Applications Wanted for EU Investigative Journalism Award in Serbia

Applications are being invited for the Serbian part of the EU Investigative Journalism Awards in the Western Balkans and Turkey, which is being administered by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN Hub) and local partners.

Investigative stories published in Serbia from January 1 to December 31, 2019, and related to freedom of expression, the rule of law, transparency, abuse of power and fundamental rights, corruption and organised crime can be accepted.

The award fund in Serbia in 2020 (for achievements in 2019) is 10,000 euros. The first prize will be 5,000 euros, the second 3,000 euros, and the third 2,000 euros.

Individuals or groups of journalists are eligible to apply with work published in all journalistic formats (print, online, radio and TV) in official, minority or international languages.

Articles eligible for submission must have appeared in print, online, radio and TV media outlets in Serbia during the 2019 calendar year.

EU Investigative Journalism Awards in the Western Balkans and Turkey aim to celebrate and promote the outstanding achievements of investigative journalists as well as improve the visibility of quality journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

The awards are a continuation of the ongoing regional EU Investigative Journalism Award in the Western Balkans and Turkey and part of the ongoing project ‘Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey’, funded by the European Union.

The project partners involved all have extensive expertise in the field of media freedom and have been recognised locally and internationally as strong independent media organisations.

The jury for the EU Investigative Journalism Award comprises media experts, some of them from the project consortia. Others are drawn from the extensive network projects that consortium members have, such as editors and academics.

The awards are presented annually in all six Western Balkan countries and Turkey.

Read about the winners of the last year’s competition and their stories here.

For more information, please get in contact by email at euawards@birn.eu.com. All the details and guidelines for Serbia can be found below this article.

The deadline for applications is June 21, 2020.


To download all necessary documents in Serbian click here.

Reporting Democracy Editor

Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network – BIRN Hub, seeks an experienced editor to run the daily output of Reporting Democracy, a cross-border journalism platform investigating the state of democracy in Central and Southeast Europe.

The job involves working with journalists from Visegrad Four countries and the Balkans to produce timely and in-depth analysis of the political, social and economic factors shaping fragile democracies in the region.

We are looking for a native English speaker with excellent writing and editing skills who has a solid understanding of Central and Southeast Europe. The successful candidate will commission analysis, features and interviews from staff and freelancers, edit copy and work closely with Balkan Insight editorial teams and BIRN project teams. He or she will also commission commentary pieces from experts.

Key requirements:

  • At least five years of editorial experience
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Familiarity with digital content production and ability to meet tight deadlines
  • Speed and efficiency in managing and sub-editing copy
  • Ability to write compelling headlines and leads
  • Excellent attention to detail and the ability to rigorously enforce style expectations
  • A solid understanding of media law and legal dangers
  • Understands analytics and digital readership to help curate the site
  • Native English language knowledge

This is a position that can be done remotely. Candidates from Visegrad countries, or with the experience in that region, are especially encouraged to apply.

Interested candidates should send their CV, a letter of motivation (no more than one page), examples of their work, and details of two professional references by e-mail to applications@birn.eu.com.  Deadline for interested applicants is June 15th 2020.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and invited for interview. The successful candidate should start work as soon as possible.

Balkan Insight is published by the Sarajevo-based regional hub of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN). Balkan Insight is a network of correspondents based in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

BalkanInsight.com, one of 15 sites in different languages that BIRN runs, is read in more than 200 countries worldwide.

BIRN Hub is a nongovernmental organisation, a part of the Regional BIRN Network, working on in the field of media development, promoting freedom of speech, human rights and democratic values in Southern and Eastern Europe. BIRN has local organisations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia, while the Network is editorially also present in Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. More information at www.birn.eu.com.

BIRN encourages applicants of both genders, and offers an equal chance to all interested persons, without any prejudice based on any grounds.

