BIRN Holds Transitional Justice Reporting Course in Ukraine

A two-day training course on how to report transitional justice issues, organised by BIRN Hub and Hromadske, was held in the Ukrainian capital from March 4-6 as part of BIRN’s Transitional Justice Programme – Justice Report Ukraine.

Ten journalists – five fellows awarded through the BIRN’s grant scheme and five journalists from Hromadske – were trained by BIRN’s international pool of editors to understand the full breadth of transitional justice topics and to develop techniques to cover them.

The course included guidance on the sources used for transitional justice stories, video storytelling in transitional justice, and writing in-depth features on the issue. The journalists then had an opportunity to pitch stories and discuss them with the trainers and the other participants.

The aim of the project is to strengthen in-depth reporting on transitional justice, in order to contribute to a more informed citizenry that is engaged in the democratic process, while the journalists are assisted to build skills and knowledge to cover topics related to conflict, truth, justice, accountability, memory, institutional reform and other issues related to transitional justice.

15 applicants benefit from BIRN’s-EU funded grant scheme

Out of 46 applications by non-governmental and media organisations and individuals, 15 of the submitted proposals have been selected for BIRN’s Medium and Small Grant Scheme, funded by the European Union.

Through this project, named “Support to Civil Society and Media Initiatives”, BIRN aims to improve the overall accountability and transparency of institutions, as well as promote human rights through the stories, documentaries and other journalistic work of the applicants.

The grant scheme is designed to contribute to strengthening independent, investigative and publicly beneficial journalism and freedom of expression in Kosovo, and will provide 13 applicants with small grants of 5,000 euros or less, and two applicants with medium grants, which range from 20,000 to 30,000 euros.

The total amount of the money to be awarded to the grantees as part of the scheme reached 103, 636.50 euros.

The grantees were selected by a professional jury, which met for the first time on January 22 to evaluate the 46 applicants. The jury evaluated 41 applications that fulfilled the eligibility criteria, while during the meeting each member of the jury presented their evaluations for each individual applicant, their comments and then a discussion ensued.

Their decision was based upon the relevance of the proposed actions and activities, creativity, quality of the financial offer, the project team’s potential and previous experience of the applicant.

The objective for the selected applicants will be to contribute to the development of investigative journalism and freedom of expression, increasing the skills of media professionals in monitoring, fact-checking and accountability across Kosovo for the public benefit. The selected projects will engage in a variety of activities including capacity building, investigative reporting, the production of documentaries, analysis of public documents and will address issues related to freedom of expression, protection of minority rights, women’s rights and the fight against corruption.

13 applicants from the selected list were awarded grants from Lot 1, Supporting document-based reporting on themes related to good governance, education, environment, economy, local governance and human rights, and 2 applicants selected were awarded grants from Lot 2, one concerned with combating high-level corruption,  and the other promoting and protecting the rights of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities.

All applicants received individual replies about their application, which also included an evaluation form with points and comments from the jury.

Below is attached the list of the successful applicants of the Call for Proposals for the Medium and Small Grant Scheme package to “Contribute to strengthening independent, investigative and publicly beneficial journalism and freedom of expression in Kosovo” project.

List of awarded grantees


15 kandidatë përfitojnë nga skema e granteve të BIRN, financuar nga BE

Prej 46 aplikacioneve nga organizata të ndryshme joqeveritare, organizata mediale dhe individë, 15 nga propozimet e paraqitura janë përzgjedhur për Skemën e Granteve të Mesme dhe të Vogla të BIRN-it, financuar nga Bashkimi Evropian.

Nëpërmjet këtij projekti, të quajtur “Përkrahja për Shoqërinë Civile dhe Iniciativat nga Mediat”, BIRN synon të përmirësojë llogaridhënien e përgjithshme dhe transparencën e institucioneve, si dhe të promovojë të drejtat e njeriut përmes tregimeve, dokumentarëve dhe punëve të tjera gazetareske të kandidatëve.

