BIRN Albania Launches Reporter.al News Site

Over 40 representatives of the media, non-governmental organisations and partners attended the official launch of BIRN Albania’s news website Reporter.al on October 3.

The guests were greeted by Andi Dobrushi, Executive Director of the Open Society Foundation in Albania (OSFA), and BIRN’s English-language editor Marcus Tanner.

Reporter.al is a general news website designed to promote excellence in journalism, with a particular focus on investigative reporting, with stories that cover the war against corruption and impunity in the country.

The interactive website will publish investigative stories, analyses, reports and blogs, but also features from Albania and the region in the local language.

Through the website, BIRN will expand its reporting from Albania with special projects on media development, culture, elections and human rights.

Since it went live on September 1, the website has received more than 150,000 visitors.

The online publication is supported by the Open Society Foundation in Albania (OSFA), National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD).

Gjergj Erebara

Gjergj Erebara is journalist for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, in Albania.

Since 1998 he has worked as a journalist for various print publications, electronic media and televisions. He has a bachelor degree in Journalism and Master of Science degree in Economic History from University of Lund.

BIRN Albania Launches Reporter.al Website

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania has launched a new website designed to bring its award winning news, analysis, features and investigations to local audiences, and strengthen the cooperation between journalists and civil society.

The website, launched on Monday, is part of the BIRN Albania’s programme ‘Exposing Corruption in Albania’, supported by the Open Society Foundation in Albania (OSFA), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD).

Reporter.al is a general news website designed to promote excellence in journalism, with a particular focus in investigative reporting, with stories that cover the war against corruption and impunity in the country.

The interactive website will publish investigative stories, analysis, reports, blogs, but also features from Albania and the region in local language.

Through the website BIRN will expand its reporting from Albania with special projects on media development, culture, elections and human rights.

BIRN Albania Seeks Three Monitoring Experts on How Media Report Corruption

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania launched an open call on Wednesday for media monitoring experts for a study on how corruption is reported by local media outlets.

The call is part of the programme ‘Exposing Corruption in Albania’, supported by the Open Society Foundation in Albania (OSFA), the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD) and the National Endowment for Democracy, NED.

The purpose of the programme is to contribute to overall democratization processes in Albania by bridging the gap between civil society organizations and journalists, building their capacities and creating common ground for joint action in exposing corruption cases in the country, by providing journalists with necessary reporting skills, and regular reporting in the Albanian language on the misuse of power in the country. 

BIRN Albania seeks three monitoring experts, who will be engaged for a three-month period, starting August 20, 2014, to monitor six media outlets, three newspapers and three national television stations.

The successful candidates should fulfill the following requirements:

–          University degree, preferably in communications or journalism;
–          Excellent Albanian and English language skills;
–          Previous experience in media monitoring or media development;
–          Excellent communication skills and willingness to work as part of a team.

The candidates who are chosen will have the following responsibilities:

–          Daily monitoring of articles on corruption in selected media outlets for a three-month period;
–          Preparing daily reports on published or broadcast stories;
–          Contributing to data analysis for a monitoring study;
–          Contributing to the writing of the media monitoring study.

Deadline for applications is August 12, 2014.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Interested candidates should send a CV and a letter of interest to [email protected]

BIRN Albania is an equal opportunity employer.

BIRN Albania Launches Call for Environmental Investigations

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania launched an open call on Monday for investigative stories on environmental issues.

The call, which closes on June 30, is part of the programme ‘Exposing Corruption in Albania’, supported by the Open Society Foundation in Albania (OSFA) and the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD).

Three journalists will be awarded a grant to cover their expenses while doing the investigation and writing the story on environmental crime and corruption.

Journalists will have about three months to dig deeper and research their ideas, but also the opportunity to work with experienced editors as their mentors to guide them through the process of writing to BIRN’s standards.

More calls for investigative grants will follow, for a total of 21 stories until December 2016. Topics for future investigations will include: Health, Education, the Rule of Law, Organized Crime, Local Government and Public Administration.
The call only applies to journalists from Albania.

Click for more information about the application procedure, with details in Albanian.

BIRN Albania Holds Roundtable on Environment

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Albania organised a roundtable on June 10 in Tirana bringing together journalists with civil society organisations working on environmental issues.

