BIRN’s Krypometer Receives New Fact-Checking License

The International Fact-Checking Network, IFCN, has granted BIRN’s Krypometer an extended license to operate after a careful assessment of the work of this product.

In a published announcement, it said that following careful evaluation of the specific criteria, the Krypometer, a product of Kallxo.com, is an exclusively fact-checking initiative that operates within a legally registered organisation.

Its quality was based on an assessment of published stories from September, October and November of the previous year.

“The general conclusion is that the reporting seems to be in line with the principles of fairness, political impartiality and factuality,” the IFCN announcement said.

“Public information about the organisation, its employees and financial resources is accessible. The fact-checking methodology is explained, corrections are highlighted where such interventions are made in the text,” the announcement added.

Faik Ispahiu, director of Internews Kosova, called it an “internationally credible assessment of the work and the way of reporting” at Kallxo.com.

“Certification by the IFCN and public confidence makes us proud and strengthens our confidence that Kosovo can be a state of true values and achievements,” he added.

Jeta Xharra, director of BIRN Kosovo, recalled the hard work done to receive this positive assessment from the IFCN.

“IFCN has a system where it is not enough to be good only at the beginning (in 2018, when we were accredited for the first time); in fact, they have assessed our fact-checking methodology in a continuous manner,” Xharra said.

“I and my colleagues need to make sure we reach the proper level each year because we are the subject of a yearly audit from this international mechanism,” she added.

Krypometer’s goal is to reflect on the credibility of public statements from political figures on issues of major importance, be they local, central or international.

Krypometer does not focus only on the political accusations and counter-accusations commonly used during election campaigns.

It aims also to explain more complex matters, provide the context or history of statements and present a data analysis, as well as an explanation of how politicians, diplomats and others phrase and formulate their opinions, so as to distort or shadow the truth.

Kallxo.com and the TV show Jeta ne Kosove  are part of the IFCN of the US-based Poynter Institute, which is a media organisation that is dedicated to promoting excellence in fact-checking.

Tools to impartially and transparently verify facts are seen as powerful for accountable journalism. BIRN Kosovo and Internews Kosova are signatories to this code of principles, which was announced on September 15, 2016.

BIRN and Internews Kosova Welcome Court Access Regulation

The Kosovo Judicial Council, KJC, has issued a decision regulating access by parties to courts, which prohibits lawyers from approaching judges without prior arrangement and without the other parties being present and has sent a letter demanding equal measures for prosecutors to be implemented as well.

Lawyers have deemed this decision controversial and illegal, however, and have responded by boycotting their work in the courts, which is causing unnecessary and dangerous delays in trials.

On January 10, 2019, BIRN Kosovo and Internews Kosova, IKS sent a letter of support to the KJC, showing support for the decision and demanding equal treatment of parties in court procedures. BIRN Kosovo and IKS asked the KJC to apply the same procedure for prosecutors as well.

The letter reminds the KJC that BIRN and IKS, over 13 years of monitoring the justice system, have repeatedly called for equal treatment of prosecutors and lawyers so that the courts enjoy more credibility among citizens.

They deplore the practice of prosecutors meeting individually with judges just before hearings start, having coffee together before trials, or entering the court hearing together, as a bad practice that is likely to undermine the faith of both the parties and the public.

BIRN and IKS also urged the KJC not to allow this decision to be used by individuals against court monitors and the media in a way that would endanger the transparency of court procedures, and question the objectivity and impartiality of the court.

BIRN and IKS also requested the KJC to continue with the swift implementation of the decision, and ensure the proper and normal functioning of the courts.

Three BIRN-Backed Stories Receive Prizes for Human Rights Reporting in Kosovo

Three journalistic pieces produced by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, were awarded with prizes in a competition by the NGO Coalition for the Protection of Children, KOMF.

In cooperation with the Forum ZFD and the Center for the Education of Kosovo, through EIDHR projects financed by the EU and managed by the EU Office in Kosovo, KOMF held the annual award ceremony for journalistic reporting on the rights of children in Kosovo.

Donjeta Kelmendi, director of KOMF, said that the media and journalists have always supported her organisation.

“Without support from the media, we would not have had the results we achieved as a coalition so far. This year, there was a lot of competition, like in previous years. We expect that 2019 will have even greater collaborations than previous years,” she said.

Libor Chlad, the Deputy Head of Cooperation at the EU Office in Kosovo, said that it is an honor for him to be present at the prize-giving ceremony.

