Media against Hate Workshop in Poland

Mirna Buljugic, executive director of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BIRN BiH, took part in a Media Literacy Training session organized by the Community Media Forum Europe, CMFE, at the University of Warmia and Mazury, in Olsztyn, Poland, from June 7th to 9th.

The focus was on freedom of expression and respect of human rights, specifically of Muslims, in the media, including discussing the portrayal of Muslims in the European media and highlighting the main issues and recommendations for improvement.

At several workshops, journalists learned more about how to recognize hate speech and become aware of the legitimate boundaries between freedom of expression and human rights.

Buljugic shared her own experience in the Bosnian media, talking about biased news coverage in which reporting still reflects national and religious identity.

A growing problem in BiH, she noted, is hatred that is spread via the online media, especially in the comments sections of online news portals, since no adequate mechanisms exist either to prevent or sanction such abuses from occurring.

Elameri Škrgić-Mikulić

Elameri began her professional career in journalism in 2000. She initially worked for daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz, reporting on social issues, and was also the editor-in-chief of Azra magazine for nine years.

She holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo.

Haris Rovčanin

Haris has worked with BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina since September 2016.

He started working as a journalist in 2006. He worked for daily newspaper Oslobodjenje for three years before joining Dnevni List, where he worked for seven years, reporting on local crimes and the work of the judiciary in the field of organised crime, terrorism, corruption and, partially, war crimes.

Semir Mujkić

Semir is an investigative journalist who joined BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 2017.

He has worked as a journalist since 2006. He began his career with START BiH Magazine. In 2009 he joined Zurnal online magazine, where he mainly focused on researching corruption in the health and energy sectors and public procurement.

He graduated in journalism from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo.

Semir has attended advanced training courses in journalism, Reuters’ training of trainers and a one-month training course on economic and political reporting in London and Berlin, as well as the BIRN Summer School of Investigative Reporting.

He was awarded a UNICEF prize for journalistic contribution for the protection and promotion of child rights in print media in 2016.

Admir Muslimović

Admir is an investigative journalist who joined BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 2017 after being involved in daily news reporting for 16 years.

He got his first journalistic experience working for the Tuzla-based TV station TVT in 2001. A year later he joined the then top-circulation daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz, where he focused on investigating corruption, crime and other political and social topics.

When daily newspaper Faktor and its website opened, he became its correspondent from Tuzla, reporting on similar topics. He was the editor-in-chief of a news site called bportal.

He graduated in journalism from the Department of Journalism of the Faculty of Philosophy at Tuzla University in 2005.

He has attended numerous training courses for journalists organised by UNICEF, Save the Children and BIRN.

Association of Prosecutors of FBIH

ASSOCIATE
The Association of Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a non-profit association established under Bosnian law for the purpose of providing support and education for the prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, FBiH, and protecting their interests.

The Association is member of the Justice Network developed under the USAID JSDP II project.

The Association of Prosecutors of FBiH provides professional support to BIRN’s advocacy efforts for its Transparency of Judiciary and Responsibility of Media project.

British Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina

DONOR
The British Embassy in Sarajevo is the official representation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is responsible for developing and maintaining relations between the UK and Bosnia.

The Embassy works proactively with international and local partners to implement a range of development projects supporting the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) priorities.

We administer several funds that assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in the most challenging areas of the transition process. EU accession related reform is the main focus of our programmes including projects in Justice and Home Affairs, political transparency and good governance.

The British Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina has previously supported BIRN’s TV Justice Project.

Web: http://ukinbih.fco.gov.uk/en/

Civil Rights Defenders (CDR)

DONOR
Civil Rights Defenders is an independent expert organisation founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1982, with the aim of defending people’s civil and political rights. Their work stretches from their own backyard to countries and regions all over the world.

One of the CRD’s main tasks is to empower its partners – brave human rights defenders, who often put themselves at great risk through their engagement for other people’s rights.

BIRN Albania

Civil Right Defenders, through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, has supported BIRN Albania since July 2014, to conduct a study on self-censorship in the Albanian media.

BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina

Civil Right Defenders through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency has supported BIRN BiH since October 2011, providing funding for the implementation of the Justice Series Programme.

Web: www.civilrightsdefenders.org

Justice Series: Media, civil society and war crime trials

BIRN BiH

BIRN BiH’s Justice Series programme is the organisation’s flagship effort that was launched in 2005, which aims to increase understanding of and support for the work of the war crimes trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.

