Accurate and Ethical Reporting in Online and Televised Journalism

BIRN Kosovo

Through this project, BIRN Kosovo aims to empower young journalists and lawyers in Kosovo, through capacity-building training courses on accuracy and ethical reporting, access to public documents, and the consequences of inaccurate reporting, among other subjects.

Summary

Through this project, BIRN Kosovo aims to empower young journalists and lawyers in Kosovo, through capacity-building training courses on accuracy and ethical reporting, access to public documents, and the consequences of inaccurate reporting, among other subjects.

Information Sheet

Donor:

Funded by Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, led by Kosovo Cicil Society Foundation (KCSF)

Main Objective:

Increasing the capacity and professionalism of students of law and journalism in journalistic reporting, access to data, and the legal consequences of incorrect reporting.

Specific Objectives: 

  • Increasing capacities of young students of law and journalism in fair journalistic reporting, compiling requests for access to public documents, and the legal consequences of inaccurate reporting;
  • Raising awareness and public debate about fair journalistic reporting and the safety of journalists.

Main Activities:

  • Organising seven training sessions with young journalism and law students on journalistic ethics and the legal consequences of incorrect reporting;
  • Offering legal assistance on access to public documents for journalism and law students;
  • Distributing 15 scholarships to students of journalism and law universities for conducting joint investigations;
  • Editing and publishing 15 investigations in cooperation with students who won the scholarships;
  • Producing two TV debates through the TV programmes “Life in Kosovo” and “Justice in Kosovo” on the topic of journalists’ security and accurate and impartial reporting;
  • Producing 5 long articles in Krypometër on the accuracy of information.

Target Groups:

  • Students of journalism and law;
  • Marginalised gender and ethnic groups;
  • Civil society.

Highlights:

  • 124 students were trained in Improving Research Reporting Standards Through Joint Experiences. The students were from different educational backgrounds, mainly from Journalism and Law. The training included students from the municipalities of Prishtina, Gjilan, Prizren and Mitrovica.
  • BIRN Kosovo distibuted 15 scholarships to students interested in investigating on and publishing a journalistic story while applying high journalistic standards;
  • BIRN Kosovo opened its legal office to assist students of Journalism and Law with access to public documents, with the aim of verifying facts.

 

Empowering Women to Seek Their Inheritance Rights

BIRN Kosovo

The project aims to educate, raise awareness and empower women about their property rights. Through TV, online publishing and social media, BIRN will reach out to women and men of all ages and ethnic backgrounds throughout Kosovo.

Summary

In addition to raising awareness, the activities also address the unsatisfactory level of implementation of the law, and the prolonged judicial procedures that discourage women from seeking their rights.

Information Sheet

Donor:

Funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), managed by Advocacy Training and Resource Center (ATRC)

Main Objective:

Enhance awareness among women and men in Kosovo regarding property rights.

Specific Objectives: 

Increasing the public’s awareness of women’s property rights through impartial and objective reporting on women’s inheritance rights through televised and online reporting;
Monitoring the implementation of the legal obligation to register property in the names of both spouses by political representatives and policymakers;
Contributing to positively influencing policies related to women’s inheritance rights by initiating public discussion and providing concrete policy recommendations.

Main Activities:

A series of 10 articles on the current state of affairs in the implementation of the legal framework pertaining to women’s inheritance rights;

Producing two televised analyses to be broadcast on the television programme Justice in Kosovo;

Publishing 4 extensive research papers in Gazeta Jeta ne Kosove;

Organising 2 roundtables to discuss the legislation pertaining to women’s inheritance;

Publishing five extensive legal analyses in Gazeta Jeta ne Kosove;

Drafting proposals for amendments to laws.

Target Groups:

The main target group for the programme ‘Engagement for Equity’ is women from ages 18-65. BIRN will target the stakeholders involved in judicial cases, while an extended target group will be the general public.

 

Contributing to Strengthening Independent, Investigative and Publicly Beneficial Journalism and Freedom of Expression in Kosovo

BIRN Kosovo

Through the project Support to Civil Society and Media Initiatives, financed by the European Union Office in Kosovo, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN Kosovo and the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, AJK, have teamed up for a project that aims to target and assist journalists and media houses/organisations to improve their investigative and analytical skills as well as increase efficiency, transparency and the accountability of the media regulatory bodies.

Summary

Through the project Support to Civil Society and Media Initiatives, financed by the European Union Office in Kosovo, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN Kosovo and the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, AJK, have teamed up for a project that aims to target and assist journalists and media houses/organisations to improve their investigative and analytical skills as well as increase efficiency, transparency and the accountability of the media regulatory bodies.

Information Sheet

Donor:

European Union Office in Kosovo

Main Objective:

The overall objective of the project is to strengthen Kosovo’s media sector to fulfill its role in the democratic environment by acting as an independent interlocutor, to monitor public institutions, and to contribute to increased accountability and transparency in policy development and decision-making processes.