Skema e këtij granti është projektuar që të kontribuojë në forcimin e një gazetarie të pavarur, hetuese dhe me dobi publike si dhe lirinë e shprehjes në Kosovë si dhe do ti  pajisë 13 kandidatë me grante të vogla, në shumën prej 5,000 Euro ose më pak, dhe dy kandidatë me grante të mesme, shuma e të cilave do të jetë nga 20,000 deri në 30,000 Euro.

Shuma totale e të hollave që do t’u ndahen përfituesve të granteve si pjesë e skemës ka arritur në 103, 636.50 Euro.

Përfituesit e granteve u përzgjodhën nga një juri profesionale, e cila u takua për herë të parë më 22 janar për të vlerësuar të 46 kandidatët. Juria vlerësoi 41 aplikacione që përmbushën kriteret e pranueshmërisë, ndërsa gjatë takimit secili anëtar i jurisë paraqiti vlerësimet e tyre për secilin kandidat individual, komentet e tyre dhe pastaj vazhdohej me diskutime.

Vendimi i tyre bazohej në rëndësinë e veprimeve dhe aktiviteteve të propozuara, kreativitetit, cilësisë së ofertës financiare, potencialit të ekipit të projektit dhe përvojës së mëparshme të kandidatit.

Qëllimi i kandidatëve të përzgjedhur do të jetë të kontribuojnë në zhvillimin e gazetarisë hulumtuese dhe lirisë së shprehjes, duke rritur aftësitë e profesionistëve medialë në monitorimin, kontrollin e fakteve dhe llogaridhënien në Kosovë për të mirën e publikut.

Projektet e përzgjedhura do të angazhohen në një sërë aktivitetesh duke përfshirë ndërtimin e kapaciteteve, raportimin hetimor, prodhimin e dokumentarëve, analizën e dokumenteve publike dhe do të trajtojë çështjet që kanë të bëjnë me lirinë e shprehjes, mbrojtjen e të drejtave të pakicave, të drejtat e grave dhe luftën kundër korrupsionit.

13 kandidatë nga lista e përzgjedhur kanë përfituar nga Pjesa 1, dokumenti mbështetës-bazuar në raportime mbi temat që lidhen me qeverisjen e mirë, arsimin, mjedisin, ekonominë, qeverisjen lokale dhe të drejtat e njeriut, dhe dy kandidatë janë përzgjedhur përfitues nga Pjesa 2, njëri prej tyre ka të bëjë me luftimin e korrupsionit të nivelit të lartë, ndërsa tjetri ka të bëjë me promovimin dhe mbrojtjen e të drejtave të komunitetit rom, ashkali dhe egjiptian.

Të gjithë kandidatët pranuan përgjigje individuale rreth aplikimit të tyre, ku po ashtu përfshihej edhe një formular vlerësimi me pikat dhe komentet nga juria.

Më poshtë mund ta gjeni të bashkangjitur listën e kandidatëve të suksesshëm të Thirrja për Propozime për Paketën e Skemës së granteve të Mesme dhe të Vogla në projektin “Kontributi për fuqizimin e gazetarisë së pavarur, hulumtuese dhe për të mirën publike si dhe lirisë së shprehjes në Kosovë.”

Lista e perfituesve te granteve


15 kandidata dobitnici šeme grantova BIRN-a, koju finansira EU

Od 46 prijava nevladinih i medijskih organizacija i pojedinaca, 15 predloga izabrano je za Šemu malih i srednjih grantova BIRN-a, koju je finansijski omogućila Evropska unija.

Ovim projektom koji nosi naziv „Podrška građanskom društvu i medijskim inicijativama”, BIRN ima za cilj da poboljša opštu odgovornost i transparentnost institucija i da promoviše ljudska prava kroz objavljivanje novinarskih priča, dokumentarnih filmova i drugih novinarskih radova kandidata.

Šema grantova je osmišljena tako da doprinese jačanju nezavisnog, istraživačkog novinarstva za dobrobit javnosti i slobode izražavanja na Kosovu i obezbeđuje male grantove u iznosu do 5,000 evra za 13 kandidata, dok će dva kandidata  dobiti srednje grantove, čija se vrednost kreće u rasponu od 20,000 do 30,000 evra.