It was the first in a series of seven roundtables, part of a programme called ‘Exposing Corruption in Albania’, which is financed by the Open Society Foundation in Albania (OSFA) and the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD).

The project aims to expose corruption cases in eight different sectors: the environment, the judiciary, education, public administration, local government and organised crime, by bridging the gap between journalists and CSOs, and by providing a solid basis for collaboration in exposing abuses of power.

About 20 representatives of non-governmental organisations and journalists debated the possibilities of working together on important issues for the environment but also for ordinary people.

The NGO representatives underlined that there are many environmental problems in Albania that the topic should be a ‘gold mine’ for investigative journalists.

They listed dozens of key topics, ranging from the use of chemicals in agriculture tothe impact of new hydropower plants, illegal fishing and deforestation and answered more detailed questions about the options for research on those topics.

The journalists said that they were interested in writing investigative stories on the topics that the NGOs highlighted and both groups agreed that closer cooperation between CSOs and the media was necessary to tackle complex issues.

Kristina Voko

Kristina Voko is the executive director of BIRN Albania and coordinates the network’s activities, fundraising and projects in the office in Tirana.

For more than ten years she has been engaged in coordinating and managing different projects for national and international organizations, concerning the development of policies, regulatory and legal frameworks; promotion of human rights and social inclusion through the empowerment of individuals and associations; training of professionals and other actors; promotional activities for communities; etc.

During her professional experience she has been involved in project development and planning, management of donor-funded projects and project cycle management for organizations like the Open Society Foundation in Albania, World Health Organization, etc.

Also, she has worked as a consultant for different actors, such as UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, Wold Vision, Terre des Hommes and Swiss Cooperation.

BIRN Albania Launches Anti-Corruption Programme

On April 1st the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania (BIRN Albania) launched a three year programme, which aims to expose corruption and impunity, through investigative reporting and closer cooperation between journalists and civil society organizations.

The programme will include training and mentoring for journalists in investigative reporting, quarterly calls and funding for stories that expose corruption in the public sectors, media monitoring of corruption, as well as joint brainstorming workshops between NGOs and reporters.

The programme aims at exposing corruption cases in eight different sectors, including Environment, Healthcare, Judiciary, Education, Public Administration, Local Government and Organized Crime.

The purpose of the programme is to contribute to overall democratization processes in Albania by bridging the gap between civil society organizations and journalists, building their capacities and creating the common ground for their joint action in exposing the corruption cases in the country.

In September 2014, BIRN will launch a new news website in Albanian, which will bring enhanced coverage of the main issues the country faces, with investigative reports, regular news and analysis.

Balkan Insight Media Watch Page Launched

BIRN has launched a special focus page on media in the Balkans – the first of its kind in the region.

All media-related news and analysis from the Balkans are now available on Balkan Insight’s Media Watch Page.

It features a brand-new analysis package on the media situation in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia.

It also features a regional analysis on the role of the EU. Some praise the EU for pushing for the adoption of media legislation that meets European standards. But others are more critical, saying that the EU should have been much more proactive in combating growing political pressures on independent media.

The launch comes ahead of the second ‘Speak Up!’ conference on June 20, at which the European Commission will gather hundreds of media experts from all over Europe to discuss media freedom in the Western Balkans and Turkey. 

In its progress reports, the European Commission has repeatedly set out its concerns about restrictions on freedom of expression and the media in the Western Balkans and Turkey, noting that threats to freedom of expression also threaten the foundations on which the “union of values” is built.

In an effort to identify solutions, the European Commission’s ‘Speak Up’ conference is bringing together participants from international, regional and national media organisations, civil society, academia and national administrations.

Besar Likmeta

Besar has extensive experience in journalism, having worked in print, television and electronic media in both the US and Albania since 2003.

Besar has been the editor for BIRN Albania since 2007, and serves as the country correspondent for Balkan Insight.

Besar started his career reporting for the Florida Times Union in Jacksonville, Florida. He moved to Albania in 2005 where he worked as a features editor for the Tirana Times, and a world news editor for the 24 hour news channel TV Ora News.

He has also contributed stories to various publications including The Christian Science Monitor, Global Post, Transitions Online, The Diplomatic Courier and World Politics Review.

In 2009 Besar received the CEI/SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism and in 2010 he was runner up to the Global Shining Light Award, presented at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Geneva. Besar studied philosophy at the University of North Florida.