Specific Objectives: 

Through this project, BIRN Kosovo and AJK aim to improve the internal governance of the Press Council of Kosovo (PCK), while supporting investigative journalism through training sessions, internships, a fellowship programme for journalistic excellence, including a sub-granting scheme for media organisations to produce impartial, fair, and unbiased journalism. Additionally, BIRN Kosovo and AGK aim to improve the understanding and implementation of FOI, Defamation, Whistleblowing, Copyright and other media-related laws.

Main Activities:

  • Production and publication of news content for print or online media, including investigations and analysis that include the usage of documents obtained through access to public documents and conversations with all parties involved in a story covering human rights, good governance, economic development, environment, the rule of law, and education;
  • Production and broadcast of radio or video material, through investigative reporting that covers human rights, good governance, economic development, environment, the rule of law, and education;
  • Production and broadcast of documentaries covering good governance, rule of law, environment, and economic development;
  • Designing and implementing social media campaigns targeting issues related to human rights, good governance, education, etc.;
  • Activities aiming to raise media literacy and human rights right issues, primarily targeting high school and university students.

Target Groups:

The project targets and assists journalists and media houses/organisations to improve their investigative and analytical skills as well as increase the efficiency, transparency and accountability of the media regulatory bodies.

Partners:

Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK)

 

Investigative Journalism in Higher Education

BIRN Kosovo

This project aims to strengthen investigative journalism in the higher education sector in Kosovo, in order to increase accountability and reduce irregularities within the education system.

Summary

This project aims to strengthen investigative journalism in the higher education sector in Kosovo, in order to increase accountability and reduce irregularities within the education system.

Information Sheet

Donor:

Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (KFOS)

Main Objective:

Fighting impunity, corruption and other irregularities in higher education in Kosovo.

Specific Objectives: 

  • Strengthening investigative journalism about the issue of higher education;
  • Training and guidance for journalists in investigating higher education issues;
  • Advocacy for punishing corruption, irregularities, and lack of integrity in higher education through investigative journalism.

Main Activities:

Workshops, investigative fellowships, advocacy, and monitoring of institutions through media coverage, and an award for journalism.

Target Groups:

  • Journalists;
  • Stakeholders in higher education in Kosovo and the region, including representatives of institutions and civil society;
  • General public

 

Technical Assistance to Public Service Media in the Western Balkans

BIRN Hub

The purpose of the Technical Assistance programme is to support the national public service media (PSM) of the Western Balkans in the development of long-term reform strategies for better management, accountability and financial sustainability.

Summary

The main outcomes to be achieved are to establish European standards with regard to funding models, the election and functioning of governing bodies; to design editorial guidelines and long-term strategies including internal management reforms; to develop and implement action plans for setting up integrated newsrooms; to introduce mechanisms for co-producing programmes and news on selected topics (e.g. investigative journalism) as well as for the regional exchange of digitised archive materials.

Donor

European Commission – DG NEAR D.5

Main Objective

The project aims to revitalise the region’s public broadcasting sector and bring new confidence to the key stakeholders involved.

Specific Objectives

The project has three specific objectives: firstly, it aims to reestablish European standards and promote best practice at the six public service media organisations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, with a particular focus on helping them to achieve financial autonomy from the state and greater accountability to the public.

It works on seeking consensus on the principles and practice for sustainable funding models as well as on securing agreement on fair, transparent and accountable procedures for electing the members of governing bodies.

The project also works to generate synergies between the six broadcasters by initiating a new phase in ongoing reform processes and helping to formulate long-term strategies.

In addition, the programme is focused on the improved implementation of editorial policies and complaints mechanisms, which in some cases exist on paper only.

It will also support efforts to establish integrated newsrooms, to streamline newsgathering and production processes.

A further aspect to the project is work in the field of management reform, developing long-term strategies and mentoring their roll-out across multiple departments.

This will be complemented by an initiative to equip regulators with the skills to conduct or commission reliable surveys which will give programme-makers a better insight into audience needs.

The third objective of the technical assistance programme is to expand cooperation in programme-making between the six public service media organisations, ensuring that they can pool resources and share audiovisual materials in a more effective way.

Main Activities

The project goals will be achieved by building the capacity necessary to produce in-depth investigative reports as well as high-quality programming for children and young people.

The project also seeks to introduce new interactive formats which optimise the potential for audience engagement.

In addition to this, a regional platform will be created for sharing archive material between the broadcasters, enriching factual programming and encouraging further collaboration.

The training and mentoring programme led by BIRN addresses some of the shortcomings inherent in mainstream media across the Western Balkans – low levels of professional skills, an absence of continued mid-career training, and indirect or direct outside influence which prevents the broadcasting of stories which conflict with the interests of local power-brokers.