Ukupan iznos novca koji će se dodeliti dobitnicima grantova, u sklopu ove šeme, dostigao je 103, 636.50 evra.

Dobitnike grantova  izabrao je profesionalni žiri, koji se sastao prvi put 22. januara da proceni svih 46 kandidata. Žiri je procenio 41 prijavu koja je ispunjavala formalne kriterijume, dok je tokom sastanka svaki član žirija predstavio svoje ocene i komentare za svakog kandidata pojedinačno, nakon čega je nastavljeno sa diskusijom.

Njihova odluka je zasnovana na značaju predloženih radnji i aktivnosti, kreativnosti, kvalitetu njihove finansijske ponude, potencijalu projektnog tima i prethodnom iskustvu kandidata.

Cilj izabranih kandidata biće da doprinesu razvoju istraživačkog novinarstva i slobode izražavanja, podizanjem veština medijskih stručnjaka na praćenju, proveri činjenica i odgovornosti na Kosovu, za dobrobit javnosti.

Izabrani projekti će biti uključeni u niz aktivnosti, među kojima one o izgradnji kapaciteta, istraživačkom izveštavanju, izradi dokumentaraca, analizi javnih dokumenata i pozabaviće se pitanjima u vezi sa slobodom izražavanja, zaštitom prava manjinskih zajednica, žena i borbom protiv korupcije.

13 kandidata sa izabrane liste su dobitnici grantova iz Lot. 1: Izveštavanje o temama u vezi sa dobrom upravom, obrazovanjem, životnom sredinom, privredom, lokalnom upravom i ljudskim pravima, a dva kandidata su izabrana za dobitnike Lot 2: Jedan od njih se bavi suzbijanjem korupcije visokog nivoa, dok se drugi bavi promovisanjem i zaštitom prava zajednica Roma, Aškalija i Egipćana.

Svi kandidati su dobili individualne odgovore u vezi sa prijavama, što je takođe podrazumevalo i obrazac procene sa bodovima i komentarima žirija.

U nastavku možete naći listu uspešnih kandidata u sklopu Poziva za podnošenje predloga za paket šeme malih i srednjih subvencija na projektu „Doprinos jačaju nezavisnog, istraživačkog novinarstva za dobrobit javnosti i slobode izražavanja na Kosovu.”

Lista dobitnika subvencija

Resonant Voices Fellows Selected

Twelve journalists, activists and researchers will spend the upcoming months exploring the many facets of radicalisation and violent extremism in the EU and neighbouring states to help chart a more secure and inclusive future.

We are pleased to announce our very first group of Resonant Voices Fellows who will start working on their topics development during the upcoming workshop in Berlin. Over the next six to nine months, Aggelos AndreouYiannis BabouliasMirza BuljubasicMichael Colborne,  Dimitar Ganev, Barbora Hola, Akos Keller-Alant, Nenad RadicevicAleksandar RoknicEbi SpahiuKatarina Tadic and Eleonora Vio will conduct research, collect stories and untangle the web of influences to expose and challenge extremist messaging targeting vulnerable audiences.

The selected Fellows will look at more than 15 different countries in the EU and its immediate neighbourhood and will cover a wide range of topics. The research will track the evolution of links, networks and cooperation between extremist groups across borders, investigate disinformation campaigns run by governments and extremist groups and their effects on polarisation and radicalisation, analyse narratives of victimisation and injustice among Western Balkans diaspora communities and examine inter-generational transmission of war legacies.

The Resonant Voices Fellows will shed light on extremist messaging and evolving transnational radicalising influences eroding the fabric of our society and undermining our values. Their work will also contribute to vital communication strategies and targeted outreach as a means to combat these threats.

Learn more about the Resonant Voices Initiative and follow the work of RVI Fellows.

BIRN Publishes Western Balkans Stability Monitor

The Western Balkans Stability Monitor is a new product from BIRN Consultancy, a part of the BIRN network, offering institutions and individuals relevant information from the region.

