Paper Trail for Better Governance

Posted on
Balkan and Moldova
October 2013- June 2019

BIRN Hub

The Paper Trail Investigations is a project by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – BIRN Kosovo and BIRN HUB – to promote the rule of law, accountability and transparency in the Balkans and Moldova.

Summary

The Paper Trail Investigations is a project by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – BIRN Kosovo and BIRN HUB – to promote the rule of law, accountability and transparency in the Balkans and Moldova.

Information Sheet

Main Objective:
Contribute to better functioning of the public sector that abides by principles of transparency and accountability to its citizens which will in the long-term contribute to human security to the whole South-Eastern Europe/Danube Region.

Purpose of the program: Exposing wrongdoings of the governments, public and private companies, as well as individuals, through promotion of the rule of law, accountability and transparency

Specific Objectives:Main Activities:

  1. Implementing five investigative projects
  2. Two televised debates and reports produced and broadcasted
  3. Cross-border report on institutions’ compliance with Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation
  4. Creating online, searchable database of documents obtained using FoI legislation in each country
  5. Workshop and on-the-job training for at least 25 journalists

Target Groups:

The main target group of the project consists of investigative journalists, researchers, journalists from other media and public in general in the region and worldwide.
Highlights:
The two-and-a-half year programme focusses on five key themes which are critical for good governance in the region – energy, road building, the financial sector, the influx of money from the Middle East and the arms industry. More than 25 journalists have been trained in investigative skills and given special, in-depth knowledge of the particular field they are researching.

Through the extensive use of public documents, the investigations are exposing wrongdoing in government, public and private companies and among powerful individuals.

The project also addresses the transparency of public institutions in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Moldova.

As part of our drive for openness we have also established a free, user-friendly, searchable online library of public documents and scraped databases, BIRN Source.

Working with some of the biggest names in international journalism, BIRN has produced dozens of hard-hitting investigations which are reshaping the public perceptions of their governments, business elites and journalism.

Four BIRN investigations were published by The Guardian and were among the most popular stories on their website.

US Ambassador to Kosovo Hired by Construction Firm He Lobbied For http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/bechtel-hires-us-diplomat-amid-kosovo-contract-controversy (The Guardian  version of the text https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/14/us-ambassador-kosovo-construction-contract-firm-highway )

Serbia Quietly Grants Citizenship to Abbas Rival http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/serbia-quietly-grants-citizenship-to-abbas-rival and (The Guardian  version of the text https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/30/palestinian-president-rival-given-serbian-citizenship )

Tony Blair Advising Serbian Government 16 Years After Bombing of Belgrade http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/tony-blair-advising-serbian-government-16-years-after-bombing-of-belgrade (The Guardian  version of the text https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/18/tony-blair-advising-serbian-government )

Making a Killing: The 1.2 Billion Euro Arms Pipeline to Middle East http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/making-a-killing-the-1-2-billion-euros-arms-pipeline-to-middle-east-07-26-2016 and  (The Guardian  version of the text https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/27/weapons-flowing-eastern-europe-middle-east-revealed-arms-trade-syria )

Four journalists got third EU award for investigative reporting in Serbia for story about Zvonko Veselinovic. http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/veselinovic-linked-consortium-bags-75m-dollar-contract-in-secret-deal

A huge number of republications of BIRN stories by other media (2,000) has helped reaching a wider audience making a significant impact on citizens not only in the region but internationally as well (Italy, Spain, USA, UK, Middle East, Ukraine, Denmark etc.).