“Life in Kosovo” Celebrates First Anniversary

A year after it first went on air, the BIRN-organised "Life in Kosovo"
current affairs TV debate is now one of the most watched programmes in
the region.

The anniversary show will contain highlights of the previous shows, including the best reports, questions and answers.

BIRN will also looked back at some of the issues discussed over the last year and feature a number of follow-ups.

These
will include updates on subjects such as the electricity situation in
Kosovo; changes at Pristina University; and unemployment among skilled
people.

Vjosa Musliu, a participant in the
latter debate, which was broadcast in September, said at the time that
it was impossible for her to find a job. She told the follow-up that
she has since been offered work by four companies.

The last part of the anniversary show is to be dedicated to viewers’ letters – some of the most interesting will be read out.

BIRN Documentary screened at Columbia University

The TV documentary Does Anyone Have a Plan, produced by BIRN, was screened at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University in New York on October 23.

The screening was followed by lively panel discussion in the hall packed with students and others interested in the issue of Kosovo’s final status. Gordana Igric, BIRN Regional Network director, Jeta Xharra, Kosovo BIRN director and Nerma Jelacic, Bosnia and Herzegovina BIRN director answered on subjects ranging from the impact of Serbia’s new constitution and possible consequences of the delays in resolving final status of Kosovo.

Media Im Pakt grant

Media Im Pakt has donated funds to assist BIRN in preparing for the launch of a business newsletter, which will be available to readers on a subscription basis next year. BIRN is currently identifying local journalists and commentators to contribute to the publication.

BIRN film shows in New York and Washington

Gordana Igric , BIRN Regional Network Director, Jeta Xharra BIRN Kosovo Director and Nerma Jelacic, BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina Director will attend the screening of “Does Anyone Have a Plan?”, BIRN’s documentary on Kosovo status issues in New York and Washington.

Produced by BIRN and directed by the award-winning filmmaker Lode Desmet, this documentary focuses on the dilemmas facing 17 ordinary people from Kosovo, Serbia and neighboring countries in the run-up to final status negotiations.

The screening at Harriman Institute at Columbia University in New York is scheduled for October 23, at 6.30 pm and will be followed by a debate.

The showing at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington is to take place on October 27 at 12.30 pm, and will be followed by a panel discussion.

BIRN Romania workshop on ethic issues

Marian Chiriac, BIRN Romania Director, held a workshop on Reporting
Ethnic Diversity on October 21-22 in Miercurea Ciuc (central Romania).

In the workshop, Chiriac introduced trainees to news, news analysis and feature writing, and how to avoid ethnic stereotypes.

He presented them with the a Guide for Fair Reporting on Ethnic Issues. The workshop was part of a three-month programme organised by BIRN Romania and Freedom House, designed to redress the negative representation of the Roma minority in the Romanian mainstream media.

The programme is funded by Romanian National Agency for Roma People, ANR.

BIRN launches project in Albania

As part of efforts to widen the regional scope of its project
activities, BIRN organised two-day workshop on October 4 and 5.

A group of ten Albanian reporters attended the workshop which served as an introduction to BIRN house style and its weekly newsletter Balkan Insight.

Regional Network Director Gordana Igric gave a presentation on international journalism standards, article structure, news analysis and libel laws.

The training session concluded with a discussion of ideas for Balkan Insight articles. Stories dealing with under-reported issues in Albania were commissioned. These will be published in a special issue at the beginning of November.

During her stay in Tirana, Igric also met the editors and management of local media, including Gazeta Shqiptare, Panorama, Korieri and the Albanian Telegraph Agency. They expressed an interest in republishing Balkan Insight articles.

BIRN condemns killing of investigative journalist

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, wishes to add its own expression of shock and deep regret to the widespread expressions of outrage that have greeted the news of the killing of Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia’s most outstanding investigative journalists.

As an organisation founded to promote investigative journalism and – above all – to uphold the wider principle of journalistic freedom – we saw Anna Politkovskaya as an outstanding model. Her extraordinary integrity and bravery were an inspiration to the whole profession.

Her assassination can accordingly be seen only as an attack on
investigative journalism and on freedom of information in general.

Some members of this organisation were privileged to meet
Politkovskaya in person, most recently at Summer school of investigatove Journalism organised by the Center for Investigative Jorunalism in London.

BIRN strongly condemns this murder and adds its voice to all those calling on the Russian authorities to carry out an urgent and intensive investigation of the matter.

New BIRN web sites set for launch this autumn

BIRN is preparing to launch a new network of web sites in September. It will include a new regional portal, a BIRN Kosovo web site, which will host its TV debates amongst other topics, and BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina Justice’s Report.

The programming and designing of the network is the work of Media on Web, MOW, a project established by the Development Loan Fund and the Swedish Helsinki Committee with a view to supporting media development in the western Balkans. After the launch, MOW will work on other BIRN web sites that will host BIRN’s online publication, Balkan Insight, and newsletters that BIRN plans to launch on a partly commercial basis.

Belgrade Training Workshop for Kosovo Journalists

BIRN Serbia organised two-day editorial workshop for Serb and Bosniak journalists living in Kosovo on August 27 and 28.

The workshop, part of Minority Training and Reporting Project funded by British Embassy in Belgrade, will be followed by a special issue of Balkan Insight dedicated to Kosovo’s minorities.

The trainees worked with Gordana Igric, editor-in-chief and BIRN regional director, and Dragana Nikolic Solomon, BIRN Serbia director. Krenar Gashi, BIRN Kosovo assistant editor, also assisted in training process.

The trainees were given advice on writing news analysis and features and they received feedback on the articles they produced in the first round of training.

Following a lively discussion about the political situation in Kosovo and the major issues affecting Serb and Bosniak communities there, BIRN editors and journalists were able to identify topics for Balkan Insight articles and develop their structure and focus.

Around seven articles and an investigation will be published as part of a special issue for Balkan Insight in September.

Following publication of the special issue, BIRN trainees will have an opportunity to spend a week working in major Belgrade media outlets, in order to expand their contacts and receive practical journalistic experience.

The journalists will have a choice of working on either RTV B92 or the newspapers Blic daily, Vreme weekly and Danas.

Arsenije Dunic, young journalist from the Goradzevac enclave, said he enjoyed the practical nature of the training, “This kind of training is very useful to me, since it is concrete and can be immediately implemented in every day work. This training is also helpful since there is little theory and the focus is on journalistic practice.”