BIRN to hold discussion on regional economic cooperation in Sarajevo

A panel discussion on regional economic cooperation organised by BIRN and the Foreign Investments Promotion Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, FIPA, will be held at the Radon Plaza Hotel, Sarajevo on June 19, 2007 at 13:00. The panel discussion – Competitors or Allies in Investments, will be preceded by a BIRN training and reporting event for economic journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the surrounding region, supported by the British Embassy in Sarajevo.

The discussion will feature two panels:

– Are BiH stock exchanges doing enough to stimulate foreign investment?
– Competition or Cooperation: Finding an Optimal Balance for the Growth of Balkan Economies.

For the complete agenda and a list of panellists please visit this link

To participate in the event please contact Dusica L.I. Cook at [email protected].

Life in Kosovo program on the final status received over 150 viewers’ calls

The resolution of Kosovo’s final status and how to go about it was the topic of this week’s Life in Kosovo TV debate show.

The show was broadcast live on Radio Television of Kosovo, RTK, and the audience had the chance address questions to the following panelists.

David Blunt – head of the British liaison office in Pristina
Ardian Gjini – environment minister
Avni Arifi- advisor to the prime minister
Dukagjin Gorani – political analyst
Berat Buzhala – chief editor of the daily newspaper Express

Over 150 people phoned up with questions during the show, some of which were read out on air.

Life in Kosovo, a BIRN-organised TV debate, is moderated by BIRN Kosovo Director Jeta Xharra and is broadcast on RTK every Friday from 20.15.

BIRN and the Dart Centre Team up to Train the Trainers in Trauma

BIRN’s leadership team from across the Balkans is spending two days’ training in the Croatian resort of Opatija in the reporting and journalistic experience of trauma and extreme human distress.

With war crimes trials underway in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the European arm of the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma (www.dartcentre.org) is supporting BIRN with training, materials and expertise as part of a programme to shift journalistic culture in the region towards a more sophisticated and educated understanding of how psychological trauma impacts on post-conflict societies – and how journalists can be best supported in reporting the aftermath of war.

The training is being led by the Dart Centre’s European Director Mark Brayne, a former BBC and Reuters foreign correspondent and now a practising psychotherapist, and brings together eight of BIRN’s country directors, from Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Montenegro.

The Opatija workshop is the latest in a series of Dart Centre initiatives on trauma in the Balkans, including a seminar last month in Palic, Serbia (http://www.dartcenter.org/global/europe/reports/Palic_OSCE_Seminar.html) , with Serbian journalists covering the current war crimes trials in Belgrade.

First Fellowship Seminar Concluded in Vienna

The first seminar for ten journalists selected for 2007’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence was held from 27-31 May in Vienna.

The seminar was organised by the Erste Foundation and hosted by the Fellowship’s Austrian Media Partner, the Vienna-based Der Standard newspaper.

Over these four days, the fellows from Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and Serbia, attended group and individual sessions where they discussed the reporting they are to undertake as part of the programme. Training also helped journalists to sharpen their professional approach to research and writing and to improve their understanding of European affairs.

In addition, the fellows were given the opportunity to meet journalists and editors from Der Standard newspaper and Der Standard online, while presentations related to the topics of their research were given by experts and politicians from The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, Institute for Human Sciences, Erste Bank, European Stability Initiative and Citizens’ Pact for Southeast Europe.

Over the next few months, the fellows will hold individual research trips to other countries in the region and to the EU, followed by a seminar and award ceremony in Berlin in November.

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.

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
offices.

The
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.