Life in Kosovo Discusses Symbols

This Friday, the Life in Kosovo show will discuss one of the most emotive issues in Kosovo – national symbols.

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When will Kosovo have new national symbols? Who will decide on the issue? Will the symbols have to have a multi-ethnic character, as the Ahtisaari package foresees it? When will we use the new symbols?

The show will provide answers to these and many other questions.

Over 40 flag proposals, which have been submitted to the Life in Kosovo audience, will be analysed during the show.

Panelists in the studio will be:

Muhamedin Kullashi – Philosophy professor from France;
Shkëlzen Maliqi – analyst;
Lirijon Kadriu – designer; and
Nita Luci – anthropologist.

Life in Kosovo is a BIRN-organised TV debate, which is broadcast every Friday, beginning at 20.15 on RTK, Kosovo’s public broadcaster.

Norway to Fund BIRN Regional

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has generously provided BIRN with funding to support its regional programme aimed at consolidating and strengthening teams of investigative journalists across the Balkans during 2007 and 2008.

This significant grant will also help BIRN to develop other network activities to become income generating, with a view to achieving sustainability in the medium term.

The Norwegian foreign ministry supported the evolution and launch of BIRN through 2004 and 2005, and in 2006 supported our first year of regional activities as an independent local civil society initiative.

BIRN Receives Grant From National Endowment for Democracy

The
National Endowment for Democracy has generously supported BIRN’s
investigative training and publishing project in Albania.

With
this grant BIRN will strengthen the capacity of journalists in
Albania to produce high quality reports on key issues in the country
and the region. BIRN will also be able to help expand the reach and
impact of local reporting on important issues affecting citizens in
Albania.

The
project is to run from September 2007 until July 2008.

BIRN Kosovo TV Program Stirs Discussions

In June, “Life in Kosovo,” BIRN Kosovo’s weekly TV program hosted by country director Jeta Xharra, broadcast five debates on social, economical, religious and political issues. Two of the programs stirred fierce debates in the wider public.

After the broadcast of the debate on “Woman and Islam” aired on 1 June, BIRN received over 70 emails from the audience concerning the show and the overall issue.

The definition of Kosovo’s status, which seems to affect the region’s whole population, was discussed during the “Life in Kosovo” program on 8 June.

This debate was broadcast live in order to give the audience a chance to address their questions to a panel, which included politicians, political analysts and foreign diplomats.

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

The “Life in Kosovo” investigative team prepared field reportages concerning the issues, which were shown during the debates.

Second phase of Reporting on Minorities Project Underway

BIRN
Bulgaria started the second phase of its Reporting on Minorities
project in June. The first phase, which included a three-day workshop
in which majority and minority journalists from national, regional an
international media discussed standards, practices and ideas for
media reports on minorities, was successfully completed. The second
phase involves the commissioning and research of seven articles on
the issues faced by ethnic minorities in Bulgaria.

With the
assistance of BIRN Bulgaria’s editorial team, six journalists from
BIRN’s local network are in the process of producing feature
articles that, through personal stories, present the broader
situation of some of Bulgaria’s traditional ethnic minority groups
– the Roma, the Turks, the Pomaks. One article told the story of
refugees, while another analysis summed up the general situation of
those groups in the country.

The
articles will be published on BIRN’s website in Bulgarian. After
that, they will be translated in English and
all Balkan Insight languages and
distributed among Balkan Insight’s subscribers.

In
addition, the articles, together with other training materials and
information on the project, will be printed in a booklet. Available
in Bulgarian and in English, it will be distributed among those who
participated in the project, as well as other interested media and
NGO organizations. Albena Shkodrova, BIRN Bulgaria’s director, will
present the booklet to editors in regional media.

The
project is supported by the US Department of State.

American Students Visit BIRN BiH

A group of American students on a work and study visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina visited BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of their programme.

Around 15 girls from the San Domenico School in California talked to BIRN
BiH director Nerma Jelacic about Bosnia’s struggle to deal with the legacy of the 1992-1995 war.

The students – who have read a number of Jelacic’s articles “as a core component of curriculum” – also discussed the role of the media in conflict  and reconciliation.

BIRN BiH to Extend Justice Coverage to Lower Courts

BIRN
Bosnia and Herzegovina is to extend its coverage of
transitional justice and war crimes trials in the country to the
lower courts.

The
expansion of its highly-regarded Justice Report news service has been
made possible by the USAID Justice Sector Development
Programme.

In the second half of 2007, BIRN BiH will produce a
series of articles and case studies focusing on cantonal and
district courts eligible to prosecute war crimes trials. BIRN will
also analyse the common problems and obstacles these courts face in
trying such cases.

BIRN BiH has covered the war crimes trials
before the State Court of Bosnia  and Herzegovina since the
beginning of 2006, making Justice Report the only comprehensive
database of domestic war crimes prosecutions.

To read or
subscribe to Justice Report, please visit www.bim.ba
or to find out more about our transitional justice programme
please write to BIRN BiH director Nerma Jelacic at
[email protected].

Swiss Government Continues Justice Report Backing

BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Justice programme has received support
from the Swiss ministry of foreign affairs for the third year running.

The successful cooperation which began in 2005 with a programme that raised public awareness of war crimes trials continued with the setting up of BIRN’s Justice Report news agency.

The Swiss government and BIRN BiH on July 10 signed an agreement which will enable Justice Report to continue publishing until the end of 2008.

Justice Report is the only daily bilingual publication dedicated to the coverage of war crimes trials before the local courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the process of transitional justice in the country.

To read or subscribe to Justice Report, please visit www.bim.ba. To find
out more about our transitional justice programme, please write to BIRN BiHdirector Nerma Jelacic at [email protected]

Balkan Insight Commercialises from January 2008

From October 2007 Balkan Insight – the most comprehensive online news service on Balkan political, economic and social affairs – will be available on a new web portal that offers new possibilities for our readers and customers: more political and business news and analysis; comments by high profile decision and opinion makers; investigations and interviews; lifestyle and feature articles across the Balkans.

The new website will contain all you need to know on the latest developments in the Balkans:

– Weekly political analysis from nine countries

– Business Insight: Investments and Balkan business trends

– Investigative reports

– Coverage of human rights

– War crimes reporting

– Reforms and transition process analysis

– In brief: Latest news throughout the day.

The content of the website will be free for readers and republication until January 2008 when certain sections of the website will be available by subscription only.

Institutions and individuals interested to subscribe please contact Tatjana Kovacevic at [email protected]

Life in Kosovo Discusses Upcoming Election

This Friday’s Life in Kosovo show will go live and tackle one of the most talked about issues in Kosovo – holding elections before final status is resolved.

The programme will address the following questions. Does Kosovo need municipal and parliamentary elections now when its political status is about to be defined? Who is in favour and who is against elections? Will elections distract Kosovo’s population from the final status issue? Do municipal assemblies have legitimacy? Is the Unity Team going to break up after pre-status elections?

Jeta Xharra, BIRN Kosovo Director, will moderate the show with panellists from a range of Kosovo political parties.

The BIRN-organised TV debate is broadcast on Kosovo’s public TV station, RTK, every Friday from 20:15.