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.
BIRN Serbia and Pro Concept held their fifth national budget forum at the National Assembly in Belgrade on 27 November, where panelists and participants offered their opinions and debated the proposed 2014 budget and the projected outcomes of the Serbian administration’s budgetary policy.
Journalists received bespoke investigative training as they prepared major cross-border stories into crime and corruption in the Balkans.
BIRN’s “Life in Kosovo” has been recognized for reporting on women in a TV programme.
Bardh Shkreli, a journalist for BIRN Kosovo, has won a third-place award in November from the German Society for International Cooperation, GIZ and the Association of Professional Journalists of Kosovo for education reporting.
Romania’s national journalistic competition Superscrieri has given awards to Elena Stancu and Vlad Odobescu, both fellows this year of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
Eight journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, BIH, Croatia, and Serbia participated in a weeklong study visit to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, in October. The Tribunal's Outreach Programme organised the visit in cooperation with BIRN BiH.
BIRN Macedonia announces a call for journalists for an upcoming training session for investigative journalists.
Participants in this year’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence will meet for their final seminar and awards ceremony in Zagreb, Croatia from December 11-14.
During its EU membership negotiations, Serbia will be assessed on how well it has dealt with war crimes cases, European Commission official Pierre Mirel told a BIRN conference.