Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) – database update

BIRN Serbia
BIRN Serbia is conducting media ownership monitoring for the second time in order to reveal relevant trends in ownership concentration, enabling the public to make more educated choices as media consumers.

Summary

BIRN Serbia is conducting media ownership monitoring for the second time in Serbia in order to reveal relevant trends in ownership concentration, enabling the public to make more educated choices as media consumers. Ideally, greater awareness will result in regulatory countermeasures in the medium term.

Donor: Reporters Without Borders Germany

Information Sheet

Main Objective

The overall objective is to foster freedom of information and media pluralism while defending the diversity of opinions through differentiated media ownership.

Specific Objectives

The Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) is a standardised instrument for research and publication, creating and enhancing transparency of national mass media ownership. Ownership shares of media outlets and the respective market shares of their products can be used as indicators of media pluralism in each target country.

Collecting data and updating and classifying them is critical for raising political awareness of this problem, initiating debate and eventually establishing a legal framework to enhance control of media concentration.

The results of MOM can help strengthen the media literacy of all citizens; their user behaviour is changed when they know – or at least can know – who is behind a TV or radio station, a newspaper or internet portal.

Main Activities

Conducting media ownership monitoring in Serbia

Target Groups

  • Legislature (media and anti-trust law, concentration control);
  • Professional public (media journalists, media studies and research, trade and professional associations, civil society actors);
  • Media owners;
  • Any media user, general public

Highlights

Web site will be updated with monitoring results

Corrupting the Birthrates

BIRN Serbia
A new law on financial support to families with children (which was adopted in 2017 and came into force in 2018) has been creating confusion among citizens of Serbia.

Summary

While the government claims its policies are intended to increase birth rates, pregnant women and new mothers across Serbia are dissatisfied with low incomes during their absence from work. A new way of calculating maternity benefits leaves women confused and with no clear information about how much money they can expect while pregnant or after giving birth.

Donor: Transparency International

Information Sheet

Main Objective

To inform Serbian citizens so they can exercise their rights in relation to maternity leave and state financial aid.

Specific Objectives

To develop a digital tool that calculates maternity and pregnancy leave compensation in order to better inform the Serbian public.

Main Activities

Data collection, monitoring and analysis
Developing digital tools
Publishing analysis

Target Groups

Families with children, general public

Highlights

Analysis, digital tools, date bases

Main implementer

BIRN Serbia

Moldova – Romania: A Network of Stories

BIRN Romania
The project aims to foster mutual understanding among people from Moldova and Romania by creating a network of human interest stories (print and audio) related to what does it mean to be a Moldovan citizen today in relation with a Romanian one, in an era of geopolitical tensions and radical social change.

Summary

At least ten journalists from both countries will produce some 20 long form, in-depth stories, which will be published on local and international level. A selection of stories will be published as an e-book which will be highly redistributed to general public and stakeholders.

Donor: Open Society FoundatioBlack Sea Trust Fund – A German Marshall Projectn, Serbia

Information Sheet

Main Objective

To contribute to the confidence building and mutual understanding process among the citizens from Moldova and Romania.

Specific Objectives

  • To involve at least 10 journalists from Moldova and Romania to report on human interest stories relevant for both countries
  • To supply local media from both countries with interviews, good-quality analytical articles and opinion pieces
  • To support informed debate on key challenges both countries are facing, both at national and regional level.

Main Activities

  • BIRN Romania team will activate its network of journalists and stringer from Moldova and Romania but will also launch a public call for contributors. Basic rules of editorial policies and communication will be established.
  • BIRN Romania will commission the stories and will schedule their publication date
  • Under guidance from BIRN team (on-the-job training), the journalists will write up to 20 long form, in-depth articles. The articles will be published simultaneously on SINOPSIS website and on BIRN’s media partners from Moldova and Romania. A selection of the articles (or brief version of them) will be published in English on the Balkan Insight website and also distributed to an international audience.
  • A selection and revised version of the articles will be published as an e-book, which will be distributed to general public and stakeholders.

Target Groups

  • At least 10 journalists from Moldova and Romania.
  • General public from the above mentioned countries
  • International audience interested in the Eastern Europe region.

Main implementer

BIRN Romania

Partners

Several publications from Romania and Moldova

Public Money for Public Interest – Measuring Index of Transparency of Public Money in the Media

BIRN Serbia
Through this project, BIRN will encourage the participation of civil society in the process of increasing transparency of public spending for media.

Summary

In the cross-sectoral cooperation, 10 representatives of local CSOs throughout Serbia will be involved.

Donor: Open Society Foundation, Serbia

Information Sheet

Main Objective

To increase transparency and accountability in the spending of public money in the media sector through the involvement of civil society and joint activities of monitoring and public advocacy.

Specific Objectives

  • Mentoring, capacity-building and networking of 10 representatives of local CSOs, enabling them to adequately monitor budget money spending in the media sector.
  • Systematic monitoring of media financing from local budgets, through the methodology of the Transparency Index
  • Presentation of results and joint public advocacy activities that promote the transparency of public funding and procedures and practices of allocating public money to media

Main Activities

A1: Networking, capacity-building, learning by doing
A2: Data collection and monitoring
A3: Promotion of results and public advocacy
A4: Evaluation

Target Groups

Primary target group: an informal group of local CSOs that BIRN has gathered within the project Public Money for Public Interest.
Secondary target groups: decision-makers at local and national level, media, civil society organisations, professional associations and the general public.

