Civil Society Advocates: Through Partnership Towards Democratic Development in Serbia

BIRN Serbia
The project aims to strengthen a participatory culture in Serbia and empower civil society groups to get people more involved in advocacy work.

Summary

The project is designed to address the lack of capacities in civil society organizations, CSOs, to undertake successful advocacy efforts, their lack of cooperation with public authorities at all levels, and citizens’ lack of motivation to join and trust CSO advocacy actions.

Donor: USAID

Information Sheet

Main Objective

By building skills, encouraging citizens’ engagement and improving advocacy programs, the project hopes to contribute to the strengthening of a democratic society.

Specific Objectives

The initiative is intended to support CSOs in Serbia to test, evaluate and scale their advocacy initiatives in a more strategic way.

Main Activities

Capacity Boost for Advocacy

Mapping, stakeholder and needs analysis

Advocacy training programs for CSOs

CSOs’ Advocacy Actions

Re–granting scheme

Support to local advocacy initiatives

National advocacy initiative toward participatory environment for CSOs

Web Platform for Advanced Reflection and Learning

Development and maintaining of the web Platform

Help Desk–Advocacy Clinic

Communication and Community Outreach

Local and social media outreach and branding and marking activities

Annual Advocacy Award

Target Groups

  • Local CSOs implementing advocacy initiatives;
  • Citizens

Highlights

Report on CSOs’ needs, policy environment possibilities in implementation of innovative advocacy practices;

  1. Delivered capacity building programs and raised level of knowledge and skills;
  2. At least 50 CSOs in Serbia directly involved in capacity building program;
  3. Advocated recommendations for participatory environment for CSOs in decision making;
  4. Produced set of recommendations on innovative advocacy approaches but tailored on community needs;
  5. Created web Platform for advanced reflection and learning;
  6. At least 15 case studies of successful advocacy campaign produced;
  7. 3 successful advocacy initiative awarded

Main implementer

Belgrade Open School (BOS)

Partners

Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).

Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) – database update

BIRN Serbia
BIRN Serbia is conducting media ownership monitoring for the second time in order to reveal relevant trends in ownership concentration, enabling the public to make more educated choices as media consumers.

Summary

BIRN Serbia is conducting media ownership monitoring for the second time in Serbia in order to reveal relevant trends in ownership concentration, enabling the public to make more educated choices as media consumers. Ideally, greater awareness will result in regulatory countermeasures in the medium term.

Donor: Reporters Without Borders Germany

Information Sheet

Main Objective

The overall objective is to foster freedom of information and media pluralism while defending the diversity of opinions through differentiated media ownership.

Specific Objectives

The Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) is a standardised instrument for research and publication, creating and enhancing transparency of national mass media ownership. Ownership shares of media outlets and the respective market shares of their products can be used as indicators of media pluralism in each target country.

Collecting data and updating and classifying them is critical for raising political awareness of this problem, initiating debate and eventually establishing a legal framework to enhance control of media concentration.

The results of MOM can help strengthen the media literacy of all citizens; their user behaviour is changed when they know – or at least can know – who is behind a TV or radio station, a newspaper or internet portal.

Main Activities

Conducting media ownership monitoring in Serbia

Target Groups

  • Legislature (media and anti-trust law, concentration control);
  • Professional public (media journalists, media studies and research, trade and professional associations, civil society actors);
  • Media owners;
  • Any media user, general public

Highlights

Web site will be updated with monitoring results

Fact-Checking for Accountable Media

BIRN Kosovo

Through this project, BIRN Kosovo wants to contribute to educating local media on the standards of fact-checking in order to develop their capacities to use the standards in their daily work.

Summary

Through this project, BIRN Kosovo wants to raise awareness among local media on International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) standards, improve skills of journalists and students of journalism on the verification of facts and contribute to increasing the accountability of politicians, state officials and local media, through the measurement of truth using our fact-checking tool, Krypometer.

Information Sheet

Donor:

KCSF – Kosovo Civil Society Foundation

Main Objective:

To contribute to educating local media on the standards of fact-checking in order to develop their capacities to use the standards in their daily work.

Specific Objective:

Specific Objective 1: Contribute to identifying inaccurate media reporting and public statements;

Specific Objective 2: Raising capacities of local media, journalists, and students of journalism on IFCN standards;

Specific Objective 3: Promotion of standards for fact-verification in televised reports.

Main Activities:

  • Activity 1: Publication of Verification of Facts
  • Activity 2: Training for local media on Verification of Facts
  • Activity 3: Training with journalists from mainstream media
  • Activity 4: One 2-day training course for students of journalism on Verification of Facts
  • Activity 5: Televised documentary on false statements by public officials

Target Groups:

Local media, including TV and radio in municipalities across Kosovo. Through this project, BIRN Kosovo aspires to particularly benefit students of journalism. In addition, through  reporting on BIRN Kosovo’s media platforms, the project strives to educate the public on the importance of accurate news, and specifically, the accuracy and accountability of public officials and political representatives.

Main implementer:

BIRN Kosovo

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.

With Participatory Democracy for a Kosovo without Radicalisation

BIRN Kosovo

The goal of this project is to contribute towards diminishing the motives and incentives for radicalisation that may lead to violent extremism.

