Building ELMO: Solidarity in Translation in Eastern Europe and Beyond

The Eastern European Left Media Outlet (ELMO) emerged in 2019 as a cooperation between media platforms in ten formerly socialist Eastern European countries. Over the last decade, since their emergence in the context of the 2011 global protest wave, our platforms have been advocating for the alleviation of skyrocketing social inequality since 1989, raising awareness about the plight of marginalised groups, and highlighting the dangers of ethno-nationalist revival in the region.

They have 14 member organizations, among which are Mérce (Hungary), Masina (Serbia), Kapitál (Slovakia), The Barricade (Bulgaria, Romania, International), The Political Art Gazette (Romania), Platzforma (Moldova), Krytyka Polityczna (Poland), Alarm (Czech Republic), Bilten (Croatia), Radnicka Prava (Croatia), Pole Blog (Slovakia), Spline/Commons (Ukraine), Dversia (Bulgaria) and LeftEast (International). Platforms within the ELMO network are – together and separately – dedicated to research-based news and analysis grounded in work alongside marginalised groups. Many of our Spline/Commons (Ukraine), Dversia (Bulgaria) and LeftEasteditors and authors themselves identify as women, LGBTQI+, ethnic minorities, or working classes, or live as Eastern European migrants in other countries. In the articles that they intend to exchange, and through cooperation with other kindred initiatives, they pay special attention to inclusivity and diversity to include perspectives that challenge the status-quo and question privileged positions and interests. In its transregional outline, and through further collaborations, ELMO is determined to contribute to social justice and to combat systemic oppression through creating inclusive and democratic media spaces.

In Building ELMO, the network’s 14 Eastern European media platforms sustain and scale up an emergent structured cooperation. This includes soliciting, translating and publishing articles between at least 10 languages, including English, for both local platforms and a broader European outreach. This exchange strengthens the cross-border solidarity among already established independent democratic media spaces in the region, where they have used research and storytelling-based journalism to address policy-relevant issues in a media freedom vacuum that has emerged amidst the infodemic.

Collaboration among Eastern European media platforms is needed to combat the biased information dominating mainstream international media within the current infodemic and to facilitate transnational solidarity. They aim to develop common perspectives on regional issues, by generating the flow of reliable and relatable news and presenting critical regional and globally pertinent analysis. In a region where every 200km travel means crossing not only a new border but also into a new language dominion, exchanging texts is a means to transgress rigid national and language barriers that often express hostility despite the shared experiences of our peoples. Our exchange is thus aimed at reporting ‘local’ news and analyzing it in their regional and transnational significance.

They are dedicating our efforts to work toward a consolidated Eastern European media network that cooperates in cutivating a robust and internationalist democratic European public. ELMO’s starting point is Eastern Europe, the region they represent, but they see it as part of a transnational field of struggle. Forging regional solidarity and creating a cross-border public space would help each platform, the network as a whole and international audiences to embrace Eastern Europe as a geopolitical space where groups often marginalized (inter)nationally develop common analysis and politics with specific and shared concerns around dynamics of exclusion and inequality.

A short digest from their recently exchanged materials

ELMO panel discussions

Financialization and horizons for transnational housing organising after the Berlin referendum – online roundtable, 6th November 2021.

Platform Work In East-Central Europe: Reporting And Organising In An Emerging Field – online roundtable, 28th June 2021. 


Researchers, journalists, activists and artists were invited to discuss reporting and researching platform-based gig work in the CEE region, as well as organizing in this emerging field. It was the closing event to the “Gig work in CEE’s platform economy” article series that ELMO members have carried out in May in honour of the international labour day, May 1st, and May as a month dedicated to workers’ struggles.