Highlights

  • The Transparency Index reserch results
  • Local public debates
  • Policy briefs

Main implementer

BIRN Serbia

Partners

  • Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS)
  • Slavko Curuvija Foundation (SCF)

Under the Spotlight: Criminal Justice in Serbia

BIRN Serbia

Promotion of judicial transparency and accountability through investigative reporting.

Summary

BIRN will provide comprehensive public insight into the capacities of the judicial system to fight against the corruption through the newly-established mechanism of special courts and prosecution offices in charge of the abuse of funds, money-laundering and tax evasion.

BIRN plans to increase its content production and publishing on BIRN Serbia’s flagship website javno.rs, providing citizens with accurate and unbiased information about cases of corruption, access to justice and abuse of public funds or posts.

BIRN will produce at least four journalistic stories in different formats – investigative, data-journalism and/or analytical content, published on the javno.rs platform, with follow-ups on the reported cases. Additionally, two online databases will be created, establishing an evidence base for tracing the work of the special anti-corruption departments and their effectiveness in processing the cases of high corruption..

Information Sheet

Main Objective:
To promote judicial transparency and accountability through investigative reporting.
Specific Objectives:
  • To promote the accountability of the judiciary and other state institutions through investigative journalism and professional media reporting
  • To put the spotlight on newly-established judicial instruments and their contribution to anti-corruption efforts, by scrutinizing their work and exposing potential cases of the abuse of funds, money-laundering and tax evasion

Main Activities:

  1. Content production
  2. Creation of online databases
  3. Online promotion and awareness-raising

Target Groups:

Journalists, experts, the public
Highlights: 
Investigations, Analysis, Data bases

Digital Media Action

BIRN Serbia

The overall objective is to reinforce the role of media in democratic processes in Serbia by enhancing the reach and impact of quality, public-interest oriented journalism that strives to make government more accountable to citizens

Summary

The Digital Media Action project involves independent media through a small grants scheme and innovative training approaches, responding to their needs and motivations, giving them expertise, tools and resources, including the opportunity to publish and efficiently promote and start monetizing their work.

The project will demonstrate the power of quality media and journalism to bring to the public eye sensitive and underreported issues and steer debate about them.

This will have a positive impact on the Serbian public, who will be better informed and thus able to hold authorities accountable, and also on the participating media, as their profile and influence will be strengthened, creating the basis for their future sustainability.

Information Sheet

Main Objective:
The overall objective is to reinforce the role of media in democratic processes in Serbia by enhancing the reach and impact of quality, public-interest oriented journalism that strives to make government more accountable to citizens.

Specific Objectives:

  • Make independent media more financially stable, producing regular, high quality and professional content that meets citizens’ demands
    There is a considerable need and space for improvement in journalistic, technical and managerial terms in order to expand their influence and create the basis for sustainability in a fast-developing digital arena, currently dominated by questionable and highly politicized, externally influenced journalistic standards and practices.
  • Enable citizens to increasingly understand and debate the performance of public institutions, contributing to raising public accountably
    Citizens’ informed decision-making is significantly reduced by the lack of relevant and unbiased information and debate, especially on potentially controversial issues such as the rule of law. This is exacerbated by the political capture of the mainstream media environment, which leaves large parts of the population deprived of reliable information.

Main Activities:

    • Organise and carry out cutting-edge training, online mentorship, provide expert know-how and technical support to selected independent media;
    • Create a basis for sustainable business model development by providing technical solutions and digital services;
    • Strengthen capacities in development of revenue streams;
    • Provide grants for quality journalistic and multimedia production on issues of public concern that would otherwise remain unreported;
    • Provide editorial mentorship to media awarded with small grants;
    • Coordinate content syndication, exchange and promotion for all participating media;
    • Foster public debate and stakeholders’ involvement over the reported issues through debates, conferences, consultations and online campaigns.

    Target Groups:

  • Local media, independent institutions, experts, communities, authorities, general public

Highlights: 

  • News, analysis, investigations
Partners:
Juzne Vesti

Public Money for the Public Interest – supporting a civil society initiative for the public interest

BIRN Serbia

Donor: The Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia.

Main Objective:

The creation of conditions that enable a free and pluralistic media to work in the public interest

Specific Objectives:

For civil society to succeed in influencing changes in media financing policies to reflect the rights and interests of citizens.

Main Activities:

A1: Capacity development for civil society
A2: Improvement of the media’s normative framework and practices
A3: Awareness-raising

Target Groups:

CSOs (app. 30), Local self-governments (10 LSGs), Decision-makers at national level (approx. 10 – Ministry of Culture and Information, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Local Self-government, Parliamentary Board for Culture and Information, MP’s etc.), Influencers (approx. 30 – professional associations, such as Lokal Press, ANEM, UNS, expert community, independent controlling institutions (Ombudsman, Commissioner for Access to Information of Public Importance, State Audit institution, Commission for Protection of Competition, Public Procurement Office, Commission for State Aid Control, etc.), EU Delegation, OSCE media department, international watchdog organizations, journalists (approx. 30)