Balkan Insight Editor for the Albanian Language

Rare and sought-after opportunity to join the flagship media portal in English reporting on the Balkans from the Balkans, as an Editor with native proficiency in the Albanian language, who will contribute to regional BIRN’s daily media output Balkan Insight (www.balkaninsight.com), as well as other BIRN’s publications in both English and local languages.

Regional BIRN Hub, based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is looking for an Albanian speaking area editor, also fluent in English, with excellent writing and editing skills, who also has a solid understanding of the current affairs and the media scene in the Central and South-East Europe. The position holder will work closely with the editorial team to ensure the quality and offering of new content remains strong.

Location: Central and South-East Europe

Job Function: Regional Editor for the Albanian Language

Experience Level: seven years

Working Languages: Albanian/English

Application Deadline: June 13th, 2020

The selected candidate will be engaged for a probation period of three months.

Major duties and responsibilities:

  • Editorial oversight of BIRN online publications in English balkaninsight.com and local languages (Albanian) under the programme(s) for which the incumbent was engaged;
  • Managing editorial teams consisted of personnel working within the programme(s) for which the incumbent was engaged. Editorial teams are located in the following countries: Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
  • Working with BIRN’s pool of journalists across the region, in cooperation with the Managing Editor and/or manager(s) of respected programme(s);
  • Contributing to commissioning and editing news stories and analytical content
  • On the job training of journalists involved in production of editorial content, primarily within media outlets in Albanian language;
  • Commissioning and overseeing investigations within the particular online publication(s) within the respected programme(s);
  • Maintaining and developing relevant sub-website(s) within the respected programme(s), including operating in word and image processing web platform(s) (CMS, WP, etc.), as well as web development and promotion of content;
  • Actively working on development of projects and publications: research, analysis and reporting for internet, print, radio and TV publications;
  • Occasionally translating and editing content from BIRN local websites to English language content for balkaninsight.com
  • Developing new ideas and topics, contributing to Balkan Insight editorial output and other BIRN publications.

Required profile:

  • +7 years of editorial experience
  • Familiarity with digital content production and ability to meet tight deadlines
  • Speed and efficiency in managing and sub editing copy
  • Ability to write compelling headlines and leads
  • Excellent attention to detail and the ability to rigorously enforce style expectations
  • Has a solid understanding of media laws
  • Has a profound understanding of the Central and South-East Europe, particularly Albanian speaking area
  • Understands analytics and digital readership to help curate the site
  • Native proficiency in the Albanian language
  • Fluent in English

APPLICATION PROCEDURE:

Please submit a detailed CV, a letter of motivation (no more than 1 page), examples of their work, proof for all stated skills and list of three professional references by e-mail to Nikola Cace, nikola.cace@birn.eu.com, no later than June 13th 2020. Only the shortlisted candidates will be informed on the results of vacancy and invited to the interview. The selected candidate should start work as soon as possible.

Balkan Insight is published by the Sarajevo-based regional hub of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN). Balkan Insight is a network of correspondents based in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

BalkanInsight.com, one of 15 sites in different languages that BIRN runs, is read in more than 200 countries worldwide.

BIRN Hub is a nongovernmental organisation, a part of the Regional BIRN Network, working on in the field of media development, promoting freedom of speech, human rights and democratic values in Southern and Eastern Europe. BIRN has local organisations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia, while the Network is editorially also present in Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. More information at www.birn.eu.com.

BIRN encourages applicants of both genders, and offers an equal chance to all interested persons, without any prejudice based on any grounds.

BIRN Kosovo Holds Online Training for Islamic Studies Students

BIRN Kosovo organised an online training session on May 4 for students of the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Pristina.

Twelve students took part in the training session. The focus of the training was the strengthening of critical thinking, protective mechanisms against defamation and slander, combating fake news, and reporting on an ethical basis.

The training was led by Kreshnik Gashi, anchor of the ‘Justice in Kosovo’ television programme, and Labinot Leposhtica, the legal office coordinator at BIRN Kosovo.

