BIRN Probe Exposed Corruption in Kosovo’s Private Solar Power Incentives

On April 30, 2020, BIRN Kosovo broadcast a debate on its “Life in Kosovo” show – on its in-depth investigation, conducted by BIRN Kosovo country director Jeta Xharra and Visar Prebreza, an editor at BIRN.

The investigation, titled “Unclean Energy: The Kosovar who would own the sun”, revealed that the near monopoly of a single company on clean energy had violated Kosovo’s anti-monopoly rules.

Blerim Devolli, a businessman in Kosovo behind six companies, stood to gain millions of euros from state-funded incentives in the solar power field.

The rules in Kosovo stipulate that no single investor can produce more than three megawatts, MW, of solar energy.

But the BIRN probe revealed that Devolli stood behind no less than six other companies awarded rights to produce a total of 16.7 MW – more than half of Kosovo’s total solar power production.

Each of these companies would receive a guaranteed price from the state between two and three times higher than the market price.

The decision was made possible thanks to the Energy Regulatory Office, ERO.

But BIRN had uncovered also that an ERO board member, Selman Hoti, had lobbied persistently for these tariffs, and was also a shareholder of an energy company, Electra, which was contracted to install cables at Devolli’s solar park, launched in October 2018.

Electra received the contract before Hoti was appointed to the board of the ERO in March 2018.

After BIRN broadcast the program, Kosovo’s Anti-Corruption Agency began to investigate whether Hoti’s involvement in the scheme constituted a conflict of interest.

After its investigation, BIRN Kosovo sent questions to the Kosovo Competition Authority, KCA, asking whether the rules of open competition had been broken with the setting of the incentive tariffs for an additional 20 MW.

On May 5, 2020, the KCA informed BIRN Kosovo that an investigation had now begun, along with an analysis of the energy market, the second impact of this investigation.

The State Aid Commission, SAC, has also started procedures against ERO decision to set an additional 20 MWs incentive tariff for solar energy – another result of the BIRN investigation.

According the SAC, at its regular meeting, it urged the State Aid Department, DNSH, in the Ministry of Finance and Transfers to ask the ERO to submit all data on the decision on the incentive tariff for the production of 20 additional MWs of solar energy.

The SAC also expressed concern about the evasion of legal obligations by the ERO with the decision it took, and underlined that under Article 11 (1) of the Law on State Aid the aid measure subject to this decision was illegal, as the ERO had not notified the mandated authorities to ascertain compliance with the law.

On May 14, BIRN Kosovo published an article informing readers that, since its investigation, the State Prosecutor had announced that the Special Prosecution would investigate the ERO decision.

On May 19, 2020, the BIRN investigation was discussed at the Commission for Economy, Employment, Trade, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Investments in the Kosovo Assembly. As a result, an MP, Mimoza Kusari, had said a parliamentary commission of inquiry should be established.

On May 26, 2020, BIRN Kosovo published an article on how Kosovo’s biggest party, Vetevendosje, was demanding a commission of inquiry into the board of ERO, focusing on the issue of solar energy monopolies in Kosovo.

The biggest result of all of this investigation came on November 27, when the SAC deemed the ERO decision that had allowed companies to benefit from state-funded incentive tariffs in solar energy illegal. That decision obliged ERO to halt further implementation of the scheme.

Lastly, in November, the BIRN team was awarded the 2020 Prize for Economic Journalism awarded by the Association of Journalists of Kosovo.

UNICEF Awards BIRN BiH Journalist for Contribution to Children’s Rights

Azra Husaric, a journalist with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Bosnia and Herzegovina, BIRN BiH, has received UNICEF’s award for contribution to the promotion and protection of children’s rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the “Internet Work” category for her story on the challenges facing children with developmental difficulties and their parents in online classes during the current pandemic.

The awards were given to journalists on the occasion marking World Children’s Day on November 20 at a ceremony held online this year.

Her article titled “Parents Bear Biggest Burden of Online Classes for Children with Developmental Difficulties” told of a boy with Downs syndrome, Harun Tanovic, who did not have a teaching assistant for several months after the start of the school year.

The six-member jury awarded this article in the “Internet Work” category.

