BIRN Macedonia selects first trainees

BIRN Macedonia has started the first part of its primary level journalism training course with an open invitation to young Macedonian journalists to develop their talents.

Applicants will be tested on October 17 at BIRN Macedonia’s Skopje office.

The project seeks to develop and improve the quality of journalism in different regions of Macedonia and to build a wider network of young journalists working in line with BIRN’s internationally recognised reporting standards.

The on-the-job training project will result in six special report packages on critical issues affecting Macedonia’s transition process, such as decentralization, corruption, minorities, and the EU accession process. They will be published monthly in Macedonian and Albanian, and a selection of articles will be reprinted in English.

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Ana Petruseva

BIRN BiH holds round table on War Crimes Chamber in Bihac

BIRN BiH organised a round table in Bihac, north-west BiH, on October 13 as part of its Transitional Justice project to stimulate dialogue between the new War Crimes Chamber and the Bosnian public.

More than 40 representatives from non-governmental organisations, local government, victims associations and lawyers from BiH’s two entities attended the event for a day-long discussion on the role of the WCC in dealing with Bosnia’s past.

Speakers included representatives of the state court’s registry, prosecution, defence and Ootreach sections, as well as Hague tribunal officials, cantonal judges and prosecutors from the Bihac region.

They addressed an audience from Bihac, Cazin, Prijedor, Banja Luka, Drvar, Jajce and Sanski Most. Other events within this phase of BIRN’s Transitional Justice project are scheduled to take place in Brcko on October 27 and Sarajevo on November 10.

The Transitional Justice project is supported by the Swiss embassy in Sarajevo with the assistance of the Office of the Registrar and Prosecution within the State Court of BiH.

For more information, please contact Nerma Jelacic

BIRN Serbia to run investigative journalism workshop in Nis

BIRN Serbia is organising this October 29-30 training in investigative journalism for reporters from the southern part of the country.

The six participants are a mixed group of young Albanian and Serbian journalists who have completed BIRN’s primary journalism training course.

The training will be led by BIRN’s development and editorial director Gordana Igric and investigations coordinator Hugh Griffiths, together with BIRN Serbia director Dragana Nikolic-Solomon.

The workshop comprises theoretical and practical training modules that equip trainees with the tools they need to initiate investigations. A number of real reporting projects will subsequently be carried out under the close supervision and mentoring of BIRN staff.

Training will be based on the first seven modules of BIRN’s investigative training programme, including the investigative team concept, the insight method, sourcing, libel issues, sensitive information management, contacts and tip-offs, pursuing inquiries and investigative interview techniques.

This Nis workshop forms part of BIRN’s Serbia & Montenegro Minority and Training project, funded by the British embassy in Belgrade through the UK government’s Global Opportunities Fund (GOF).

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Dragana Nikolic-Solomon

BIRN Kosovo television debates go on air

BIRN this week launches ‘Life in Kosovo,’ a new series of current affairs television programmes for broadcast on RTK.

The first debate, going out on Wednesday October 19 at 22.45, deals with the mood in Kosovo following publication of UN Special Representative Kai Eide’s report on future status talks for the territory.

Emphasis is on prospects for compromise between Albanian and Serb positions, with Kosovar politicians posed tough questions on the upcoming negotiations by members of the public.

Participants include Lufti Haziri, minister for local government, Teuta Sahatqija, a deputy from the ORA party, Professor Enver Hoxhaj, a PDK party deputy and Oliver Ivanovic, head of the Serbian List for Kosovo and Metohija.

BIRN Kosovo director Jeta Xharra will chair the debate.

Investigative reporting training held in Nis

BIRN Serbia and Montenegro held a two-day workshop on investigative reporting on 29-30 October in Nis for Serbian and Albanian journalists from South Serbia.

The event took place as part of a three-year project supported by the British Embassy in Belgrade. The Minority Training and Reporting project, launched earlier this year, extends professional training at introductory and advanced level to journalists from mixed-ethnic areas and minority groups, and publishes reports on issues which affect them.

