BIRN Holds Training on Data Journalism, Digital Security, in Georgia

As part of the project exploring foreign influences in the Balkans, South Caucasus and Central Asia, Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network and its partners organized a workshop in Tbilisi, Georgia, to boost skills and foster networking among participants from the three regions.

A three-day training on storytelling, digital security and data journalism took place in the Georgian capital on February 21-23, gathering around 20 journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Georgia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The workshop is part of the project “Spheres of Influence Uncovered, jointly implemented by BIRN, German NGO n-ost, Uzbek’s Anhor and Georgian JAMNews media outlets.

The workshop aimed at equipping participants with journalistic knowledge and skills needed not only for the sake of the project – during which they will map foreign influences and produce country-based and cross-border stories – but in their everyday work as well.

During the storytelling training, held by the managing editor of BIRN’s Balkan Insight, Dusica Tomovic, participants learned about what makes a good story, what are major reporting phases and the importance of knowing your audience.

BIRN journalist and digital security trainer Milica Stojanovic walked the participants through security of communication, types of danger, encryption and useful apps. Aleksandra Shalibashvili, a researcher and a project coordination at Tbilisi-based ForSet, an enterprise strengthening change-makers is use of data, design, and technology, talked about using data in an effective manner, must-have data tools as well as data visualization.

Apart from the official training sessions, participants spent time sharing experiences and spotting similarities between their three regions in relation to China, Russia, the EU and other actors. Part of the workshop was also a guided walking tour around Tbilisi, focusing on the various influences on Georgia over time, as well as on the current foreign direct investments and foreign economic activities in the South Caucasus country.

The project “Spheres of Influence Uncovered” aims to contribute to a better understanding of the roles that three key international players – the EU, Russia and China – have on the seven project countries’ economies. In the course of this, participating journalists will map economic activities among these three players and identify the main challenges and consequences for their countries. This project is partly a follow-up on BIRN’s previous work in the sphere of foreign economic activities, explored in the interactive map China in the Balkans.

In the coming months, more skills-building activities will take place in the Balkans and Central Asia, while the first country-based and cross-border long reads are to be published soon.

BIRN Kicks Off Project Strengthening Quality Journalism in Western Balkans and Turkey II

Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network BIRN hosted a kick-off meeting for representatives of media organisations and higher education institutions from six Western Balkan countries, Türkiye and Hungary on February 20-23 in Belgrade, Serbia.

In the next three years, BIRN Hub will continue to provide systemic support to improve the quality and professionalism of journalism in the Western Balkans and Türkiye through the project Strengthening Quality Journalism II funded by the European Union.

Together, Central European University, the Association of Journalists from Türkiye, Thomson Media, University Goce Delcev Stip, the Independent Union of Journalists and Media Workers from North Macedonia, Media Association of South-East Europe from Montenegro and Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Kosovo (BIRN Kosovo) will implement actions to strengthen trust-based engagement between citizens and media, provide resources and support for high-quality content production through education, training, mentoring, and supply editorial support.

Different trainings will be provided to young and mid-career journalists followed by editorial support. At the same time, mainstream and public service media will be included in the project activities, especially oriented towards content production through cross-border collaborations.

Through the already recognized EU awards scheme and the new regional award, the project will promote high standards in investigative journalism. Academia will be involved through different activities, among them working on a Master’s level programme for investigative journalism.

Over the three days, BIRN Hub and its seven partner organizations met and planned project actions that aim to support 600 young and mid-career journalists to produce quality news and conduct investigative reporting, provide journalism training, funds for content production and awards for merits in investigative reporting.

The partners also shared lessons learned from the previous phase of the project implemented over the past four years. In the previous phase, 1,000 journalists enhanced their skills through a set of different tailor-made capacity-building activities and over 1,500 pieces of quality news were produced. Cross-border stories, news, documentaries and investigations were developed and awarded through the EU awards.