“We really had several works worthy of receiving the award, but the one that stands out as the most complete one, encompassing several angles, is the story about Harun, a boy with Downs syndrome, and problems he and his family are facing in the educational system during the pandemic,” jury member Katarina Marjanovic said during the awards ceremony.

Besides problems caused by delays in assigning him a teaching assistant while following the online classes, Harun did not have adjusted lessons, so his parents had to take the burden of this on themselves.

“Journalist Azra Husaric spent several days of online classes with the boy who says: ‘I can do everything on my own, I don’t need anybody’. This resulted in a truly engaging story about the fight for the rights advocated for by UNICEF. So, we, as the jury, recognized and selected this article worthy of this award,” Marjanovic said.

UNICEF in Bosnia also awarded media professionals for their contribution to children’s rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the “Television” category, awarding TV N1 reporter Ivana Eric. In the “Blog” category an award was given to journalist Natasa Lazukic. A special award for media contribution to the promotion and protection of children’s rights was given to Otisak portal journalist Zeljko Lazarevic.

This year’s jury, consisting of Zoran Catic, Nineta Popović, Sandra Gojkovic Arbutina, Katarina Marijanovic, Lamija Silajdzic and Benjamin Omerbegovic, also commended Amina Bijelonja and Tahir Zustra for a TV footage, Hana Kazazovic, Brankica Smiljanic, Ivona Grgic, Ilma Kurtovic and Nejra Dzananovic for blogs, and Snjezana Anicic and Anamarija Zadro for internet work, for their contribution in the media to the promotion and protection of children’s rights.

To show support for World Children’s Day the city of Banja Luka and the city of Mostar will “paint” their best known landmarks, namely the Banski Dvor and the Old Bridge, in blue on Friday night. Sarajevo city centre will also be lit up in blue.

UNICEF representative in Bosnia Rownak Khan said during the ceremony to mark World Children’s Day that the pandemic had had a particularly heavy impact on children and their education.

“In tandem, we must do more to ensure that all children have equal access to quality learning. Governments must prioritize keeping schools open and safe for students, teachers and parents. This needs to go hand in hand with improving online learning options, ensuring equal opportunities for marginalized children. As parents worldwide struggle to maintain their livelihoods, governments must scale up social protection measures through programmes and policies that provide life-saving cash benefits, health care, nutrition and education for families,” Khan said.

BIRN Kosovo Announces Tender to Produce Documentary on Sustainable Development in Kosovo

BIRN Kosovo, within the “Europeanization of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda”, an EU-funded project, is opening a tender call for proposals for the production of an up-to-60-minute documentary on sustainable development in Kosovo.

BIRN Kosovo, within the “Europeanization of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda”, an EU-funded project, is opening a tender call for proposals for the production of an up-to-60-minute documentary on sustainable development in Kosovo.

The documentary will serve to raise public awareness and inform citizens of the damage being done to the environment in Kosovo.

The main objective of this tender call is to contract a professional production company in Kosovo to produce an up-to-60-minute follow-up to “Kingdom of Coal”, the BIRN documentary that won Best Green Doc award at Dokufest, Prizren, back in 2011.

This documentary will draw on information acquired from citizens most affected by environmental degradation, as well as local communities, civil society organisations, environmental activists, public officials, relevant ministries and other relevant public institutions, energy and environmental experts, health experts, journalists, professors of environmental engineering, energy efficiency and climate change, international health and environment organisations, as well as EU experts and other international donors that have contributed to the protection of environment in Kosovo and to raising awareness on the importance of healthy and sustainable environment.

This activity will be implemented in 2021.

 Applications should be addressed to: diellza.salihu@birn.eu.com  with the subject line “Tender Call Application with Ref. no: 2020/01 – Documentary Production – [NAME OF THE APPLICANT]”, by December 15, 2020, at 23:59, at the latest.

*A maximum of 30,000 euros will be offered for the production of the documentary.

For more information, instructions and the application form, click the links below for:

This tender call for applications is open within the project “Europeanization of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda”. The project is supported by the European Union Office in Kosovo and implemented by BIRN Kosovo, TV Mreža, ERA Group, and Bankwatch.

