11 February 13

BIRN’s Balkan Transitional Justice Team Holds Donors’ Meeting

The Balkan Transitional Justice team held a meeting in Belgrade on February 7 to present the project’s first year activities and results to donors.

At the close of the project’s first year, the BTJ team presented to its donors what had been achieved in terms of editorial coverage, online publishing and radio and television production. The team also outlined the project’s future targets and plans, among them a series of major regional investigations and the release of a documentary film and television series.

Lode Desmet, the director and producer of the upcoming film, in which six young people testify about their lives in the Balkans, showed sequences from the documentary for the first time. During the afternoon session, there was a debate on current transitional justice issues and in-house briefings from six BTJ reporters across the Balkans who explained the major themes and challenges for journalists working on the subject in their respective countries.

"Despite various challenges, we managed to reach the public in the region and provide crucial information. Twenty years after the wars in the Balkans, people still need answers and the public is entitled to receive information about war crimes trials. BIRN's aim is to distribute necessary information supporting reconciliation among communities, but also to raise questions related to facing the past in the Balkans," BIRN Project Manager Anisa Suceska Vekic said at the meeting.

During the first project year BTJ has achieved the following results:
•             Established, trained and developed a regional network of six transitional justice reporters
•             Developed a unique online written and audio archive of war crimes trials and analysis, with 1,160 published articles on transitional justice issues
•             Attracted more than 300,000 page views for the BTJ website
•             Gathered more than 13,000 followers on social networks
•             Finished filming the TV documentary
•             Released nine episodes of the ‘Roads to Justice’ radio programme
•             Recruited 100 radio stations in the region to broadcast nine episodes of the radio programme

The meeting was also attended by experts from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe OSCE, who actively contributed to the debate.

The Balkan Transitional Justice programme is funded by the European Commission, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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