This article was created with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of BIRN and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Open Call: Third Cycle of the Digital Rights Programme for Journalists

Journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo are invited to apply for the third edition of BIRN’s Digital Rights Programme, which seeks to analyse threats to digital rights and freedoms and to document, explore and communicate to the wider public the abuses of digital tools to undermine democracy and human rights.

BIRN is looking for people who want to create engaging and informative content focusing on technology and the opportunities and challenges it poses to democracy and human rights, in particular:

  • Freedom of expression,
  • COVID-related tech regulations,
  • Content blocking and removal,
  • Artificial intelligence, machine-learning and algorithmic decision-making processes,
  • Transparency of processes of digital transformation in the region,
  • Hate speech and discrimination in the digital environment,
  • Gender issues,
  • LGBTI+ issues,
  • Digital security and phishing campaigns,
  • Privacy and data protection,
  • Surveillance practices,
  • Accountability of the major internet platforms and online safety of users,
  • Information security,
  • Disinformation and misinformation,
  • 5G technology in the region,
  • Cryptocurrencies/blockchain,
  • Social media bots and troll farms.

BIRN offers a comprehensive six-month programme for all accepted applications, which includes:

  • Financial support ($1,325 gross),
  • Regular networking opportunities,
  • Meetings with relevant stakeholders dealing with digital transformation challenges and freedom of expression,
  • On-the-job mentoring and editorial sessions to produce high-quality journalism and educational sessions focused on digital security for media.

Support is available for professional freelance or staff journalists to cover local, national and cross-border topics. The stories produced under the programme will be published by Balkan Insight and by prominent European, regional and international media outlets.

Click here to apply for the programme.

The call is open until October 31, 2022.

Who can apply?

The programme is open to all journalists who believe they have a good story concerning the health of the digital ecosystem in the Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo . We also welcome applications from staff reporters from local and national media who wish to co-publish the story with us.

Formal applicants can be:

  • Individual journalists (working as part of newsroom structures or as freelancers),
  • Teams (eg. reporter, producer, photographer, video editor) with a designated team leader as the contract signatory.

BIRN is committed to gender diversity and freedom from prejudice on any grounds.

Story requirements

  • The story must focus on at least one of the topics listed above,
  • It must be relevant and current to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Kosovo ,
  • Stories that cover more than one country will be given an advantage,
  • Only in-depth, investigative stories will be taken into account,
  • Each story should be around 2,000 words long,
  • Each selected story must be published within six months of receipt of the first instalment.

How to apply?

Fill out the application form and follow the instructions.

Attach the signed declaration document.

Evaluation and selection:

Step I: Technical evaluation will be carried out by BIRN staff to ensure the applicants have followed application procedures and submitted all the required documents.

Step II: Evaluation will be carried out by the editorial board to select applicants based on the evaluation criteria, including:

  • Quality of the proposed idea,
  • Feasibility of the proposed plan,
  • Ability to reach the general public,
  • Relevance of the proposed idea.

Step III: Notification of applicants.

For additional information, please contact [email protected]

The Digital Rights Programme for Journalists is made possible through support from the UN Democracy Fund, Internews and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Open Call for Participation in BIRN Kosovo’s one-day training module for journalists to report on labour rights issues

Are you a student of journalism, young or mid-career journalist eager to expand your journalistic reporting skills? Do you want to develop your capacities in reporting and advocating for labour rights in the Kosovo labour market? Do you think you have the ambition and creativity to be one of the prospective winners of a 500 Euro bursary to write a story on labour rights, health and safety at work? Then look no further!

BIRN Kosovo has the ideal opportunity for you.

BIRN will select the 10 best story pitches to be supported through a bursary amounting to 500 Euros, through which the 10 journalists with the winning pitches will have the opportunity to conduct research, analysis, investigative articles and other publications on various issues that pertain to the field of labour rights.

Moreover, on September 27, 2022 BIRN will organize a one-day training module with journalists and journalism students on the process of reporting on labour rights issues who wish to benefit from the bursary. Please note that in order to be part of the bursary program, interested parties should apply and participate in the above-mentioned training.

