The Life in Kosovo TV debate broadcast discussed women in Islam

Amongst the subjects raised during the discussion on Friday, June 1, were how women are perceived by their families and society and the barriers and challenges a veiled woman has to face in her everyday life.

These issues were discussed by the following panelists:

Visare Gorani-Gashi – Kosovo prime minister’s office;
Zake Prelvukaj – painter;
Besa Ismajli – interpreter;
Suela Dibra – psychologist;
Idriz Kosova – theologian.

After the broadcast, BIRN received over 70 emails from the audience concerning the show.

Life in Kosovo is a TV debate produced by BIRN and moderated by BIRN Kosovo director Jeta Xharra. Radio Television of Kosovo, RTK, broadcasts this show every Friday starting at 20.15.

Life in Kosovo: Women and Islam

This Friday’s Life in Kosovo show will discuss women’s role in Islam and the importance of wearing a scarf.

Among the subjects to be raised in the programme will be how women are perceived by their families and society. It will also address the barriers and challenges a veiled women has to face.

To discuss these issues, the show has invited the following panelists.

Visare Gorani-Gashi – Kosovo Prime Minister’s Office;
Zake Prelvukaj – painter;
Besa Ismajli – interpreter;
Suela Dibra – psychologist;
Idriz Kosova – theologian.

Life in Kosovo is broadcast every Friday on RTK, starting at 20:15.

Life in Kosovo Talks to Top Politicians

Kosovos topical debate show is to broadcast exclusive interviews with international political figures this Friday.

The interviews featured in the programme were conducted in the United States and Britain.

The interviewees include:

Geoff Hoon – the UK’s Minister for Europe;
Rolf Meyer – a leading player in the negotiation process that ended Apartheid in South Africa;
Ashraf Ghani – former minister of finance in Afghanistan; and
Skender Hyseni – a spokesman for Kosovo’s unity team.

Life in Kosovo is broadcast every Friday on RTK, starting at 20:15.

Vienna Hosts First Fellowship Seminar

Ten journalists selected for 2007’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence will be introduced to the programme next week at a seminar in Vienna. The event, organised by the Erste Foundation and hosted by the Fellowship’s Austrian media partner, Der Standard, runs from 27-31 May.

Over these four days, the fellows, who hail from all over the Balkans, shall get to know one another, as well as the components of the Fellowship programme, its staff, activities and procedures.

Group and individual training sessions shall help to hone their professional approach to research and writing and improve their understanding of European affairs, while meetings with a variety of journalists, editors, experts and politicians should inspire new approaches to understanding the topics they have chosen to research over the next few months, and provide them with an insight into the way in which media work in the European Union.

Click here to see the full schedule for the Vienna seminar.

More information on the Fellowship programme can be found on its website.

The Fellowship is an initiative of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Erste Foundation, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN.

Life in Kosovo: May Highlights

The highlight of Life in Kosovo this month was the episode which featured exclusive interviews with Madeleine Albright, the former US Secretary of State; the three members of the Kosovo Negotiating Team, namely Fatmir Sejdiu, president of Kosovo, Agim Ceku, prime minister, Hashim Thaçi, leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo; and Haki Abazi from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The interviews were conducted at the conference “Creation of a strategy for the first 120 days of Kosovo” held at Rockefeller Estate in Pocantico, from April 12-14.

During the interview with Albright, the former US official talked about Kosovo’s troubled past and the future challenges that its leaders and people will face during the state- and nation-building process.

“Governing is very different [to] fighting to govern,” said Albright. “It requires compromise, and understanding about what the population needs; it requires transparency and accountability and a lot of hard work, steady hard work.”

In his interview, Sejdiu said, “Our priority is to work on the constitution of Kosovo. The main emphasis here lies on writing laws.”

Ceku made clear that after independence, the only important thing is to counter possible threats from Serbia.

“The second priority is the constitution of Kosovo, as well as the whole legislation that derives from the Ahtisaari package,” said the prime minister.