Gashi discussed the evolution of the media, provided participants with techniques to help stay safe on social media, and described the role of algorithms on social media.

Talking about ethical reporting, Gashi described the impact that the reporting by the Kosovo media had on the reintegration process of those affected by violent extremism, specifically those who have returned from fighting in Syria and Iraq, and the families that have been affected.

In terms of reporting, Gashi emphasised the importance of fact-checking, as provided that it is done correctly, it fulfills the media’s role in serving the public interest.

Leposhtica explained Kosovo’s media code of ethics, legislation governing the media, and the meaning of freedom of speech on social media.

According to Leposhtica, even though the Kosovo constitution and international conventions ensure freedom of speech, this freedom has limitations, “especially in cases when the freedom of one person violates the freedom of somebody else.” For Leposhtica, “these limitations are in place to prevent hate speech and calls for violence”.

Leposhtica added that the role of the media is to inform readers and viewers correctly and promptly in accordance with international media standards, and to prevent the incitement of discrimination and intolerance on social media.

Since April this year, BIRN has organised two online training courses as part of the ‘Consortium: For a sustainable community’ project, which is funded by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, GCERF. The previous one was on April 4, for the students of the Medresa Alauddin high school.

Fellowship for Journalistic Exellence

BIRN Hub

Fellows’ stories are published by BIRN’s Balkan Insight and
Reporting Democracy platforms and disseminated widely through our network of media partners in all local languages as well as in
English and German.

Summary

Fellowship for Journalistic Exellence provides financial means and editorial mentoring to journalists in order to produce cross-border long form articles with regional relevance.

As of 2020 programme is expanded to journalists from Visegrad countries, in addition to journalists from the Balkans where this flagship initiative exists since 2007. It is keeping the key elements of the previous Balkan Fellowhip for Journalistic Excellence concept (initial seminar, mentoring support, editorial sessions promotion and publishing), which has been globally recognized as a highly successful media development programme.

Each year, 10 journalists are chosen through open competition to receive a €3,000 bursary, close editorial supervision and mentoring, and the chance to attend international career development seminars and be published in the most influential regional and international media. In addition, the top three articles chosen by an international jury will receive awards.

Fellows’ stories are published by BIRN’s Balkan Insight and Reporting Democracy platforms and disseminated widely through our network of media partners in all local languages as well as in English and German.

After the successful completion of the programme fellows are becoming part of the Alumni network of  journalists across the region committed to excellence in their profession.

Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence now covers 14 countries. In addition to the Central European nations above, we still welcome applications from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Greece and Serbia.


Donor

ERSTE Foundation

Main Objective

To foster quality reporting and create a strong alumni network devoted to promoting standards of excellence in journalisam across the region.


Specific Objectives

  • To produce 10 investigative or analytical articles with regional relevance
  • To raise professional capacities of journalists participating in the programme
  • To promote journalists and their work, securing public recognition for excellence in journalisam
  • To strengthen the existing alumni network


Main Activities

  • Training and mentoring for journalists
  • Research, production and publishing of quality content
  • Strengthening regional network of journalists
  • Promotion of programme findings through dissemination of articles through the network of media partners

Target Groups

Journalists


Main Implementer

BIRN Hub


Partners

Erste Foundation

Paper Trail to Better Governance III

BIRN Hub

Exposing wrongdoings of public institutions, public or private companies, and individuals, through multimedia investigations, in-depth analysis of institutions’ openness to freedom of information requests, and the establishment of an online database.

Summary

The Paper Trail for Better Governance is a project by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – BIRN Kosovo and BIRN HUB – to promote the rule of law, accountability, and transparency in the Balkans.

It is the continuation of the Paper Trail for Better Governance I and II.


Donor

Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of the Austrian Development Cooperation

Main Objective

The Project is expected to contribute to better functioning of the public sector that abides by the principles of transparency and accountability to its citizens. This is expected to happen, on the one hand, by exerting direct pressure to key public institutions through exposing wrongdoings and their level of transparency practices in relation to FoI laws and on the other hand, by exerting indirect public pressure to key public institutions through raising awareness of the broader public about mismanagement of public resources and competencies.