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BIRN Kosova shpall tender për prodhimin e dokumentarit për zhvillimin e qëndrueshëm në Kosovë

BIRN Kosova, në kuadër të projektit të financuar nga Bashkimi Evropian “Europeanization of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda”, shpall tender për prodhimin e një dokumentari deri në 60 minuta për zhvillimin e qëndrueshëm në Kosovë.

Ky dokumentar ka për qëllim të rrisë vetëdijen dhe t’i informojë qytetarët rreth dëmit që po i bëhet ambientit në Kosovë.

Objektivi kryesor i këtij tenderi është të kontraktohet një kompani profesionale në Kosovë për prodhimin e dokumentarit deri në 60 minuta. Ky dokumentar do të jetë pasues i dokumentarit të BIRN-it “Mbretëria e Qymyrit” që ka fituar çmimin “Best Green Documentary” në festivalin DokuFest në Prizren, në vitin 2011.

Ky dokumentar do të shfrytëzojë informacione të nxjerra nga qytetarët e ndikuar nga degradimi i ambientit, komunitetet lokale, organizatat e shoqërisë civile, aktivistë të ambientit, zyrtarë publikë, ministri dhe institucione të tjera relevante, profesorë të inxhinierisë së ambientit, efiçiencës së energjisë dhe ndryshimeve klimatike, organizata ndërkombëtare të shëndetit dhe ambientit si dhe ekspertë nga Bashkimi Evropian dhe donatorë ndërkombëtarë që kanë kontribuar në mbrojtjen e mjedisit në Kosovë.

Ky aktivitet do të implementohet në vitin 2021.

Aplikimet duhet të dorëzohen te  diellza.salihu@birn.eu.com, me subjektin “Aplikime për tender me numër të referencës 2020/01 – Prodhim Dokumentari – [EMRI I APLIKUESIT], më së largu deri më 15/12/2020, 23:59.

 *Shuma maksimale që do të ofrohet për prodhimin e dokumentarit është 30,000 EUR.

Për të marrë më shumë informata, udhëzime dhe shkarkuar formën e aplikacionit klikoni në linqet më poshtë:

Ky tender është hapur përmes projektit “Europeanization of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda”. Ky projekt mbështetet nga Zyra e Bashkimit Europian në Kosovë dhe implementohet nga BIRN Kosova, TV Mrezha, ERA Group dhe Bankwatch.

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BIRN Kosovo raspisuje tender za proizvodnju dokumentarnog filma o održivom razvoju na Kosovu

BIRN Kosovo, u okviru projekta „Evropeizacija kosovske agende za zaštitu životne sredine“, koji finansira EU, otvara tenderski poziv za podnošenje predloga za proizvodnju dokumentarnog filma u trajanju od najviše 60 minuta na temu održivog razvoja na Kosovu.

Dokumentarac će poslužiti za podizanje svesti javnosti i informisanje građana o šteti kojoj je izložena životna sredina na Kosovu.

Glavni cilj ovog tenderskog poziva je da se angažuje profesionalna produkcijska kompanija na Kosovu koja će proizvesti dokumentarni film u trajanju do 60 minuta. Dokumentarni film mora biti nastavak dokumentarnog filma BIRN-a „Kraljevstvo uglja”, koji je osvojio nagradu za najbolji zeleni dokumentarac na Dokufestu u Prizrenu 2011. godine.

Ovaj dokumentarni film zasnivaće se na informacijama dobijenim od građana pogođenih degradiranjem životne sredine, lokalnih zajednica, organizacija civilnog društva, ekoloških aktivista, javnih zvaničnika, relevantnih ministarstava i drugih relevantnih javnih institucija, stručnjaka za energetiku i životnu sredinu, zdravstvenih stručnjaka, novinara, profesora inženjerstva zaštite životne sredine, energetske efikasnosti i klimatskih promena, međunarodnih zdravstvenih i ekoloških organizacija, kao i stručnjaka EU i drugih međunarodnih donatora koji su doprineli zaštiti životne sredine na Kosovu, sa namerom da podigne svest šire javnosti o značaju zdrave i održive životne sredine.

Ova aktivnost biće realizovana 2021. godine.

