Montenegro training course in Podgorica

Nine Montenegrin journalists from a range of towns and media outlets took part in a primary level journalism course organised by BIRN Serbia and Montenegro at the PR Centre in Podgorica from February 24-28.

The course, the first step in the establishment of a network of BIRN journalists in Montenegro, was launched at a press conference attended by several TV and radio stations. Trainers included Dragana Nikolic Solomon, BIRN SaM director, Gordana Igric, BIRN development director, Marcus Tanner, BIRN trainer-editor, Balkan analyst Tim Judah and Gertraud Illermeir, Belgrade correspondent for Die Presse.

Following the theoretical part of the course, Tanner, Nikolic-Solomon and Igric gave one-to-one training and commissioned stories from participants, which will feature in a special Montenegro package due to be published by BIRN at the end of March.

The second part of the course is scheduled to take place in Budva, following the vote on Montenegrin independence slated for May 21.

Participant Petar Komnenic, a Monitor magazine journalist, said, “I liked the course because it was informative and practical. I was especially impressed by Tim Judah’s lecture. I hope that I will be able to cooperate with BIRN in the future.”

The event took place as part of BIRN SaM’s Minority Training and Reporting project, which is supported by the British Embassy in Belgrade.

For more information on this project, contact BIRN BiH Director Dragana Nikolic-Solomon.

Next TV Debate to Focus on Women

BIRN Kosovo will present the next in a series of televised debates on March 15 at 22:00 on RTK, focussing on successful women of Kosovo.

Mimoza Kusari, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce, Shejnaze Bekteshi, who has quintuplets, and Adelina Ismaili, a well known singer, will discuss their achievements and the paths they took to arrive at them.

For more information on this project, contact BIRN Kosovo Director Jeta Xharra.

This project is supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

Justice Report launched in Bosnia

BIRN BiH on March 6 launched a specialised news agency, designed to cover war crimes trials before Bosnia and Herzegovina’s State Court.

The new service, Justice Report, is dedicated to bringing local war crimes trials closer to the citizens of BiH and the wider region through accurate, objective and prompt reporting.

Besides covering the trials and their impact on society, the agency will also concentrate on developments within the Bosnian judiciary, and the impact of the country’s transitional justice model on other states facing similar daunting tasks.

Produced in the Bosnian and English languages, Justice Report will be available free of charge to local and regional media and interested individuals.

Justice Report is an integral part of BIRN BiH’s activities in 2006 aimed at promoting truth, justice and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

If you are interested in receiving Justice Report by email, or for more information, please contact BIRN BiH country director Nerma Jelacic.

This project is currently funded by the Norwegian foreign ministry.

MDLF Assistance at BIRN Board Meeting Takes Network Forward

The Media Development Loan Fund generously granted assistance to BIRN at its February 19-22 board meeting, with legal expert Milan Lukic advising on corporate structuring to respond to BIRN’s strategic plans.

Board members who gathered in Sarajevo, BIRN’s regional headquarters, successfully put in motion a process which will refine Network relations and establish a commercial subsidiary.

BIRN, a close group of six territorially-based non-governmental organisations, plus a regional coordinating ‘hub’, plans to part-finance its projects by generating income through its expanding editorial output.

For more information on BIRN’s sustainability plans, contact BIRN Regional Network Director Anna McTaggart.

Kosovo Documentary in High Demand

Following the final regional premiere of Does Anyone Have a Plan? on February 20 in Sarajevo, BIRN has received dozens of requests for special screenings and debates, as well as television broadcasts.

Already shown at primetime on Radio Television Serbia, Radio Television Kosovo, Macedonia’s Channel 5 and Bulgaria’s bTV, the film is now to be broadcast on all main BiH channels and dozens of local stations throughout the region.

A large number of embassies, NGOs and international organisations in the Balkans are making special screenings and debates, while internationally, prestigious academic institutions such as the Central European University in Budapest, University College London, the London School of Economics, and Oxford University are doing the same.

BIRN is furthermore actively entering the documentary in international film festivals, and will get its first such showing on March 23 at the “It’s All True” Documentary Film Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

All requests for information about the film, screening or broadcasting it, as well as DVD copies in English, Bosnian, Serbian, Albanian and Macedonian languages, please contact BIRN Regional Network Director Anna McTaggart.

This project was financed by the Swiss foreign ministry.

BIRN SaM Completes Transition Project

BIRN SaM has successfully completed the implementation of the Democratic Transition and Reintegration in Serbia Project, fulfilling all the obligations and goals defined in the project proposal.

This project was designed to draw the public’s attention to reform areas in which local NGOs are engaged and help to build support and momentum for positive changes in legislation and policy.

BIRN SaM’s network has been helping existing NGO initiatives in Serbia through the production of articles and in-depth analyses regarding the important issues they are dealing with and highlighting their role in advocacy.

The issues and initiatives covered have included trade between Kosovo and Serbia; civilian control of the armed forces; domestic violence; religious freedom; gender equality; minority rights; and Roma rights and youth employment.

Three out of eight articles were in-depth analysis (trade between Kosovo and Serbia , civilian control of the armed forces, domestic violence); the remainder features and news analysis.

The project was sponsored by the Freedom House, Serbia.

Kosovo: The Minority Perspective

Seven articles were published on June 1, resulting from journalistic training for Kosovo minorities organized by BIRN SaM in northern Mitrovica in April.

Kosovo Special: The Minorty Perspective can be read in Balkan Insight no. 37, < >.

All the articles were written by trainees who attended an earlier BIRN training workshop.

The second part of the primary level training for Kosovo minorities is scheduled for September, and will also be followed with a special edition dedicated to the most relevant topics.

These reports, training and debate events are all part of BIRN SaM’s Minority Training and Reporting project, which is supported by the British Embassy in Belgrade .

For more information on this project, contact BIRN SaM Director Dragana Nikolic-Solomon.

BIRN Conducted a Workshop in Budva

BIRN SaM conducted a four-day workshop for ten journalists from around Montenegro.

Training focused on the consequences of the independence referendum in Montenegro and related topics.

discussed with trainers and editors the most important issues facing
the new state; how to tackle stories and structure them.

were also talks on news analysis/feature production and diversity
reporting, as part of the BIRN primary level training module.

trainees worked with Dragana Nikolic Solomon, BIRN SaM director,
Gordana Igric, BIRN editor in chief and Ana Petruseva, BIRN Macedonia

Eight articles were commissioned for a special package on issues arising from the Montenegrin referendum.

that have successfully completed primary level training have become
members of BIRN correspondents network, and the BIRN core team in

Sponsored by the British
Embassy in Belgrade, the Montenegro training programme is part of a
three-year-long minority journalism training and reporting project. For
more info please contact Dragana Nikolic Solomon, BIRN SaM.