“The EU has been the main donor in Kosovo to advance some sectors in the past years. We are in favor of improving the quality of life here in the future. We need to support children. We concluded that security is paramount, but also their smiles. It is not easy to include all of these. It is important for journalists to write about the issues that children face,” he said.

KALLXO.com journalist Emirjeta Vllahiu was awarded with a prize for the article titled “The 10 euro bonus does not cover essential expenses for raising children,” on the resolution approved by the Kosovo assembly to give 10 euros monthly for children under 16 years of age.

Another KALLXO.com article awarded in the competition was written by a group of authors – Agnesa Citaku, Ertan Galushi, Mergim Rudari, Fatjona Mani, Valon Fana – titled “Between the desire and inability to get an education,” a project supported by the Office of the EU Special Representative in Kosovo, implemented by BIRN, increasing the cooperation between journalists and all communities in Kosovo. The article is dedicated to the issues that Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian children face regarding access to education.

The TV story called “Punishment” by RTK journalist Festim Kabashi was also awarded; it was a project supported by the EU Office in Kosovo and implemented by BIRN. The documentary shows the violence that children face within the families in Kosovo.

Other awarded stories were “Child mother” by RTK journalist Kaltrina Rexhepi, as well as the article titled “The dangerous mountain road towards education” by Koha Ditore journalist Edona Kutleshi.

BIRN Kosovo Co-Hosts Discussion on Tax Administration

Democracy Plus (D+) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Kosovo held a round table in Pristina on December 18 entitled ‘Legal challenges on protecting integrity and combating conflict of interest in the Tax Administration of Kosovo (TAK)’.

The aim was to discuss the findings from an analysis of legislation which regulates integrity and conflict of interest at TAK. Present at the round table were representatives of TAK, the government of Kosovo, and civil society.

Isuf Zejna, manager of the rule-of-law programme at D+, and Kreshnik Gashi, editor at BIRN’s Kallxo.com site, presented the findings of the analysis.

Arsim Syla, Office Manager for Professional Standards at TAK, discussed the legislation and the current draft law for public officials with the other panelists, Shqipe Pantina from the Kosovo parliament, and Dr. Bedri Peci, professor of tax and budget rights. Peci said that “legislation should be prepared by people who have experience in legislation, and not by tax officials”.

Following the panel discussion, Shqipe Shoshi Dermaku, Human Resources Manager at TAK, joined an open discussion, pointing out that the internal procedures and status of TAK are crucial to the legislation.

Feedback and suggestions from the discussion will be used to finalise a needs assessment analysis for TAK compiled by Democracy Plus and BIRN Kosovo.

This debate was organised within the framework of the project ‘Support civil society to increase public oversight and accountability of Kosovo public institutions’, funded by the British Embassy in Pristina.

BIRN Kosovo Marks International Human Rights Day

GIZ, BIRN Kosovo and other non-governmental organisations took part in an event organised by the Ombudsperson to mark International Human Rights Day under the slogan “Stand up for human rights”.

Participants in the International Human Rights Day event, including representatives of marginalised groups and human rights advocates, made speeches at the National Theatre of Kosovo in Pristina on Monday.

Following the speeches, they marched from Skenderbeu Square to Zahir Pajaziti Square, supported by various NGOs that deal with women’s rights, children, retirees, minorities and LGBT issues.

BIRN Kosovo produced seven video clips in Albanian and Serbian aimed at raising awareness of the situation of children, youth, women, Roma Ashkali and Egyptian communities, the LGBTI community, people with disabilities and senior citizens in Kosovo.

The clips were played at the event organised by the Ombudsperson, posted on BIRN Kosovo’s KALLXO.com site and broadcast on Public Radio Television of Kosovo.

December 10 is marked around the world as International Human Rights Day, commemorating the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted at the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948.

Call for Proposals Aimed to Strengthen Independent Journalism in Kosovo

Call for Proposals for the EU Funded Project.

“Contribute to strengthening independent, investigative and publicly beneficial journalism and freedom of expression in Kosovo”

Deadline for applying December 28, 2018 at 4 PM.

BIRN and AJK have teamed up once again to implement the EU-funded project entitled “Contribute to strengthening independent, investigative and publicly beneficial journalism and freedom of expression in Kosovo”. One of the project’s components is the Call for Proposals aimed at providing opportunities for local NGOs/CSOs, including journalists, who operate and work in Kosovo, tackling issues related to media and freedom of expression in their respective communities. The scheme seeks to develop independent, investigative, impartial, unbiased, publicly beneficial journalism and equip the beneficiaries with the required skills and resources to implement creative, investigative, legally sound and publicly beneficial journalism.