Summary

After identifying the past as the main stumbling block for all major issues affecting the country, BIRN BiH became the pioneer in engaging the media and civil society representatives in the reconciliation process. BIRN BiH does not only produce reports and articles via its thematic programme, but it conducts analysis, engages with experts from the field, and most importantly, investigates the institutional mechanisms for tackling the issues of transitional justice.

The Justice Series programme encompasses three core activities for delivery of news and analysis: Justice Report Agency, Radio Justice, and TV Justice. The programme  offers reliable information about war crime trials and transitional justice issues from all the judicial instances of BiH. This information is regularly published on BIRN BiH’s main website, and distributed to over 300 media outlets in the country and worldwide.

BIRN BIH articles that are written as part of this programme are republished on a daily basis in almost all printed media outlets in the country, region and diaspora, as well as in many electronic media outlets.

In addition to the court-side reporting from the Court of BiH and local Cantonal and District courts, the programme includes the following activities: investigative reporting and analysis on local and regional transitional justice efforts; an online archive; coverage of ICTY trials; training activities for media and judiciary, universities, researchers, NGOs and the judiciary, as well as advocacy efforts to promote dialogue between the media and judiciary representatives.

BIRN BiH’s Justice Series programme targets a wide audience, from victims of war crimes to politicians and the international community.

This programme has received funding from the following organisations: the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, the MATRA Program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through Civil Rights Defenders, National Endowment for Democracy, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the British Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Foreign Commonwealth Office, the United States Agency for International Development – Justice Sector Development Project II, the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Open Society Fund.

Information Sheet

Main Objective:
BIRN BiH’s objective is to contribute to the establishment of truth and reconciliation by offering impartial information about war crime trials and other pillars of transitional justice.

BIRN’s Justice Series programme aims to bridge the gap between judicial institutions, security organisations and local government, and the citizens of BiH through timely, objective and reliable reporting on the issues of the past.

By dealing effectively with issues of the past it will also contribute to the overall social, political, and economic progress of BiH.

Specific Objectives:

BIRN BiH encourages:

  • Establishing publicly available source of information by fighting impunity and promoting justice at the state and local level
  • Maximizing the reconciliatory factor of war crimes trials within divided communities in BiH
  • Facilitating regional reconciliation by providing cross coverage of domestic war crimes processes in the regional media.
  • Facilitating the exchange of experience with different post conflict countries of the world
  • Inclusion of over one million members of the diaspora in justice and reconciliation process by delivering news and stories via BIRN BiH media partners

Main Activities:

  • Court-side reporting form the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of BiH
  • Court-side reporting from 16 local war crime courts within BiH
  • Reporting on transitional justice issues in BiH and the region
  • Conducting in-depth analyses and upholding the principles of investigative journalism
  • Online Archiving
  • Production of Radio Justice magazine
  • Production of TV Justice magazine
  • Coverage of ICTY trials
  • Organization of conferences, trainings, workshops for the media and judicial representatives
  • Advocacy through Association of Court Reporters
  • Capacity building and encouraging dialogue between the judiciary and media at the state and local levels in BiH

Target Groups:

BIRN BiH main beneficiaries and target groups are:

  • Local and regional media and their audiences (i.e. BHRT, FTV, RTRS, HRT, RTS, etc)
  • International media (Aljazeera, BBC, CNN, the Guardian, NYTimes, etc)
  • The war victims associations from across the country
  • Women victims of war and in search of their missing members of family
  • Former male camp detainees
  • Judicial institutions at the State, local Cantonal and District levels
  • Members of International Community in BiH, especially those directly involved in the rule of law and judiciary (OSCE, EU Delegation, OHR, UN agencies, foreign embassies, etc)
  • National and International non-governmental organizations (i.e. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Center for Transitional Justice, TRIAL, etc)
  • Academic institutions and future generations in the country and abroad (USA, Canada, EU countries)
  • Staff of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Highlights:

  • The primary material stored in the BIRN BiH archive includes daily reports on war crime trials from courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. They are the baseline for all our other products, such as TV and radio shows, and also serve as a source of inspiration for analyses, the stories of victims and interviews with relevant stakeholders.
  • BIRN BIH also produced two documentary films, “Missing You…” and “Silent Scream.” “Missing You…” depicts the suffering and harsh reality facing people who lost family members during times of peace and war. “Silent Scream” explores the trauma sexual abuse victims still experience twenty years after the end of the Bosnian war.
  • BIRN BIH publications

TV Justice

BIRN BiH

As part of its Justice Series Programme, BIRN BiH produces a high quality television show covering war crimes trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The show is broadcast on public and commercial television networks across the country.