The Nis workshop marked the advanced phase for project participants who completed a BIRN Primary Level journalism course last October and have since regularly contributed to the Institute for War & Peace Reporting’s Balkan Crisis Report and BIRN’s Balkan Insight.

For more information, please contact Dragana Nikolic-Solomon.

First TV Debate aired

BIRN Kosovo aired the first in its series of TV debates, “Life in Kosovo,” on October 19 on the public service station RTK.

Four politicians from different parties were invited to debate and answer citizens’ questions on final-status negotiations for the province in light of the recent report on standards by the UN special envoy Kai Eide.

They were Lutfi Haziri, minister for local government, Enver Hoxhaj, of the Democratic Party of Kosovo’s parliamentary caucus, Teuta Sahatcija, head of the ORA party parliamentary group, and Oliver Ivanovic, leader of the Serbian List for Kosovo and Metohija.

BIRN Kosovo Director Jeta Xharra, chaired the debate in which question were put to the guests in the form of short reportages by various concerned citizens. The next debate in the series will be aired on 9 November, and will look into the issue of Kosovar identity.

This project is supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy. For further information, contact BIRN Kosovo Director Jeta Xharra.

Training course gets underway

IRN Macedonian started its International Standards Reporting course in Skopje on October 17 with six trainees who were selected after testing.

This course, run along the same lines as previous BIRN courses in Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina combines theoretical teaching with practical training.

Trainees’ work will be published on BIRN’s website, for local and international dissemination, while successful trainees will have an opportunity to become permanent members of BIRN’s investigative teams.

For more information, contact BIRN Macedonia Director Ana Petruseva.

War Crimes Debate in Brcko District

BIRN BiH’s series of Transitional Justice events for civil society leaders continued last week with a round-table debate in Brcko on October 29.

Designed to stimulate dialogue between the new War Crimes Chamber and the public, the event brought together more than 40 representatives of non-governmental organisations, local government, victims associations and lawyers from BiH’s north-east.

The Transitional Justice project is supported by the Swiss embassy in Sarajevo with the assistance of the Office of the Registrar and Prosecution within the State Court of BiH. For more information, please contact Nerma Jelacic.

War Crimes Conference

BIRN BiH is organising a conference on November 10 entitled “In Pursuit of Justice: An overview of progress in the transitional justice system of BiH”.

The conference is the concluding part of the 2005 Transitional Justice Project, run by BIRN to prepare the media and civil society sector in BiH for the start of trials at the State Court of BiH and the transfer of cases from the Hague tribunal, ICTY, to Sarajevo.

Speakers include Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the ICTY, Medzida Kreso, president of the State Court of BiH, Marinko Jurcevic, BiH chief prosecutor, Slobodan Kovac, BiH Minister of Justice, Michael Johnson, chief registrar at the State Court and Nicholas Koumjian, special adviser to the BiH chief prosecutor.

The event, sponsored by the Swiss Embassy in Sarajevo, will take place on November 10 at the Sarajevo Holiday Inn hotel. For more information, contact BIRN’s office in Sarajevo on 033 444 951 or e-mail Nerma Jelacic.

Work on regional TV documentary on Kosovo continues

Work continues on BIRN’s documentary film project, which explores the regional context for, and consequences of, determining Kosovo’s final status.

Over the past four weeks, producer Lode Desmet has worked with BIRN country directors in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo itself in filming, research and interviewing.

Interviews have been conducted with a range of stakeholders in Kosovo’s forthcoming talks. They include Adnan Terzic, the Bosnian Prime minister, Dragan Cavic, President of the Republika Srpska, Sali Berisha, Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, mayor of Tirana, leading Macedonian Albanian politicians Arber Xhafferi and Teuta Arifi, and Artemija, Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Raska-Prizren.

For more information, please contact Anna McTaggart.