Thaci insisted that Kosovo’s prioroty was the “economy, offering new employment opportunities…We shouldn’t wait for miracles. We have to  work hard and to take on huge responsibilities.

“We have to work together, to have a clear vision of what kind of state we want Kosovo to become”.

Abazi explained that in order to attract foreign investors, Kosovo has to cast itself in difference light – as part of a regional market.

This episode of Life in Kosovo was broadcast on May 4, on RTK, Kosovo’s public television.

Another episode of Life in Kosovo featured an additional exclusive interview with Mehmet Gjevori, conducted shortly before the death of the well-known author of works on education and linguistics.

Gjevori, one of Kosovo’s most prominent authors and educationalists, talks in the interview about his decision to leave Albania, his home country, and come to Kosovo to open Albanian schools at a time when illiteracy amongst the Kosovo Albanian population was as high as 90 per cent.

The episode was broadcast on May 11 on RTK.

Life in Kosovo this month also debated the alarming increase in violence among high school students.

The following were invited to take part in the debate: Zijadin Gashi, Regional Education Inspector; Rrustem Buzhala from the Directorate for Education for the municipality of Pristina; Isa Xhemajli from the Kosovo Police Service; Jahë Sahiti, Director of the School of Economics in Pristina; Shaip Hasani, Sociology Professor; and Fisnik Osmani, President of Pristina’s High Schools Student Council.

The episode will be broadcast on May 18.

BIRN Launches News Section IN BRIEF

BIRN is pleased to
announce the launch of its new editorial strand IN BRIEF. This section contains
short daily news items from each of the Balkan countries hosting BIRN local

aim of IN BRIEF is to cover political, economic and social events and developments
of international importance in the Balkans and give them an analytical spin.
The news will be published only in English.

BIRN will continue to publish its weekly online magazine Balkan Insight, which
will still carry longer and more in-depth analyses, investigations and
features. Articles will no longer be translated in all the local languages.
National and regional media are encouraged to translate and republish them.

BIRN Organises Media Training for War Crimes Reporting

BIRN and the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, last month organised two seminars on reporting about the work of the ICTY for journalists from Kosovo and Macedonia in Pristina and Skopje.

The seminars, held on April 10 in Pristina and April 11 in Skopje, were designed as an opportunity for media professionals from Kosovo and Macedonia to discuss various issues related to the ICTY and the coverage of war crimes with Tribunal officials and experts on war crimes reporting. 
The seminars were divided into six sessions with presentations from Olga Kavran, spokeswoman for the tribunal prosecution; Refik Hodzic, spokesperson for the tribunal registry; Nerma Jelacic, BIRN`s BIH director, Bronwyn Jones, tribunal liaison officer in Pristina; and journalist Christian Jennings. David Blunt from the UK office in Pristina and British ambassador to Macedonia Robert Chatterton Dickson opened the event in Pristina and Skopje respectively.       
Editors and journalists from major outlets in Kosovo, including Iliria Post, Koha Ditore, Info Press, Zeri, Lajm and Kosova Sot dailies and RTK, KTV, RTV 21, and ALSAT TV stations covered the event.
In Macedonia, some 40 editors and journalists from media across the ethnic divide were represented, including Dnevnik, Utrinski vesnik, Vest, Fakti, Spic dailies, Mia and Makfax news agencies, Telma, MRTV, A1, Sitel, Kanal 5, Alsat TV stations, Macedonian state radio and Channel 77 radio and Forum plus and Globus weeklies.   
The events were an opportunity for media from Kosovo and Macedonia to discuss ongoing trials in The Hague; the role of ICTY; and exchange opinions and experiences and how to access better tribunal-related information.
The events were organised by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, in cooperation with ICTY Outreach and with financial support from the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
As a follow up event, BIRN Macedonia organised an additional two days of training for Macedonian journalists. It aimed to provide those covering the trial of Macedonia`s former interior minister Ljube Boskovski, and the return of four cases from the tribunal to the Macedonian courts, an opportunity to gain an insight into   International Humanitarian Law, court reporting, amongst other subjects.
The event was organised by BIRN Macedonia on April 12 and 13 with support from the British embassy in Skopje.