The one-day training module will bring together 20 young and mid-career journalists as well as students of journalism from different communities, who will have the opportunity to acquire knowledge and hands-on skills on how to report on labour rights issues, including reporting on injuries at work and labour rights abuses, safety in the workplace, mistreatment and breaches of employee rights, failure to adhere to work schedules, working without proper contracts or lack of employment contracts, violating annual leave and maternity leave entitlements, to name a few. The training module will be delivered by BIRN’s own team of award-winning journalists and editors, who have extensive experience in investigating, reporting on and advocating for labour rights issues.

BIRN Kosovo’s team of journalists and editors will provide editorial support to the winning journalists in the process of identifying their topic of interest, in the drafting of their editorial work and in the final publication of their media products. Notably, journalists’ works will be published on BIRN’s flagship anti-disinformation platform, in a TV/online format. The platform enjoys high viewership and readership rates among the Kosovo public, including its social media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The bursary and the one-day training module are organized in the framework of the EU-funded project “Protecting and promoting labour rights of vulnerable groups in the labour market” implemented by ATRC and BIRN Kosovo.

The aim of this project is to improve the working conditions for vulnerable categories of employees, notably within the private sector, including workplace health and safety for women and men, through the promotion of social dialogue between workers and duty bearers.

Who can apply?

Students of journalism, young and mid-career journalists across different regions in Kosovo, who are interested to learn more about reporting and advocating for labour rights issues and become one of the potential winners of ten 500 Euro bursaries, are eligible to apply for this call.

Applicants from marginalized communities in Kosovo, including members of minority ethnic communities and women, that fulfill the above-mentioned criteria are encouraged to apply for this call.

To apply for the one-day training module on reporting on labour rights issues, click here.

The deadline to apply is September 16, 2022.

Thirrje e hapur për pjesëmarrje në trajnimin njëditor të BIRN Kosovë për gazetarët që raportojnë mbi çështjet e të drejtave të punës

Jeni student i gazetarisë, gazetar i ri apo gazetar në mes të karrierës, i etur për t’i zgjeruar shkathtësitë tuaja gazetareske? Dëshiron t’i zhvillosh kapacitetet tuaja në raportim dhe avokim për të drejtat e punës në tregun e punës në Kosovë? Mendon se ke ambicie dhe kreativitet për të qenë një nga fituesit e mundshëm të bursës prej 500 euro për të shkruar storie mbi të drejtat e punës, shëndetin dhe sigurinë në punë? Atëherë mos kërko më tej!

BIRN Kosovë ofron mundësinë ideale për ju.

BIRN do të zgjedhë 10 storiet më të mira të propozuara që do të mbështeten me bursë në shumë prej 500 euro, përmes së cilës bursë 10 gazetarët me propozimet fituese do të kenë mundësi të realizojnë hulumtime, analiza, artikuj hulumtues dhe publikime të tjera për çështje të ndryshme që kanë të bëjnë me fushën e të drejtave të punës.

Për më tepër, më 27 shtator 2022 BIRN do të organizojë një trajnim njëditor me gazetarët dhe studentët e gazetarisë të cilët dëshirojnë të përfitojnë nga bursa, ku fokusi do të jetë në procesin e raportimit për çështjet e të drejtave të punës. Ju lutem keni parasysh se për të qenë pjesë e programit të bursave, të interesuarit duhet të aplikojnë dhe të marrin pjesë në trajnimin e lartpërmendur.

Trajnimi njëditor do t’i mbledhë 20 gazetarë të rinj dhe në mes të karrierës, si dhe studentë të gazetarisë nga komunitete të ndryshme, të cilët do të kenë mundësinë të marrin njohuri dhe t’i ngrisin shkathtësitë praktike në raportimin për çështjet e të drejtave të punës, përfshirë raportimin për lëndimet në punë dhe shkeljet e të drejtave të punës, sigurinë në vendin e punës, keqtrajtimin dhe shkeljen e të drejtave të punëtorëve, mosrespektimin e orarit të punës, punën pa kontratë të rregullt ose mungesën e kontratave të punësimit, shkeljen e të drejtave të pushimit vjetor dhe lehonisë, mes tjerash. Trajnimi do të ofrohet nga ekipi i BIRN-it së bashku me gazetarë dhe redaktorë të vlerësuar me çmime, të cilët kanë përvojë të gjerë në hulumtimin, raportimin dhe mbrojtjen e çështjeve të të drejtave të punës.