This Call for Proposals contains two lots:

LOT I: Supporting the production of new content through investigative reporting and/or in-depth analysis on good governance, human rights, environment, sustainable development, competitiveness and investment climate, employment, public procurement, safety and security, energy efficiency, culture, dealing with the past;

LOT II: Supporting the improvement of the legal framework on the transparency of media ownership, copyright, whistleblowing, defamation, and fostering the expansion of membership in and cooperation between associations of Albanian and Serbian journalists.

The applications MUST be sent by e-mail to [email protected] by December 28, 2018, at 16:00.

All applications must be prepared and submitted in either Albanian, Serbian, or English language.

Information sessions will be held on December 17, 2018 at the EU Information and Cultural Centre in Pristina and on December 18, 2018 at the EU Information and Cultural Centre in the North Mitrovica.

Questions regarding the propositions of the Call for Proposals can be sent in either English, Albanian or Serbian language by e-mail before December 19, 2018 to the e-mail: [email protected].

 


Thirrje për Propozime për Projekt të Financuar nga BE

“Kontribut në forcimin e gazetarisë së pavarur, hulumtuese dhe të dobishme për publikun, si dhe në lirinë e shprehjes në Kosovë

Afati i fundit për aplikim 28.12.2018, në ora 16.00

BIRN dhe AGK janë bashkuar përsëri për të zbatuar projektin e financuar nga BE me titull “Kontribut në forcimin e gazetarisë së pavarur, hulumtuese dhe të dobishme për publikun, si dhe në lirinë e shprehjes në Kosovë”. Një nga komponentët e projektit është kjo Thirrje për Propozime me qëllim të ofrimit të mundësive për OJQ/OSHC-të lokale duke përfshirë këtu gazetarët që veprojnë dhe punojnë në Kosovë për trajtimin e çështjeve që kanë të bëjnë me lirinë e medias dhe lirinë e shprehjes. Skema e ofruar synon të zhvillojë gazetari të pavarur, hulumtuese, të paanshme, joparagjykuese, dhe në të mirë të publikut, dhe t’i pajisë përfituesit me shkathtësitë dhe burimet e nevojshme për të ndërtuar një gazetari krijuese, hulumtuese ligjore dhe në të mirë publike.

Kjo Thirrje për Propozime përmban dy llote:

LLOTI I: Mbështetja e implementimit të përmbajtjes së re përmes raportimit hulumtues dhe/ose analizave të thella mbi qeverisjen e mirë, të drejtat e njeriut, mjedisin, zhvillimin e qëndrueshëm, konkurrencën në fushën e investimit, punësimin, prokurimin publik, sigurinë, efikasitetin energjetik, kulturën, dhe ballafaqimin me të kaluarën.

LLOTI II: Mbështetja e përmirësimit të transparencës në kuadrin ligjor, të drejtës së autorit, kallxuesve, shpifjes, dhe nxitjes së zgjerimit të anëtarësisë dhe bashkëpunimit mes shoqatave të gazetarëve shqiptarë me ata serbë.

Aplikacionet DUHET të dërgohen me postë elektronike në adresën [email protected] deri më 28.12.2018, ora 16:00.

Të gjitha aplikacionet duhet të përgatiten dhe dorëzohen në shqip, serbisht ose anglisht.

Seancat informuese do të mbahen më 17 dhjetor 2018 në ora 10:00 në Qendrën Informative dhe Kulturore të BE-së në Prishtinë dhe më 18 dhjetor 2018 në ora 10:00 në Qendrën Informative dhe Kulturore në Mitrovicën e Veriut.

Pyetjet në lidhje me propozimet e Thirrjes për Propozime mund të dërgohen në anglisht, shqip ose serbisht përmes postës elektronike deri më 19 dhjetor 2018 në adresën: [email protected].


Poziv za predloge za projekat koji finansira EU

“Doprinos jačanju nezavisnog, istraživačkog i novinarstva od javnog značaja i slobodi izražavanja na Kosovu

Rok za podnošenje prijava: 28. decembar 2018. u 16.00 časova.