Target Groups

The primary target group are the six PSBs in the Western Balkans, and the secondary target groups are the ministries and parliamentary committees dealing with media policy, regulatory bodies, self-regulatory bodies and relevant NGOs dealing with the freedom of the media.

Main Implementer

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

Partners

BIRN Hub, European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Austrian public broadcaster ORF, the Office of the Eurovision News Exchange for South-East Europe (ERNO), European Federation of Journalists.

Resonant Voices Initiative in the EU

BIRN Hub

The Resonant Voices Initiative in the EU pursues objectives closely linked to the nexus of security, migration and prevention of radicalisation that leads to violent extremism in the European Union.

Summary

Through a positive and alternative narrative campaign, 20 in-depth investigative articles will be published by 20 Resonant Voices Fellows, and 200 diverse campaign materials produced in collaboration with 140 community influencers from three different diaspora communities in three EU countries.

The capacity and commitment of this core group to push against polarising, inflammatory, and radicalising discourse will be strengthened through formal training and hands-on assistance. In sum, through information campaigns which challenge politically charged contexts and by, effectively, combining technology with an understanding of the community as a means of disseminating compelling content will create behavioral changes  consistent with increased resilience towards violent extremism.

Through evidence gathering and dissemination, 120 stakeholders will be actively involved through consultations, 20 of them as long-term members of the project’s advisory platform, while findings, recommendations, and lessons learned will be communicated to a much broader group of beneficiaries. In-depth audience research will be conducted with the aim of collecting 600 micro-narratives of online radicalisation, as to better understand the motivations, circumstances, and contexts that drives recruitment to violent extremism among the target audience.

Donor

European Commission – Civil Society Empowerment Programme

Main Objective

The project’s general objective is to strengthen the influence of credible voices that challenge extremist propaganda by targeting audiences vulnerable to radicalisation within the Western Balkans diaspora in the EU.

Specific Objectives

To reach vulnerable segments of Western Balkan diaspora living in the EU through an evidence-based, multi-stakeholder communication model targeting audiences based on their degree of radicalisation.

To provide credible, alternative, and positive narratives exposing and challenging on-line and offline extremist messaging and targeting the WB diaspora.

To explore, address, and reduce the influence of push-and-pull factors of online extremist content among the WB diaspora.

To promote tolerance and EU fundamental values among the targeted audience.

Main Activities

Evidence gathering – The objective of this activity is to identify gaps, shortcomings, and good practices in addressing extremist content, in the countering of extremism propaganda, and in curbing online recruitment.

Data collection – CIJA’s assessment team will collect 600 micro-narratives of online radicalisation and 5,000 social media posts from 50 different open social media channels and available search engine data. They will be analysed to map online content and online behaviours of the target audience and their exposure to different types of narratives and problematic content, as well as existing or emerging counter-speech efforts.

Resonant Voices Fellowship – The objective of this cluster of activities is to create a pool of investigative journalists and reporters who will be able to competently and sensitively report on subject matters relating to extremist radicalisation and violence, as well as on misused or inaccurately issue presented within extremist propaganda.

Activities will also include:

Preparation and announcement of the call for journalists, researchers, writers;
Selection of successful applications;
Workshops for selected journalists;
On the job mentoring;
Production of stories;
Publication and promotion of stories

Target Groups

Audiences vulnerable to radicalisation and recruitment within the Western Balkans diaspora in the EU.

Main Implementer

Stichting Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) – Netherlands.

Partners

Foundation Propulsion Fund – Serbia
Balkan Investigative Reporting Regional Network (BIRN Hub) – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Moldova – Romania: A Network of Stories

BIRN Romania
The project aims to foster mutual understanding among people from Moldova and Romania by creating a network of human interest stories (print and audio) related to what does it mean to be a Moldovan citizen today in relation with a Romanian one, in an era of geopolitical tensions and radical social change.

Summary

At least ten journalists from both countries will produce some 20 long form, in-depth stories, which will be published on local and international level. A selection of stories will be published as an e-book which will be highly redistributed to general public and stakeholders.

Donor: Open Society FoundatioBlack Sea Trust Fund – A German Marshall Projectn, Serbia

Information Sheet

Main Objective

To contribute to the confidence building and mutual understanding process among the citizens from Moldova and Romania.

Specific Objectives

  • To involve at least 10 journalists from Moldova and Romania to report on human interest stories relevant for both countries
  • To supply local media from both countries with interviews, good-quality analytical articles and opinion pieces
  • To support informed debate on key challenges both countries are facing, both at national and regional level.

