Towards better understanding, respecting the Other, and implied respect of the rule of law – towards everything that will make us part of the democratic world. It is time for democratic institutions to become tradition, rather than the goal we are slowly and clumsily pursuing.
In honouring the tradition of the Vicinities TV dialogue, we are launching the Vicinities Chronicles, opening with Enver Kazaz, Voja Zanetic, Balsa Brkovic, and Renato Baretic.
When we first began the first regional television talk show, Vicinities, eight years ago, we believed we could spark interest in citizens of this space, now called the Western Balkans, Southeast Europe, the region, vicinities… We could not have foreseen sparking interest in 12, mainly national, TV channels, and more importantly, remaining consistent in broadcasting over 70 dialogues, with over 300 knowledgeable participants, for 6 consecutive years.
It was a feat, as many of our friends have said. This feat brought us recognition from an association of 200 organisations from Europe and the region, gathered around the European Citizenship and Volontereurope. We became ‘a brand’, a ‘hallmark of quality journalism’, a ‘democratic panel’, ‘a breath of fresh air in form of dialogue’, ‘a step away from the scandal market’ (Others about Us), a place gladly frequented by many from the vicinities.
And after many years, we remain the only ones who were able to gather the region around televised political conversations. Why hadn’t we continued? The answer is – we did not manage to overcome the complicated procedures for achieving financial support, the bureaucracy limiting the non-governmental and non-profit sectors, the society we are a part of. We are not giving up, as we believe that the non-profit is exactly that which cannot be bought, that which will lead us towards better understanding, respecting the Other, and implied respect of rule of law – towards everything that will make us part of the democratic world. It is time for democratic institutions to become tradition, rather than the goal we are slowly and clumsily pursuing.
Thanks to the support and understanding of our partners, the European Fund for the Balkans, we return to Vicinities and we plan to stay as long as there are those who are eager to read, see, hear, or say something about their own country or its neighbours.
We return to the platform we had intended for everyone – from Belgrade, to Sarajevo, Podgorica, Skopje, Pristina, to Tirana.
Each week, we will share six perspectives on the previous week, from six different corners of our vicinities.
Our team will choose those we believe have something to tell us and prompt us to think, from all across the region.
There will be columns, videos, audio clips. And not only for them, but for all of you, if you wish, in our section ‘The Voice of Vicinities’. Send us your video clips, share anything you want: successes, failures, ideas – this is meant to be a ‘breath of fresh air in form of dialogue’.
Our well-familiar friends have the honours of the first hello from the new Vicinities platform – guests who opened and closed every episode of Vicinities for 6 years. What has been happening since we last saw each other? What has the Covid-19 pandemic revealed when it took center stage? Why is it crucial that we speak to and hear each other?
Read on for the testimony of our times.