Documentary ‘Free Flow’

Documentary, which was directed by film-maker Elton Baxhaku, covers the decade-long grassroots struggle by local communities, activists and civil society organisations against hydropower plant projects that threaten the environment, the water supplies of local communities and their livelihoods that are based on sustainable tourism.

In the past two decades, the Albanian government has approved over 500 hydropower plant projects on its rivers and streams, which environmentalists say threaten some of the last unspoiled river systems in Europe.

The documentary focuses on three areas, the Shebenik Jabllanica National Park, the Vjosa River and the Valbona National Park – following local villagers, community rights activists, scientists and artists as they struggle to voice their concerns over hydropower plant projects, challenge concession contracts in court and protest in the streets to encourage support for their cause.

BIRN Report Says Media Freedom Declining in Serbia

BIRN report on the state of the media in Serbia notes abuses of funding, lack of pluralism in terms of content, an unclear legislative framework and administrative pressure on independent media as some of the most concerning issues.

The report emphasises a decline in freedom of expression and media pluralism, citing an absence of social, political and economic conditions conducive to the development of a professional and sustainable media sector.

BIRN has submitted the report to the EU Delegation in Serbia as its contribution to the compilation of Serbia’s next European Commission Country Report.

It was produced in partnership with the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia and the Slavko Curuvija Foundation, as part of the EU-funded project.

According to the report [in Serbian], independent media and journalistic organizations monitoring the allocation of funds reported abuses in the distribution of some 10 million euros in the media sector.

After the ICTY: Accountability, Truth and Justice in former Yugoslavia

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network published the report “After the ICTY: Accountability, Truth and Justice in former Yugoslavia” which aims to map current challenges in regional cooperation over war crimes prosecutions and missing persons, victims’ participation, and the role of archives, art, media and museums in dealing with the past.

Twenty years after the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and a year after the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia closed down, accountability, truth and justice still seem more like ideals than reality.

During 2018, under the umbrella of BIRN’s Transitional Justice Initiative, a series of events was organised to discuss regional cooperation over war crimes prosecutions and missing persons, victims’ participation, and the role of archives, art, media and museums in dealing with the past.

Participants from civil society, the expert community, institutions, academia and the media tried to answer the overarching questions – how far we are from reconciliation, and what more can we do to combat impunity and increase intercultural dialogue?

To read the full report, click here.

BIRN Serbia Film: ‘SNS – the start’

A new film by BIRN Serbia, “SNS – pocetak, 2008” [“SNS – the start, 2008”], delves into the origins and rise of the Serbian Progressive Party, SNS, which has ruled the country since 2012.

During the making of the film, BIRN journalists talked with many  individuals from Serbian public life, but also from the US, who had a role in the creation of the SNS.

The movie starts back in 2008, when a group of Radical Party members, then advocates of the nationalist “Greater Serbia” idea, turned into “Euro-fanatics”.

Journalists have used extensive archive material to tell a thriller-style story about how a faction composed of minor political individuals became rulers of a country.

The movie can be watched on YouTube.

BIRN Albania’s Monitoring Report on Court Transparency

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania launched its monitoring report on transparency of courts on October 30, 2018.

This monitoring report assesses the transparency of all courts in the country with respect to the information categories that these institutions make public through various means of communication with citizens.

The findings aim to encourage a willingness and readiness among judicial institutions to increase their level of transparency, as well as serve as a base study for further progress assessments.

For this purpose, Albania’s Constitutional Court and 38 courts that are part of the local judicial system were monitored on 36 indicators deriving from the legal framework that is currently in force.

The monitoring was conducted by combining three different methods of data collection: on-site monitoring in each court; online monitoring through court websites; and via requests for information submitted to them.

More information available here.

The whole report is available here.

BIRN Albania Publishes Data Journalism Manual

‘Getting Started in Data Journalism’ is a manual published by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania which aims to introduce journalists to data-driven reporting techniques that are essential to contemporary investigative journalism.

The manual was authored by BIRN editor Lawrence Marzouk and the investigative journalist Crina Boros.

More information available here.

The whole manual is available here.

Report on the Assets Declarations of Prosecutors in Albania

Analysis on the System of Assets Declarations of Prosecutors in Albania, a study published by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania, evaluates that structure of the wealth of the members of the prosecutor’s office in Albania as well as the integrity of the asset declaration system.

This latest report comes on the heels of four studies published by BIRN Albania on the integrity of the assets declarations of judges from first-instance courts, appeals courts, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court.

The study sheds light not only on how prosecutors in Albania have accumulated wealth but also on key practices, recognised as “red flags”, which obscure the origin of this wealth, such as gifts or loans from relatives, inherited assets, large bank loans, real estate transactions and cash kept outside the banking system.

This report aims to analyse the structure and source of assets, expenditures, liabilities and income declared by all prosecutors, as well as provide detailed information on changes to the overall wealth of these officials. The authors of this report hope these data will help journalists, experts and civil society actors to independently monitor the performance of the vetting institutions that are expected now to sift through the judicial cohort and investigative cases of illegal assets of judges and prosecutors.

To download a copy of the report in English, click here.

To download a copy of the report in Albanian, click here.

Impact Map – 2017

BIRN’s journalistic work produced in 2017 some very tangible social and political changes, both within the region and internationally, showing that non-profit media can influence the work of public institutions and authorities when applying high professional standard to their work.

Please click on the pinned locations on the map to read about the impact of BIRN’s reporting.