The Stability Monitor analyses developments and trends with an eye on events that have the potential to destabilise countries, governments, societies or the fragile region itself.

As well as from providing analysis of what is going on, it also offers insights into where individual countries, societies and the region are heading, with a focus on developments that have the potential to destabilise.

BIRN’s regional team worked together with analysts to produce the first issue at the end of 2018 in order to give readers a taste of what we will be offering in 2019.

The Western Balkans Stability Monitor covers Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, and will be published on a bi-monthly basis.

Contact BIRN Consultancy at [email protected] to find out more and subscribe.

UK Govt Declines Comment on Arms Shipments Reported by BIRN

The British Government declined to comment on whether it will prosecute the brokers responsible for shipping ammunition from Bosnia to Saudi Arabia, as revealed in an article published by BIRN last year.

The government said it “cannot comment on individuals or companies that have previously been, or are currently being investigated”.

“HM Revenue and Customs, on behalf of the Government, investigates all credible allegations of strategic export control offences, which can proceed to a full criminal investigation. HMRC investigators will recommend prosecution when and where there is clear evidence of a serious criminal offence,” the government wrote in an answer to a question raised by the Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

In his question, Russell-Moyle cited BIRN’s last year’s article, according to which the UK failed to warn Sarajevo that almost 30 million Bosnian-made bullets sold to Saudi Arabia would end up in the wrong hands.

The deal was brought to the UK’s attention because two British-based brokers had requested – and were eventually refused – licences to mediate in the Bosnia-Saudi deal.

Though Bosnian officials said they had no record of a broker being involved in the export, a BIRN investigation has established the shipment that left Bosnia in two parts in November 2015 and January 2016, with the approval of Sarajevo, matched the deal for which the UK refused brokering licences in terms of timing, quantity, origin, destination and type of ammunition.

Following BIRN’s investigation into the deal, the British parliament’s committee on arms export controls requested internal correspondence related to the shipment of ammunition from Bosnia to Saudi Arabia.

The committee said it would write a formal letter outlining the information it needs as part of an inquiry into UK arms licences issued in 2016.

CSOs as Equal Partners in Monitoring Public Finances

BIRN Kosovo

Although CSOs in the Western Balkans have been implementing diverse activities related to public finance and financial institutions, these activities have not been systematically conducted.

Summary

Within the region the influence of CSOs in policy and decision making on public finance is poor. Therefore, CSOs recognized the growing need for systematic monitoring of public finance and financial institutions. The existing know-how in the region can be upgraded through the sharing and transfer among various shareholders.

Information Sheet

Donor:

European Commission

Main Objective:

The overall objective of the action is to improve the accountability and transparency of the public finance in seven targeted countries by strengthening the CSOs role and voice in monitoring the institutions’ performance in the area of public finance.

Specific Objective:

Strengthening regional CSO knowledge and capacity to monitor public finances and build know-how in advocating for transparency and accountability of public finance among the 10 partners and 80 other CSOs in the region

Establish networking and cooperation platform of CSOs and other actors on monitoring of public finance at local, regional and EU level.

Strengthen CSO watchdog and advocacy role.

Main Activities:

  • Sharing of know-how
  • Networking
  • WP3 Monitoring / watchdog
  • Advocacy
  • Communication
  • Organizational capacity building

Target Groups:

  • Civil society organisations,
  • Public authorities,
  • Media

Main implementer:

Foundation Wings of Hope (Leading Partner – Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Donor:

BIRN Kosovo, Za Zamiata (Bulgaria), Fractal (Serbia), CEKOR (Serbia), NVO MANS (Montenegro), Analytica (Macedonia), EnaBana (Slovenia), FOCUS (Slovenia), Center for Ecology and Energy (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Supporting Civil Society to Increase Public Oversight and Accountability of Kosovo Public Institutions

BIRN Kosovo

Promoting the watchdog function of local CSOs and good governance, transparency and accountability of public institutions.