Ekipi i gazetarëve dhe redaktorëve nga BIRN Kosovë do të ofrojë mbështetje editoriale për gazetarët fitues në procesin e identifikimit të temës së tyre të interesit, në hartimin e angazhimit të tyre editorial dhe në publikimin përfundimtar të produkteve të tyre mediatike. Në veçanti, storiet e gazetarëve do të publikohen në platformën kryesore të BIRN kundër dezinformimit, në një format televiziv/online. Platforma gëzon shkallë të lartë shikueshmërie dhe leximit nga qytetarët e Kosovës, përfshirë platformat e saj të mediave sociale si Facebook, YouTube dhe Instagram.

Bursa dhe trajnimi njëditor organizohen në kuadër të projektit të financuar nga BE “Mbrojtja dhe promovimi i të drejtave të punës të grupeve të cenueshme në tregun e punës” zbatuar nga ATRC dhe BIRN Kosovë.

Qëllimi i këtij projekti është përmirësimi i kushteve të punës për kategoritë e punonjësve të cenueshëm, veçanërisht brenda sektorit privat, përfshirë shëndetin dhe sigurinë në vendin e punës për gratë dhe burrat, përmes promovimit të dialogut social ndërmjet punëtorëve dhe bartësve të detyrës.

Kush mund të aplikojë?

Në këtë thirrje kanë të drejtë të aplikojnë studentët e gazetarisë, gazetarët e rinj dhe ata në mes të karrierës nga rajone të ndryshme të Kosovës, të cilët janë të interesuar të mësojnë më shumë rreth raportimit dhe avokimit për çështjet e të drejtave të punës dhe të bëhen fitues të mundshëm të njërës nga dhjetë bursat prej 500 euro.

Inkurajohen aplikuesit nga komunitetet e margjinalizuara në Kosovë, duke përfshirë pjesëtarët e komuniteteve nga pakicat etnike dhe gratë, që plotësojnë kriteret e lartpërmendura.

Për të aplikuar për trajnimin njëditor mbi raportimin për çështjet e të drejtave të punës, klikoni këtu.

Afati i fundit për të aplikuar është 16 shtator 2022.

Otvoreni poziv za učešće u jednodnevnom modulu obuke BIRN Kosovo za novinare za izveštavanje o pitanjima radnih prava

Da li studirate novinarstvo ili ste mladi novinar ili novinar sa karijerom u usponu koji želi da proširi svoje veštine izveštavanja? Da li želite da razvijete kapacitete u izveštavanju i zagovaranju radnih prava na kosovskom tržištu rada? Da li mislite da imate ambiciju i kreativnost da budete jedan od potencijalnih dobitnika stipendije od 500 evra za pisanje priče o radnim pravima, zdravlju i bezbednosti na radu? Onda, ne tražite dalje!

BIRN Kosovo ima odličnu ponudu za vas.

BIRN će izabrati 10 najboljih kratkih opisa priča koje će biti podržane stipendijom u iznosu od 500 evra, a kroz koju će 10 novinara sa pobedničkim kratkim opisom priča biti u prilici da sprovedu istraživanja, analize, istraživačke članke i druge publikacije o različitim pitanjima koja se odnose na oblast radnih prava.

Štaviše, BIRN će 27. septembra 2022. organizovati jednodnevni modul obuke za novinare i studente novinarstva koji žele da dobiju stipendiju o procesu izveštavanja o pitanjima iz oblasti radnih prava. Imajte na umu da kako bi mogli da učestvuju u programu stipendije, zainteresovani moraju da se prijave i učestvuju u gore pomenutoj obuci.