Summary

BIRN BiH’s editorial team produces monthly 30-minute programmes that are broadcast across the country. The programme begins with Justice News, a 10-minute report on the latest developments before the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of BiH. The show also includes a Justice in Focus segment, which features in-depth analysis of a key trial currently in session, and Justice TV Reconstruction, which is made up of mini documentaries on war crimes.

TV Justice is provided in English and Bosnian online, and is distributed to television stations for broadcasting throughout the country, the region and internationally.

The TV Justice project is supported through institutional grants from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, and the MATRA Program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, the project received support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through Civil Rights Defenders, National Endowment for Democracy, the British Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Foreign Commonwealth Office, the United States Agency for International Development – Justice Sector Development Project II, the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Open Society Fund.

Information Sheet

Main Objective:

In launching the TV Justice project, the goal was to take advantage of BIRN BiH’s editorial excellence in trial monitoring, legal analysis and war crimes investigations and combine it with top quality production expertise to televise justice issues.The team’s overall goal is to increase understanding of and support for the work of the local judicial institutions dealing with war crimes, and to ensure a transparent and accessible justice system and thereby contribute to the establishment of truth and reconciliation in the region.

Specific Objectives:

The project aims to maximize the power of war crimes trials to promote reconciliation within divided communities by offering regular, fair, objective and sustained coverage and by strengthening understanding and cooperation between the representatives of the judiciary and the community.
Main Activities:

There are two main project activities: Production of TV Justice magazine, and production of ad hoc video clips and documentaries.In addition, the team has carried out research on 35 thematic cross-sectoral analyses of the work of the local judiciary, including access to public information, witness protection and support, right to defence, transparency and the independence of rule of law in Bosnia.

BIRN BiH also works to contribute to the exchange of experiences on different methods of transitional justice in post-conflict countries around the world, and involve over one million Bosnian diaspora in the justice and reconciliation process.

Target Groups:

The project targets the general public as well as local, regional and international media and judicial institutions, and civil society groups, victims, local governments, international policy-makers, and members of diaspora.

Highlights:
Since the project was launched in 2009, BIRN BiH has produced 48 TV Justice magazines.
TV Justice is aired on 27 local television stations including the public broadcasters. As of July 2013, the viewers of RTV Jablanica, RTV Glas Drine, and JP RTV7 Tuzla will be able to watch BIRN’s TV programme. Moreover, TV Justice is aired on two public broadcasters, BHT 1 and Federal TV each month with an estimated share of 21.6%.

This year BIRN BiH filmed an additional three documentary specials in addition to regular production of TV Justice.

The first special was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Hague Tribunal.

The second special focused on activism in Prijedor. It featured the story the Prijedor massacre, life of returnees and concentration camp survivors 20 years after the war, and ‘White Armband Action,’ a civil society initiative to mark the places of mass killings in Dretelj, Silos, Omarska, Kozarac.

The third special deals with the worldwide challenges and different practices involved in the process of accounting for missing persons. It will also highlight the role of the ICMP in the identification process in BiH.

A significant discovery of TV Justice was made in an interview with Munira Subasic and Edin Ramulic who both openly spoke about how they had to pay fee for information about the location of mass graves. This information led to the discovery of potentially the biggest mass grave in BiH, Tomasica, near Prijedor, and TV Justice was the first to have exclusive images of the first days of the exhumation.

TV Justice also aired archived images never seen before anywhere else on TV about the Srebrenica – Tuzla march. The survivor of the march Hasan Hasnovic who also exclusively spoke to TV Justice about how he had survived the genocide provided these images.

Another important achievement in the TV documentary production and regional cooperation is recently released BIRN’s film and short serial entitled: The Majority Starts Here. BIRN’s documentary features six young people who travel across ex-Yugoslavia to discover how conflicts have shaped their generation. The film was shown in the cities of Belgrade, Sarajevo, Skopje, Zagreb, and Pristina. The film as well as the complete serial was broadcasted on Aljazeera Balkans.

TV Justice episodes aided survivors of Dretelj detention camp to legally pursue reparation and damages for the suffering he had been through.

May 2013’s TV Justice Special – a two-hour debate on the issue of anonymization of the courts documents and other informational material – garnered a great deal of public attention and public disapproval of the new procedure. BIRN BiH was the first organization in the country to publicly address this change.

TV Justice was the first news agency to uncover the raping of women in Babin Potok near Visegrad in an episode that featured women witnesses and survivors.

In addition, over 650 DVDs of TV Justice were distributed to various stakeholders, mainly to representatives of judiciary, civil society, international organizations, and the media.