Specific Objectives

Exposing wrongdoings of public institutions, public or private companies, and individuals, through multimedia investigations, in-depth analysis of institutions’ openness to freedom of information requests, and the establishment of an online database.


Main Activities

  1. Journalistic trainings, including on gender equality, internships for young journalists in BIRN offices.
  2. Production of 25 investigations, interviews, analysis and news pieces on cross-border and country-based issues, as well as video production.
  3. Production of Annual Regional Reviews on freedom of information.
  4. Upgrade and further development of the BIRN’s Investigative Resource Desk (BIRD)

Target Groups

The main target groups are male and female investigative journalists as well as young journalists, researchers, media outlets and the general public that will be exposed to published material resulting from investigative reporting, monitoring of public institutions compliance with legislation and annual review reports published.

Highlights

More than 200 journalists have been trained in investigative skills and given special, in-depth knowledge of the particular field they are researching. Through the extensive use of public documents, the investigations are exposing wrongdoing in government and public and private companies and among powerful individuals.

The project also addresses the transparency of public institutions in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

As part of our drive to promote open data governance, earlier this year we established BIRN’s Investigative Resource Desk (BIRD), a digital platform with tools stimulating cross-border cooperation among journalists, civil society and technology experts. The platform serves as a hub for all BIRN data gathered through investigative journalistic work. BIRD also includes BIRN Source, a database which currently has close to one million searchable public documents uploaded and available for further use.


Main Implementer

BIRN Kosovo


Partners

BIRN Hub

BIRN Bosnia Gives Archive Material to Tuzla Memorial Centre

BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina handed over a documentary film and an archive of articles about the shelling of Tuzla in May 1995 and the trial of the commander who ordered the attack to the new Kapija Memorial Centre in Tuzla.

The director of the BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Dzidic, presented the mayor of Tuzla, Jasmin Imamovic, with archive material and a documentary film on Friday that will become part of a display at the new Kapija Memorial Centre, which should be ready to open by May 25, the anniversary of the shelling of the Kapija area of the city.

The material includes articles on texts on the shelling and reports from the trial of Bosnian Serb Army commander Novak Djukic, who was convicted of ordering the attack.

Dzidic stated that BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina was the only media outlet that has monitored all war crimes trials in the country since the state court started operating, including the proceedings against Djukic in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia.

“We are really happy about this opportunity to give our archive to the city of Tuzla and about the fact that it will be forever available to the citizens of Tuzla and all visitors to the Memorial Centre who want to get information about the search for justice and the killings of civilians at Kapija in 1995,” said Dzidic.

Mayor Imamovic said the BIRN archive material would be an important part of the installation as the case against Djukic is significant for the city because the attack was the biggest tragedy that it has endured.

“Here you have a 25-minute film and complete documentation about the trial of Novak Djukic. Everything that they [BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina] worked on, followed and documented, and that they handed over to us for our Memorial Centre, is a precious gift,” said Imamovic.

The Kapija Memorial Centre will be ready by May 25, but will only open when deemed safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bosnian state court found Novak Djukic, commander of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Ozren Tactical Group, guilty of ordering an artillery platoon to shell Tuzla on May 25, 1995, causing the deaths of more than 70 people.

He was released from prison in February 2014 after the state Constitutional Court overturned the verdict sentencing him to 25 years in prison.

In June 2014, the state court reduced Djukic’s sentence to 20 years, but he had already left the country for Serbia.

A warrant was issued for Djukic in October 2014 because he did not respond to a summons to serve his sentence. Serbia was then asked to take over the enforcement of the verdict.

However, Belgrade Higher Court has postponed hearings to discuss the case several times, and Djukic remains free.

