals with wide range of issues regarding media and information society in Europe, including Internet governance.

In the digital age, it is not possible to understand media without understanding and being up-to-date with many inter-disciplinary issues covered by the field of Internet governance. Diplo classification of IG issues and the ECDPIG course outline seemed to provide an interesting and systematic overview of Internet governance and I was very pleased for having the opportunity to take part in this capacity development programme.

DIPLO IGCBP: Very interesting, Maja! What about the eLearning, can you make some comments about it?

MAJA: This was also my first distant learning experience and I liked it very much – the way the course was tailored with lots of interactivity, the tutorials and, last but not least, other participants. It was sometimes very refreshing to leave the real-world everyday activities and to jump into the online class, meet with others, chat, learn and share knowledge and experiences. On the other hand, I wish I had more time to devote to this course.

DIPLO IGCBP: Tell us more about the current situation in your country: what do you see as the main challenges ahead?

MAJA: Serbia is a potential candidate country for integration with the EU and is going through the process of alignment of national legislation with the EU standards, including the field of information society and media. There are many challenges ahead, some of them common to all other European countries, others typical for Serbia. On the other hand, there is no enough capacity to address adequately all those challenges, both in terms of economic and in terms of human resources, which is I guess a problem common to many other Eastern European countries.

DIPLO IGCBP: What are the main topics of interest to you in Internet governance? And how do you expect to touch these issues on the EuroDig?

MAJA: The main topic of interest for me in Internet governance is a socio-cultural basket, more precisely the freedom of expression aspect. And in that field, the main challenge is how to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and other human rights in the online environment. In a post-communist, “transition country”, this issue becomes even more challenging.

Freedom of expression will be discussed trough many sessions in the Eurodig and I believe we will have the opportunity to map the main European challenges, to learn about some best practice examples and come up with fresh ideas and conclusions about the best ways to proceed in this multi-stakeholder dialogue, with the aim to preserve already reached standards in this field and to improve them further.

I was very happy to join some of my Council of Europe and Diplo colleagues in contributing to shaping certain sessions of Eurodig, and I hope we will continue to collaborate on these issues after the Eurodig 2009, as well. Furthermore, I hope we will have the opportunity to organize such pan-European dialogue in Serbia sometime in the near future.

DIPLO IGCBP: That would be a very interesting outcome! Please keep us informed of this plan. What are the professional and research projects you would like to continue over the next years? What type of people would you like to be connected to for these goals?

MAJA: As I said before, freedom of expression is the main aspect of IG I am interested in and the prospective professional and research projects will be linked to that. Additionally I would like to do more on IG awareness-raising in Serbia, because it is indispensable to include as many stakeholders as possible in order to find some common and sustainable solutions for opportunities and challenges that we are facing.

For both of those “projects” I would like to build-on my current work and previous professional and educational background in the journalism and media. Currently, I am involved in certain national and international media projects and initiatives that are directly or indirectly IG relevant, including the coordination of the national government expert group for information society and media. I guess, continuing collaboration with people I have already met trough these projects and meeting new people with same interests and similar or different backgrounds would contribute to my future activities in this field. I must say I still consider myself a beginner in this wide and interesting field. There are lot of things ahead to be explored, and I am looking forward to that.

DIPLO IGCBP: Thanks a lot for this interesting interview, Maja - you definitely have a lot of interesting projects going on and we are sure that more will be ahead. We look forward to meet you soon in Geneva!


This interview is part of a series with participants from the European Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme. Diplo IGCBP stands for Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme and you can find more on our Facebook profile, the Internet Governance Capacity Building page on Facebook or the Twitter for Internet Governance

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