Summary

Promoting the watchdog function of local CSOs and good governance, transparency and accountability of public institutions in the following areas:  recruitment processes across public institutions, including the judiciary;  handling of public procurement contracts;  compliance of tax inspectors with professional standards and conflict of interest legislation; and  compliance of targeted institutions with recommendations of the Auditor General Reports.

Information Sheet

Donor:

British Embassy in Pristina

Main Objective:

Increased transparency on the implementation of the EU-backed Kosovo-Serbia agreement that specifically affects the lives of citizens at the local level through producing and publishing accurate information for the public.

Main Objective:

  • To increase citizens’ awareness and accountability from public institutions regarding auditing processes, recruitment, and tax administration.

Target Groups:

To increase citizens’ awareness and  accountability from public institutions regarding auditing processes, recruitment, and tax administration.

Target Groups:

Identification of cases of violations of open and fair recruitment processes in public institutions.

Information related to recruitment processes is made available to raise public awareness.

Identificating violations related to corruption, tax evasion, informal economy activities, and conflict of interest; Analysis of the current situation and identification of legal changes needed;

Analysis of 2014 to 2017 National Audit Reports for all targeted institutions

BIG Deal – Monitoring of the Implementation of the Brussels Agreement

BIRN Kosovo

Supporting the monitoring of the Brussels agreement between Kosovo and Serbia and ensuring a transparent and accountable leadership.

Summary

Supporting the monitoring of the Brussels agreement between Kosovo and Serbia and ensuring a transparent and accountable leadership.

Information Sheet

Donor:

The Balkan Trust for Democracy – BTD

Main Objective:

Increased transparency on the implementation of the EU-backed Kosovo-Serbia agreement that specifically affects the lives of citizens at the local level through producing and publishing accurate information for the public.

Specific Objectives: 

  • Shaping attitudes in order for the community to create a permissive environment for successful prevention of violent extremism;
  • Encourage public participation in prevention of violent extremism and the process of building resilience.

Main Activities:

  • Monitoring the progress reached in the implementation of the Brussels agreement. All findings will be published as part of the BIG DEAL initiative and will be disseminated across local, regional and international stakeholders;
  • Publishing news in Albaninan, Serbian and English regarding the implementation of the agreement, generated by researching and monitoring activities on a bi-monthly basis;
  • Producing and publishing TV programs on justice integration and the association of the municipalities.

Target Groups:

  • Negotiators,
  • Decision makers
  • Civil Society

Highlights:

By providing more information to the citizens regarding the dialogue, they will become part of the decision making process, which will improve the relationship between communities in Kosovo and will create a safer environment. All commuities of Kosovo will be involved and will gain knowledge while criticizing, supporting, and pushing for a better implementation of the Brussels Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.

Monitoring the Public Consultation Process at Government Level 2018

BIRN Kosovo

BIRN Kosovo, through this initiative, is engaged in monitoring Kosovo’s judicial system.

Summary

BIRN Kosovo monitors the public consultation process for relevant government documents developed during 2018 and report on monitoring outcomes.

Information Sheet

Donor:

Kosovo Civil Society Foundation (KCSF)

Main Objective:

Pressure on the Government of Kosovo during the decision-making process and policy-making to increase the participation of the civil society in the involved processes for the benefit of citizens

Specific Objectives: 

  • Shaping attitudes in order for the community to create a permissive environment for successful prevention of violent extremism;
  • Encourage public participation in prevention of violent extremism and the process of building resilience.

Main Activities:

  • Undertaking monitoring
  • Communicating with the respective governmental unit to anticipate the starting time and expected results of the process;

Target Groups:

  • Public Institutions;
  • Civil Society;
  • Media Outlets.

Eraldin Fazliu

Eraldin Fazliu is the editor-in-chief of Prishtina Insight. He has been working in journalism since 2015 covering mostly politics and social issues.

Eraldin completed his Master’s on ‘European Politics’ at the Masaryk University in the Czech Republic in 2014. Through his studies Eraldin became interested in the EU’s external policies, particularly in promotion of the rule of law externally.