Journalists selected for 2020 Fellowship

We are pleased to announce the names of the journalists chosen for this year’s Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence. Over the coming months, they will work on investigations, in-depth analysis and features on the theme of the Rule of Law.

The Fellowship programme gives mid-career journalists the funding and editorial support to dig into complex issues of regional significance. Here are this year’s fellows, and the topics they intend to cover.

Klodiana Lala, a criminal justice reporter with decades of experience across print and TV outlets in Albania, will examine the evolution of the Albanian underworld.

Genka Shikerova and Boris Mitov, award-winning Bulgarian investigative journalists, will look at the emergence of the country’s so-called “border militias”.

Apostolis Fotiadis, a Greek journalist who has reported extensively on the migrant crisis, will examine the growing tensions around Greece’s migrant camps.

Elvira Krithari, a journalist for Greek media start-up MIIR plans to write about privatised healthcare providers in Greece.

Augustine Zenakos and Mariniki Alevizopoulou, Greek journalists with a track record of freelance initiatives and bylines for the international press, will report on marginalised communities in Greece’s border regions.

Bea Bako, a constitutional lawyer and journalist from Hungary, will report on tensions between the Hungarian government and the European Union.

Dariusz Kalan, an experienced freelance journalist from Poland, will report on the erosion of the rule of law under the current government.

Jakub Janiszewski, an experienced journalist and commentator focusing on politics, culture and gender issues, will examine Poland’s shifting attitudes to homosexuality.

Magdalena Chodowmik, a freelance text and video journalist, will tell the story of the winners and losers in Poland’s transition from communism.

Marija Vucic, a journalist with the Serbian investigative website, KRIK, will look at the spread of propaganda and fake news in the Balkans.

This year’s participants were competitively selected from about 80 applications spanning 14 countries of CEE region. An independent committee comprising seven senior European media figures evaluated proposals based on relevance, feasibility and originality, as well as the candidates’ professional qualifications and motivation.

The Fellows’ stories will be published by BIRN’s Balkan Insight and Reporting Democracy platforms and disseminated widely through our network of media partners in all local languages, as well as in English and German.

We look forward to starting work on these projects. We would also like to thank all journalists who applied for the Fellowship and to announce that the next call will be open in early 2021.

BIRN Kosovo Trains Journalists to Monitor Auditor’s Reports

BIRN Kosovo held its first training course with young journalists on May 7 designed to help them analyse and cover reports from the National Audit Office.

Supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pristina, the training course was intended to improve the skills of journalists and monitors so they can better identify violations in the allocation of public money. The training session was also meant to encourage young journalists to undertake investigative journalism.

The course was divided into three sessions. The first session was held by Besnik Osmani, the Auditor General at the National Audit Office of Kosovo. The second session was administered by Visar Prebreza, an editor at Kallxo.com, while the third was led by Labinot Leposhtica, the legal office coordinator at BIRN Kosovo.

In the first session, Osmani explained the role and importance of the Auditor and the National Audit Office reports.

Following that up, Prebreza explained the process of researching and reading the Auditor’s reports, and highlighted the importance of illustrations and infographics within an investigation.

Leposhtica then outlined the legal aspects, explaining legal letters and the process of monitoring legal documents.

BIRN Kosovo and Transitions Open Call for Solutions Journalism Stories

To help support the development of solutions journalism, Transitions and BIRN Kosovo have opened a call for applications for micro-grants and mentorship.

The micro-grants are designed for Kosovo-based journalists journalists, including freelancers, who want to do rigorous reporting on solutions-oriented stories that can serve as a catalyst for promoting accountability for regional problems, as well as better informing communities.

In addition to financial support, Transitions and BIRN offer mentoring throughout the production of the article in order to achieve the highest possible quality.

Participation in a practical solutions journalism training course or in a webinar is a condition for receiving a grant.

Transitions and BIRN Kosovo invite Kosovo-based journalists to apply with proposals in either the Albanian or Serbian language.