Summary

The goal of this project is to contribute towards diminishing the motives and incentives for radicalization that may lead to violent extremism through channelling the public discourse towards building resilience, increasing the accountability of public and governmental institutions (local and national), their capacities for youth empowerment, and shaping the societal and institutional environment for a successful prevention of violent extremism, including social and economic inclusion of returnees, prisoners and their families.

Information Sheet

Donor:

Advocacy Training & Resource Center (ATRC)

Main Objective:

To increase public understanding on violent extremism, educate the public on certain issues through proactive relations with media, and inform the public of activities and results of the project in order to promote the success of the project objectives.

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:

  • Needs assessment of most vulnerable families to effectively deal with radicalization and violent extremism;
  • Trainings and workshops for various stakeholders
  • Research, production, and broadcast of four televised programmes with themes focusing on returnees, prisoners, and families affected by radicalisation and violent extremism;
  • Compiling, publishing, and following up 10 articles related to returnees, prisoners, and families of those affected by radicalisation and violent extremism. This will include living conditions, and stories of returnees among others;
  • Regional Conference on Institutional Accountability in preventing radicalism and countering violent extremism among youth;
  • Research Paper: Why violent extremism failed: Positive Cases of Podujeva and Suhareka Municipalities;
  • Organising the training to PCK, IMC and investigative journalists and media editors on preventive measures of compiling, publishing and following up 10 articles that will include the role and responsiveness of public institutions to encourage and facilitate the engagement of parents and teachers in preventing radicalisation and violent extremism in Kosovo.

Partner

KIPRED and Democracy Plus

Corrupting the Birthrates

BIRN Serbia
A new law on financial support to families with children (which was adopted in 2017 and came into force in 2018) has been creating confusion among citizens of Serbia.

Summary

While the government claims its policies are intended to increase birth rates, pregnant women and new mothers across Serbia are dissatisfied with low incomes during their absence from work. A new way of calculating maternity benefits leaves women confused and with no clear information about how much money they can expect while pregnant or after giving birth.

Donor: Transparency International

Information Sheet

Main Objective

To inform Serbian citizens so they can exercise their rights in relation to maternity leave and state financial aid.

Specific Objectives

To develop a digital tool that calculates maternity and pregnancy leave compensation in order to better inform the Serbian public.

Main Activities

Data collection, monitoring and analysis
Developing digital tools
Publishing analysis

Target Groups

Families with children, general public

Highlights

Analysis, digital tools, date bases

Main implementer

BIRN Serbia

Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey

BIRN Hub

The overall objective of the project is to provide structural support to media freedom and media integrity in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

Summary

The goal of the three-year project led by BIRN Hub and its partners, and supported by the European Union, is to enhance media trust among citizens and create a safe environment for journalists to produce independent news content through training, mentoring, technical and financial support, and publishing.


Donor

European Commision – Directorate-General Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.


Main Objective

The overall objective of the project is to provide structural support to media freedom and media integrity in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The overall objective is relevant to the global objective of the Call for Proposals which aims to contribute to the promotion of free and professional media in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

It is intended to address the main problems and challenges in the Western Balkans identified in the Feasibility Study for the Establishment of a Regional Program in Media and Journalism Training – poor professional skills among journalists; limited training capacity at a high proficiency level for mid-career journalists; lack of financial resources in most of the media sector, especially for investigations; and limited penetration of the investigative stories that are published.


Specific Objectives

The specific objective of the action is to enhance media trust among citizens and create a safe environment for journalists to produce independent news content through trainings, mentoring, technical and financial support, publishing and recognising best examples of quality journalism.


Main Activities

National Trainings are set to enhance the skills of journalists both basic and advance, as well as to boost partnerships between trained journalists and stakeholders, providers of professional trainings for journalists, organisations supporting media, CSOs, etc.

During the course of 36 months, the 12 national trainings will be organised (2 trainings per country) in collaboration with local partners.

Regional training on investigative journalism for local journalists aim is to enhance efficiency and skills of journalists, as well as to develop a scalable course curriculum for advanced journalism.

Digital Security Lab is planned to be a resource platform for investigative journalists, aiming to provide them with the tools and services that will help journalists breach the technological gap between their skills and an investigative story.

A study trip for up to 20 editors to one of the major media outlets in Europe with a highly-developed investigative newsroom is also planned.

Production and publishing of quality news and investigative stories in mainstream media and Public Service Media has a strong focus on involving these segments of the media into quality news production and investigative reporting.

Production of cross-border investigations is set to boost cooperation between journalists in the Western Balkans region, and increase their knowledge and skills through joint cooperation on cross-border investigative stories.

Training and curriculum development for investigative journalism in academia will include developing a curriculum on investigative journalism both for journalism students, and for students interested either in investigative journalism, or in the methodology of investigative journalism.

Training of Trainers aims to help providers of professional training for journalists improve their own training capacities, and improve their editorial standards in quality news and investigative journalism.

EU Award Scheme is the continuation of the ongoing regional EU Investigative Journalism Award in the Western Balkans and Turkey. Through the award scheme, 63 prizes will be awarded over the course of 36 months, three in each project country.


Main Implementer

BIRN Hub


Partners

Thomson Media gGmbH (TM), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Central European University (CEU CMDS), the Media Association of South-East Europe (MASEE), the Center for Investigative Journalism of Montenegro (CIN CG), the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers in Macedonia (SSNM), BIRN Albania and BIRN Serbia.