Jednodnevni modul obuke će okupiti 20 mladih novinara i novinara u karijeri u usponu, kao i studente novinarstva iz različitih zajednica, koji će imati priliku da steknu znanja i praktične veštine o tome kako izveštavati o pitanjima iz oblasti radnih prava, uključujući, između ostalog, izveštavanje o povredama na radu i zloupotrebama prava na radu, bezbednosti na radnom mestu, maltretiranju i kršenju prava zaposlenih, nepoštovanju radnog vremena, radu bez odgovarajućih ugovora ili nepostojanju ugovora o radu, kršenju prava na godišnji odmor i porodiljsko odsustvo. Modul obuke će održati BIRN-ova ekipa nagrađivanih novinara i urednika, koji imaju veliko iskustvo u istraživanju, izveštavanju i zagovaranju za pitanja radnih prava.

Novinarski i urednički tim BIRN Kosovo će pružiti uređivačku podršku stipendisanim novinarima u procesu identifikacije njihove teme od interesa, u izradi nacrta njihovog uređivačkog rada i konačnom objavljivanju njihovih medijskih proizvoda. Pored toga, radovi novinara će biti objavljeni na vodećoj platformi za borbu protiv dezinformacija BIRN-a,, u TV/onlajn formatu. Platforma uživa visoku stopu gledanosti i čitanosti među kosovskom javnošću, uključujući njene platforme na društvenim medijima, kao što su Facebook, YouTube i Instagram.

Stipendija i jednodnevni modul obuke su organizovani u okviru projekta koji finansira EU „Zaštita i promocija radnih prava ranjivih grupa na tržištu rada“, koji implementiraju ATRC i BIRN Kosovo.

Cilj ovog projekta je unapređenje uslova rada za ugrožene kategorije zaposlenih, posebno u privatnom sektoru, uključujući zdravlje i bezbednost na radnom mestu za žene i muškarce, kroz promociju socijalnog dijaloga između radnika i nosilaca dužnosti.

Ko se može prijaviti?

Studenti novinarstva, mladi novinari ili novinari sa karijerom u usponu iz različitih regiona na Kosovu, koji su zainteresovani da saznaju više o izveštavanju i zagovaranju za pitanja radnih prava i postanu jedan od deset potencijalnih dobitnika stipendije od 500 evra, imaju pravo da se prijave na ovaj poziv.

Podstičemo podnosioce prijava iz marginalizovanih zajednica na Kosovu, uključujući pripadnike manjinskih zajednica i žene, koji ispunjavaju gore navedene kriterijume da se prijave na ovaj poziv.

Da biste se prijavili za jednodnevni modul obuke o izveštavanju o pitanjima radnih prava, kliknite ovde.

Rok za prijavljivanje je 16. septembar 2022.

BIRN’s 12th Annual Summer School Starts in Slovenia

For the 12th time, BIRN’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting is bringing together 30 journalists from South-East and Central European countries for a week-long training programme to develop skills, explore new techniques and start cross-border cooperations.

This year’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting started on Monday in the Slovenian town of Portoroz.

During the week-long programme, journalists from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Finland and Ukraine will learn new skills and techniques and work on investigative stories.

The head of Regional Operations at BIRN, Dusica Stilic, welcomed the participants selected from a record-breaking number of applications – 180 this year.

“We are very proud to have this extraordinary group of people eager to learn to become the best version of an investigative journalist they possibly can be,” Stilic said.

Ivana Nikolic, leading the Investigative Reporting Initiative Programme at BIRN, presented the agenda and encouraged the participants to work towards pitching powerful stories.

“This week, you will learn a lot about innovative journalism techniques and skills from award-winning journalists and editors,” Nikolic said, adding that for the first time this year, participants will have the opportunity to learn how to stay safe online while working on their investigations.

Freelance coder and data specialist Friedrich Lindenberg gave an introduction to open data for investigations. Lindenberg has been working with investigative journalists and anti-corruption activists for the past decade and has built data-driven tools that support their work.

Lindenberg gave practical advice on effectively searching and cross-referencing open databases and using various tools to track documents.