Main Activities

  • BIRN Romania team will activate its network of journalists and stringer from Moldova and Romania but will also launch a public call for contributors. Basic rules of editorial policies and communication will be established.
  • BIRN Romania will commission the stories and will schedule their publication date
  • Under guidance from BIRN team (on-the-job training), the journalists will write up to 20 long form, in-depth articles. The articles will be published simultaneously on SINOPSIS website and on BIRN’s media partners from Moldova and Romania. A selection of the articles (or brief version of them) will be published in English on the Balkan Insight website and also distributed to an international audience.
  • A selection and revised version of the articles will be published as an e-book, which will be distributed to general public and stakeholders.

Target Groups

  • At least 10 journalists from Moldova and Romania.
  • General public from the above mentioned countries
  • International audience interested in the Eastern Europe region.

Main implementer

BIRN Romania

Partners

Several publications from Romania and Moldova

Public Money for Public Interest – Measuring Index of Transparency of Public Money in the Media

BIRN Serbia
Through this project, BIRN will encourage the participation of civil society in the process of increasing transparency of public spending for media.

Summary

In the cross-sectoral cooperation, 10 representatives of local CSOs throughout Serbia will be involved.

Donor: Open Society Foundation, Serbia

Information Sheet

Main Objective

To increase transparency and accountability in the spending of public money in the media sector through the involvement of civil society and joint activities of monitoring and public advocacy.

Specific Objectives

  • Mentoring, capacity-building and networking of 10 representatives of local CSOs, enabling them to adequately monitor budget money spending in the media sector.
  • Systematic monitoring of media financing from local budgets, through the methodology of the Transparency Index
  • Presentation of results and joint public advocacy activities that promote the transparency of public funding and procedures and practices of allocating public money to media

Main Activities

A1: Networking, capacity-building, learning by doing
A2: Data collection and monitoring
A3: Promotion of results and public advocacy
A4: Evaluation

Target Groups

Primary target group: an informal group of local CSOs that BIRN has gathered within the project Public Money for Public Interest.
Secondary target groups: decision-makers at local and national level, media, civil society organisations, professional associations and the general public.

Highlights

  • The Transparency Index reserch results
  • Local public debates
  • Policy briefs

Main implementer

BIRN Serbia

Partners

  • Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS)
  • Slavko Curuvija Foundation (SCF)

Transparent Allocation of Public Funds for Media

BIRN Serbia

Summary

Through systematic research into the transparency of budget allocation, analysis of collected data, and practical policy suggestions for improving established practices, the project will affect the reduction of the ‘grey area’ in which there is a room for non-transparent treatment, discretionary interpretation and corruptive practices.
The policy change proposals will be promoted at four public debates, through social networks, websites and advocacy activities.

Donor: Ministry of Culture and Information Serbia

Information Sheet

Main Objective

Increasing transparency and accountability in the spending of budget money in the media sector by reducing regulatory risks of corruption, and monitoring and evaluating the effects of this type of public spending.

Specific Objectives

Systematic monitoring of the budgetary financing of the media: Improving the transparency of public allocation and procedures and practices of allocating public money through policy proposals and public advocacy.

Main Activities

A1: Data collection, monitoring and analysis
A2: Writing a proposal for practical policies – policy briefs
A3: Public advocacy

Target Groups

Primary target group: decision-makers at local and national level
Secondary target groups: professional organisations and associations, as well as other CSOs that have complementary public advocacy activities and with which BIRN cooperates; the general public.

Highlights

Results of the research
Policy briefs

Main implementer

BIRN Serbia

Under the Spotlight: Criminal Justice in Serbia

BIRN Serbia

Promotion of judicial transparency and accountability through investigative reporting.

Summary

BIRN will provide comprehensive public insight into the capacities of the judicial system to fight against the corruption through the newly-established mechanism of special courts and prosecution offices in charge of the abuse of funds, money-laundering and tax evasion.

BIRN plans to increase its content production and publishing on BIRN Serbia’s flagship website javno.rs, providing citizens with accurate and unbiased information about cases of corruption, access to justice and abuse of public funds or posts.

BIRN will produce at least four journalistic stories in different formats – investigative, data-journalism and/or analytical content, published on the javno.rs platform, with follow-ups on the reported cases. Additionally, two online databases will be created, establishing an evidence base for tracing the work of the special anti-corruption departments and their effectiveness in processing the cases of high corruption..

Information Sheet

Main Objective:
To promote judicial transparency and accountability through investigative reporting.
Specific Objectives:
  • To promote the accountability of the judiciary and other state institutions through investigative journalism and professional media reporting
  • To put the spotlight on newly-established judicial instruments and their contribution to anti-corruption efforts, by scrutinizing their work and exposing potential cases of the abuse of funds, money-laundering and tax evasion

Main Activities:

  1. Content production
  2. Creation of online databases
  3. Online promotion and awareness-raising

Target Groups:

Journalists, experts, the public
Highlights: 
Investigations, Analysis, Data bases