East Serbia BIRN Training Event

On May 21 – 22, the BIRN Serbia team will travel to East Serbia to interview potential candidates for the BIRN correspondent network.

The network in Serbia includes young and middle-aged journalists from a range of ethnic backgrounds, who work for local media outlets and national media in Belgrade.

As part of its efforts to build a truly nationwide network of journalists, BIRN Serbia is to launch a training course in East Serbia on June 9. Participants will be taught international reporting standards, news analyses and feature writing.

This training session will be followed by a special issue of Balkan Insight devoted to the socio-political situation in East Serbia, an underdeveloped area, blighted by a bad economy, unsuccessful privatization and ecological problems.

This session, sponsored by the British Embassy in Belgrade as part of a three- year journalism training project, will provide a group of five journalists with invaluable opportunities to adopt BIRN’s professional standards and become permanent members of its netw

BIRN Bulgaria Praised for Minority Reporting Workshop

BIRN Bulgaria has successfully completed the first phase of its
three-month long Reporting on Minorities project. The main event was a
three-day workshop which took place May 8-10 in Sofia. The six Bulgarian
journalists from national, regional and ethnic media who participated gave
the workshop positive feedback and found it very useful and interesting.

During the event, the journalists met Andrew Lam, a writer and editor of New America Media – the largest national online collaboration of ethnic news organisations in the US. Lam discussed the different aspects of the ethnic minorities’ development in the US and the role of mainstream and minority media.

"Even though [his presentation] concerned completely different regions in the world, the process of the establishment of ethnic media [in the US] can serve as a showcase and a source from which to learn when considering the situation in Bulgaria," said participant Beynur Suleyman, a reporter at Zaman weekly.

BIRN Bulgaria Director Albena Shkodrova presented a case study of the way Bulgarian mainstream media dealt with a controversial historical project in the last few weeks, outlining positive and negative practices. Another workshop presentation, by RFE/RL journalist and writer Tatyana Vaksberg, focused on the role played by the media during the Rwandan genocide and the war in former Yugoslavia. Lastly, oriental scholar Velin Belev offered some background on the history of Islam and discussed the different Muslim communities that currently reside in Bulgaria.

The workshop was "very useful. For three days I learned as much as one learns in the course of years on these specific issues. It will directly reflect in my work. Above all, [it motivated me] to learn with maximum tolerance and desire about other ethnic groups," said participant Iskra Sotirova, a correspondent with the daily 24 chassa.

BIRN Wins Kosovo Journalism Award

A BIRN investigative report has won a top journalism prize in Kosovo.

"Ex-Policemen Run Kosovo Passport Scam", an investigative report by Krenar Gashi and BIRN investigative team, published in BIRN’s Balkan Insight, was named best story in printed/online journalism in Kosovo for 2006, by the Association of Professional Journalists of Kosova, APJK, on May 11.

A professional jury consisted of top journalists from local and international media, such as the BBC and VOA, selected Gashi’s story from 30 nominations in this category.

The award was presented by Ramiz Kelmendi, a pioneer of Kosovo journalism.
"The structure of the story is just perfect and it provides many new and interesting facts for the readers," said Besim Abazi, VOA correspondent from Kosovo and a member of the jury, after announcing Gashi as the winner.
"The topic was crucial, relevant and really appealing," he added.
The investigation published in Balkan Insight on December 1 2006, came as a result of successful co-operation between BIRN Kosovo and BIRN Serbia and revealed an illegal trade in passports, run by ex-policemen who work with organised
crime groups
The BIRN investigation published in Balkan Insight on December 1 2006, revealed an illegal trade in passports, run by ex-policemen who work with organised crime groups.
APJK also presented awards for the best televised story, best radio story and best correspondent of the year.