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.”

Investigative journalism talk at City University

Gordana Igric, BIRN Regional Director, lectured about the challenges of investigative journalism in the City University in London on 22 July.

Igric focused on how to report particularly in cases of grave human rights violations such as rape, war crimes, torture and ethnic cleansing.

An audience of 70 students was shown Igric’s investigative report in which she went to Foca to look for and find the war crimes suspect living freely in the Bosnian town, where he had raped and enslaved many Bosnian Muslim women during the conflict.

In the award-winning TV report, shot in 1997, Igric is seen knocking on doors in Foca apartment blocks until she finds the suspected criminal, who many women victims had named, and whose confession to some of the crimes was shot with a secret camera.

When Gavin MacFadyen, Director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, spoke about covert reporting, he said: “Being this direct with war criminals as Igric was on the film, asking them how many people they killed, is extremely brave – I would never dare to do that.”

The session, which was followed by talks from Anna Politkovskaia, a Russian journalist working in human rights violations in Chechnya, and Alfred McCoy, a historian who spoke on reporting about torture and its definitions through different conflicts in history.

Ana Petruseva, from BIRN Macedonia and Jeta Xharra, Krenar Gashi and Casey Cooper Johnson from BIRN Kosovo, attended the training.

The investigative journalism summer school was organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

For more information on the topics covered during the training go to link..

Discussion on Sandzak at the Media Centre Belgrade

BIRN Serbia is holding a panel discussion “Political Fallout and Future of Sandzak”, at the Media Centre Belgrade, on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 , at 14:00.

The fierce conflict between Sandzak’s two strongest Bosniak parties – The Party of Democratic Action, SDA and Sandzak Democratic Party, SDP, whose roots can be traced back to the mid-nineties, recently reached a climax following the murder of a candidate running for a seat in the local assembly of Novi Pazar.

The murder helped to thrust this troubled region, on which Belgrade imposed an interim local government earlier this year, again into the limelight.

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (www.birn.eu.com), together with its panel guests and audience, intend their discussion, “Political Fallout and Future of Sandzak”, to come up with dynamic and realistic proposals aimed at resolving tensions in the region.

A wide-ranging discussion will include, among other points, the role of the Serbian government in the conflict, the behaviour of the local media and the impact of dysfunctional local authorities on the lives of ordinary people.

Panel discussion moderator

Dragana Nikolić-Solomon, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network

Participants

Jelica Minić, Associate of the Institute of Economic Science in Serbia

Hannelore Valier, Head of Democratisation, OSCE

Aida Ćorović, Urban IN

Ishak Slezović, Editor of Radio 100 Plus

James Lyon, Senior Balkan Analyst, Crisis Group

Mehmed Slezović, Sandzak Intellectual Circle