BIRN i UNK su udružili snage u sprovođenju projekta koji finansira EU “Doprinos jačanju nezavisnog, istraživačkog i novinarstva od javnog značaja i slobode izražavanja na Kosovu”. Poziv za predloge je jedna od komponenti projekta koja ima za cilj pružanje prilika nevladinim/organizacijama civilnog društva, uključujući i novinare koji žive i rade na Kosovu i bave se pitanjima slobode medija i slobode izražavanja u svojim zajednicama. Navedena grant šema pokušava da razvije ne samo nezavisno, istraživačko, objektivno i novinarstvo od javnog značaja na Kosovu, nego i da korisnicima pruži odgovarajuće veštine i resurse za prevazilaženje protokolarnog novinarstva i mogućnost bavljenja kreativnim, istraživačkim, tačnim i novinarstvom od javnog značaja.

Ovaj Poziv sadrži dva lota:

LOT I: Podrška produkciji novih sadržaja kroz istraživačko izveštavanje i/ili detaljne analize o dobrom upravljanju, ljudskim pravima, životnoj sredini, održivom razvoju, konkurentnosti i investicionoj klimi, zapošljavanju, javnim nabavkama, sigurnosti i bezbednosti, energetskoj efikasnosti, kulturi, suočavanju s prošlošću;

LOT II: Podrška unapređenju pravnog okvira o transparentnosti medijskog vlasništva, autorskih prava, uzbunjivanja, klevete i podsticanja širenja članstva i saradnje između udruženja albanskih i srpskih novinara.

Prijave se MORAJU poslati e-mailom na [email protected] do 28.12.2018. u 16.00 časova.

Sve prijave moraju da budu popunjene na albanskom, srpskom ili engleskom jeziku.

Informativne sesije će biti održane 17. decembra 2018. u Informativno-kulturnom centru EU u Prištini i 18. decembra 2018. u Informativno-kulturnom centru EU u Severnoj Mitrovici.

Pitanja u vezi sa „Pozivom za predloge“ se mogu poslati na engleskom, albanskom ili srpskom jeziku e-mailom do 19. decembra 2018. na e-mail: [email protected].


BIRN Holds Debate on Audit Reports in Gjilan/Gnjilane

BIRN Kosovo held its third debate on November 26 to present findings from its analysis of Auditor General’s reports, this time for the Gjilan/Gnjilane municipality.

The results of BIRN Kosovo’s monitoring of the implementation of audit recommendations for the Gjilan/Gnjilane municipality were presented in an open debate on November 26, with more than 30 representatives from the municipality, civil society and Auditor General in attendance.

BIRN Kosovo Editor Visar Prebreza gave a brief presentation of the project and its findings, which showed that of the 45 recommendations provided to the municipality, only ten have been implemented.

The Mayor of the Municipality of Gjilan/Gnjilane, Lutfi Haziri, addressed the main points of the analysis and declared that for the upcoming years, work will be done to strengthen the capacities of auditing, procurement, and finance management in his municipality.

A representative of the National Audit Office, Ilir Salihu, was also present to answer questions from the panel and the audience.

Salihu, said that such meetings contribute to inter-institutional communication, transparency, and clarifications that might be needed after the provision of recommendations.

The debate was organised within the framework of the project, ‘Support civil society to increase public oversight and accountability of Kosovo public institutions’, funded by the British Embassy in Pristina. It specifically addressed the project component that looks at the compliance of targeted institutions with recommendations of the National Audit Office.

Similar debates will be held in more municipalities in Kosovo with the aim to present the BIRN Kosovo analysis on the implementation of audit recommendations.

Every debate will be held in the municipal assemblies of the municipalities in question, and will be livestreamed by BIRN Kosovo.

BIRN Holds Debate on Audit Reports in Prizren

BIRN Kosovo held its second debate to present findings from its analysis of municipality audit reports, this time for the municipality of Prizren, on November 23.

The outcomes of the analysis and monitoring were presented in an open debate with more than 20 participants from the municipality, the auditors and civil society, as well as local media including RTK and TV Prizreni.

Kreshnik Gashi, editor and moderator of BIRN Kosovo’s TV programme ‘Justice in Kosovo’, gave a brief presentation on the project and the findings of the analysis on the audit of the municipality.

The mayor of Prizren, Mytaher Haskuka, then discussed the situation with the implementation of recommendations from the National Audit Office.

Haskuka emphasised that the crucial issue for the municipality remains the managing of contracts with economic operators – suppliers of goods, works or services. Haskuka said the reason for this is the large number of contracts compared to the small number of directorate officials who have to deal with the contracts.

A representative of the National Audit Office, Ilir Salihu, was also present to answer questions from the panel and the audience.

