From left to right: Admir Čavalić (Multi, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Ratko Nikolić (Center for Anti-Authoritarian Studies, Serbia), and Maryan Zablotskyy (Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation, Ukraine).
The winner of the Europe Think Tank Shark Tank competition is Ratko Nikolić – president of the Center for Anti-Authoritarian Studies – for his organization’s proposed Selfie Citizen Journalism project to train and develop 20 citizen journalists to report on corruption, cronyism, and civil liberties infringement. These journalists, trained in ethics and classical liberalism, will provide an alternative to the current distrust in the mainstream media in Serbia that has been further exacerbated by the tight government media control and crackdowns on independent journalists. Over 250,000 Serbians – or 1 in every 12 Facebook users in the country – will be reached by their content.
“Harnessing the wave of democratization and decentralization of video content creation ability brought by the omnipresent smartphones, CAAS is aiming to provide a libertarian alternative to the censored and corrupt mainstream media in Serbia,” said Nikolić. “We are aiming to create a network of capable and dedicated young ‘selfie reporters’ who will produce 20 first-hand selfie reports about corruption, cronyism and civil liberties infringements across the country. Our ‘Citizen Journalism 101’ YouTube course – ran by the celebrities of the Serbian investigative journalist scene – and our professional editor will make sure that the produced content satisfies the highest standards of journalist ethics while our social media promotional strategy will ensure that our selfie news clips are seen by at least a quarter of a million of news-hungry Serbian citizens.”
Atlas Network CEO, Ratko Nikolić, and Terry Kibbe, CEO of Free the People and master of ceremonies for Europe Think Tank Shark Tank 2018.
Nikolić’ is the president of the Center for Anti-Authoritarian Studies in Serbia, an organization that he founded in 2015. In addition, Nikolić spent several years running pro-liberty nonprofits in Serbia, in addition to serving as the regional director for ex-Yugoslav countries at Students for Liberty.
The other Europe Think Tank Shark Tank finalists were Admir Cavalić (director, Association “Multi”) for his “Libertarian Municipality” project to transform a community in Bosnia into an example that Libertarianism works by implementing specific reforms at the local level, and Maryan Zablotskyy (director, Ukranian Economic Freedoms Foundation) for his ‘De-Occupy Europe! Project’ to create an alliance of libertarian organizations in Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova through an online platform to coordinate a response to the issue of 7 million people living under Russian occupation.
Nikolić’ will receive $10,000 in a project seed grant for winning the competition. The judges of the Europe Think Tank Shark Tank competition were Linda Edwards, of the Institute of Economic Affairs; Amy Proulx, of the John Templeton Foundation; Lars Kolind, of Denmark; and Jon Utley, of the Freda Utley Foundation.