“It’s important to remember that a search doesn’t make any document or information reliable and doesn’t take away the journalist’s responsibility,” he told the participants.

The first day ended with the journalists sharing ideas and starting to work on pitching cross-border investigative stories.

Gyula Csák

Gyula is an editor working on investigative international projects with Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, based in Prague, the Czech Republic.

An experienced journalist with a strong international (RFE/RL, BBC, Euronews) background in broadcast and online media, he is a BBC-trained trainer and Hungarian editor of Visegrad Guideline, a bilingual (English-Hungarian) code of ethics for Hungarian broadcast journalists.

Gyula is a winner of the Pulitzer Memorial Prize with InfoRádió.

He speaks English, Spanish and Hungarian.

Eleni Stamatoukou

Eleni joined BIRN Hub in 2021 as a Communications Manager. She is a data journalist based in Athens, Greece.

She has worked for Greek and foreign media and the NGO SolidarityNow. She has covered a big range of issues: migration, refugee crisis, corruption, LGBTI and human rights, politics, business, sports, environment, health and culture.

Eleni is a Fellow of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Columbia Journalism School 2019.

Eleni has a BA in Balkan Studies from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and an MA in Social Anthropology (Europe) from Sussex University, United Kingdom.

She speaks Greek, English, Turkish and Serbian.

Aida Tinjak

Aida assists in coordination and implementation of project/programme activities. She joined BIRN Hub in 2021 and she is based in the Sarajevo office.

Before joining BIRN Hub, Aida was a long-term associate of the Sarajevo Open Center, as an author of articles and infographics dealing with the problems and needs that LGBTI people and other marginalized social groups in Bosnia face every day. She also worked as an author of articles for, which supports media independence and freedom of expression in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia. Covering new tools and various techniques that journalists can use in their everyday work, the aim of the articles was to raise the quality of media content and build the competencies of journalists.

Aida gained diverse and long working experience in several non-governmental organizations, working on projects related to cultural and creative industries, strengthening local self-government, and projects related to culture and art. For two-and-a half years she worked in Gallery 11/07/95 as a curator, where she had an opportunity to professionally explore and enhance the possibilities of museums’ educational function, which is one of her passions.

Aida graduated in Art history and Pedagogy from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo. She is currently studying New Media Design at the ITAcademy, International School for Education and Informatics.

Besides BHS languages, she is fluent in English.

Samir Kajosevic

Samir is based in Podgorica and covers stories from Montenegro as well as parts of regional investigative stories.

Previously, he worked as a journalist and editor at the Montenegrin daily newspaper Vijesti. In 2018, he became a correspondent for Balkan Insight.

He studied at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Belgrade and completed the Danish School of Journalism at Montenegro Media Institute.

Samir speaks Serbian, English and Albanian.

Sejla Karic

Sejla joined BIRN Hub’s Sarajevo Office in April 2022. As a Digital Rights Researcher, she is focused on digital rights violations and the human rights implications of advanced technologies in Southeast and Central Europe.

Sejla is a human rights lawyer with a particular interest in freedom of expression and media freedom. She has experience working in legal practice, as well as working with non-governmental and international organizations. Before joining BIRN, she has worked with International Press Institute (IPI) and the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM), where she focused on research, advocacy and monitoring of media freedom violations, particularly in Southeast Europe and Turkey.

Currently, she is a research fellow with the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) at Central European University. In 2021, in collaboration with CMDS, she established a research group and launched an Anti-SLAPP research project, “Silenced by Lawsuits”, which focuses on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) aimed at silencing public watchdogs.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Law from the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she graduated with Highest Honors as Student of the Generation. She holds a Master’s in Human Rights Law from Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, where she graduated with Distinction, receiving CEU’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Award as the student with the highest GPA in the LLM Human Rights program. In her Master’s thesis, she focused on impunity for killings of journalists in Europe through analysis of state responses in the Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak murder cases.

Apart from being native in Bosnian, Sejla is fluent in English, has a strong working knowledge of German and some knowledge of Spanish, French and Russian.