Regarding the municipality of Prizren, Salihu said that activities that were planned have not been implemented, and advised that municipalities should be more careful when drafting action plans.

“I would like to emphasise an important thing… I think that neither the municipalities nor the other entities audited should draft action plans just for the sake of fulfilling a legal obligation, because the purpose of our recommendations is not to overburden the municipal or central administration with activities that are not important or necessary. So my personal advice is that when drafting action plans, [municipalities] should look at activities that are reasonable and feasible, and second, target realistic deadlines,” Salihu said.

This debate was organised within the framework of the project ‘Support civil society to increase public oversight and accountability of Kosovo public institutions’funded by the British Embassy in Pristina. This part of the project looks at compliance by institutions with recommendations in the Auditor General’s reports.

Similar debates will be held in other municipalities to present the findings of BIRN Kosovo’s analysis of the implementation of audit recommendations. Each debate will be held at municipal assemblies and will be livestreamed by BIRN Kosovo.

Accurate and Ethical Reporting in Online and Televised Journalism

BIRN Kosovo

Through this project, BIRN Kosovo aims to empower young journalists and lawyers in Kosovo, through capacity-building training courses on accuracy and ethical reporting, access to public documents, and the consequences of inaccurate reporting, among other subjects.

Summary

Through this project, BIRN Kosovo aims to empower young journalists and lawyers in Kosovo, through capacity-building training courses on accuracy and ethical reporting, access to public documents, and the consequences of inaccurate reporting, among other subjects.

Information Sheet

Donor:

Funded by Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, led by Kosovo Cicil Society Foundation (KCSF)

Main Objective:

Increasing the capacity and professionalism of students of law and journalism in journalistic reporting, access to data, and the legal consequences of incorrect reporting.

Specific Objectives: 

  • Increasing capacities of young students of law and journalism in fair journalistic reporting, compiling requests for access to public documents, and the legal consequences of inaccurate reporting;
  • Raising awareness and public debate about fair journalistic reporting and the safety of journalists.

Main Activities:

  • Organising seven training sessions with young journalism and law students on journalistic ethics and the legal consequences of incorrect reporting;
  • Offering legal assistance on access to public documents for journalism and law students;
  • Distributing 15 scholarships to students of journalism and law universities for conducting joint investigations;
  • Editing and publishing 15 investigations in cooperation with students who won the scholarships;
  • Producing two TV debates through the TV programmes “Life in Kosovo” and “Justice in Kosovo” on the topic of journalists’ security and accurate and impartial reporting;
  • Producing 5 long articles in Krypometër on the accuracy of information.

Target Groups:

  • Students of journalism and law;
  • Marginalised gender and ethnic groups;
  • Civil society.

Highlights:

  • 124 students were trained in Improving Research Reporting Standards Through Joint Experiences. The students were from different educational backgrounds, mainly from Journalism and Law. The training included students from the municipalities of Prishtina, Gjilan, Prizren and Mitrovica.
  • BIRN Kosovo distibuted 15 scholarships to students interested in investigating on and publishing a journalistic story while applying high journalistic standards;
  • BIRN Kosovo opened its legal office to assist students of Journalism and Law with access to public documents, with the aim of verifying facts.

 

BIRN Editors Address Nuremberg Trial Reporting Seminar

BIRN editors from Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in a seminar in Nuremberg, Germany, on journalism and trial reporting on November 19-22.

BIRN Kosovo’s Kreshnik Gashi and BIRN Bosnia’s Denic Dzidic travelled to the German city of Nuremberg to address a seminar organised by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and the International Nuremberg Principles Academy on journalism and trial reporting.

Gashi, editor and moderator of BIRN Kosovo’s TV programme ‘Justice in Kosovo’, made a presentation about the work of BIRN Kosovo’s site KALLXO.com on reporting war crimes, covering the legal responsibilities of journalists writing such sensitive reports, accurate and objective reporting, and the verification of facts before reporting on cases.

Dzidic, editor in chief of BIRN Bosnia’s online publication Detektor, spoke about lessons learned from following international tribunals and war crimes trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He highlighted how BIRN had become a specialised news media for transitional justice and what importance that played for the victims and diaspora communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The seminar focused on the key role of journalists on informing the public about criminal trials, the seminar was structured into three modules – Basics of International Criminal Law; Journalism and International Criminal Tribunals, and Reporting on International Criminal Tribunals.

Opening remarks at the seminar were made by the director of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, Klaus Rackwitz, and Dr. Fidelman Donlon from the registrar’s office at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.