Prijave pošaljite elektronskom poštom na adresu  diellza.salihu@birn.eu.com  i u predmetu stavite naznaku „Poziv za prijavljivanje na tender pod ref. br: 2020/01 – Proizvodnja dokumentarca – [NAZIV PODNOSIOCA PRIJAVE]”, najkasnije do 15. 12. 2020. 23.59 časova.

*Maksimalni iznos ponuđen za produkciju dokumentarnog filma je EUR 30,000.

Za podrobnije informacije, uputstva i prijavni obrazac, kliknite na linkove u nastavku:

Ovaj poziv za prijavljivanje na tender otvoren je u okviru projekta „Evropeizacija kosovske agende za zaštitu životne sredine“. Ovaj projekat omogućen je podrškom Kancelarije Evropske unije na Kosovu a realizuju ga BIRN Kosovo, TV Mreža, ERA Group, i Bankwatch.

BIRN Kosovo Journalists Awarded with the 2020 Prize for Economic Journalism

BIRN Kosovo journalists awarded with the 2020 Prize for Economic Journalism.

“Unclean Energy: The Kosovar who would Own the Sun” is the 2020 award winner of the annual” Ibrahim Rexhepi” Prize for Economic Journalism, awarded by the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK).

This in-depth investigation by Visar Prebreza and Jeta Xharra discovered how a single businessman in Kosovo stands behind six companies reaping millions of euros from the sale of solar energy in violation of anti-monopoly rules.

The investigation was conducted while Pristina was under measures of quarantine due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Receiving the award, Visar Prebreza who co-authored the investigation said that the investigation was conducted before and after the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We worked in a time when Pristina was under quarantine and we worked until late nights to analyse documents.”

“We have investigated even in Malta to expose the hiding of businesses there,” Prebreza said after receiving the award from the head of AJK, Gentiana Begolli.

BIRN Kosovo Trains Auditors in Communications, Writing Techniques and Social Media

BIRN Kosovo held a training session with the staff of the National Audit Office on November 19, within the framework of the project, “Promoting the Auditor General/National Audit Office’s role in Kosovo”.

Supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pristina, the training courses are intended to improve the performance of the Auditor General and National Audit Office staff in writing, reporting and providing information on public spending.

The training session was attended by around 30 participants from the National Audit Office. It was divided into two sessions with the first being held by Kreshnik Gashi, managing editor at Kallxo.com, and the second by Granit Mavriqi, media editor at Kallxo.com.

Gashi explained the fundamental elements of writing an article, a news story or a status and how it should be presented on and through social media. Following this, Mavriqi provided information on social media use and security.

BIRN to Hold Art Exhibition About Kosovo War Mass Graves

Artist Vladimir Miladinovic will present an exhibition of drawings based on research into Hague Tribunal’s archive material about mass graves of Kosovo Albanian war victims in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica.

‘Counter-Archive’, an exhibition of drawings focused on the mass graves of Kosovo Albanians that were discovered in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica after the Kosovo war, opens in Belgrade on Monday evening.

The ink-on-paper artworks are based on artist Vladimir Miladinovic’s research into the archive of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Miladinovic explored court proceedings related to the discovery of the mass graves in 2001 at the Serbian Interior Ministry Special Anti-Terrorist Unit’s training ground in the Belgrade neighbourhood of Batajnica.

The remains were found of 744 ethnic Albanians who had been killed in Kosovo and then moved to Batajnica in an attempted cover-up.

The opening of the exhibition on Monday will feature actors reading from court testimonies given by victims’ relatives and by people who participated in transporting and hiding the bodies.

The exhibition is being held as part of BIRN’s Balkan Transitional Justice granting scheme, which aims to encourage professionals in various fields to explore archives of courts that dealt with war crime trials in the Balkans, supported by the Matra Regional Rule of Law Programme.

“Through his drawings, Vladimir presents documents found in the ICTY archive in an innovative and creative way, thus contributing to the process of memorialisation and the re-examination of wartime heritage,” said Jovana Prusina, the coordinator of BIRN’s Balkan Transitional Justice project.

“This approach enables the artist to open up space for discussion and new interpretations of archival documents, and raises the question of how they can be used in creating alternative policies for conflict prevention,” Prusina added.

The cover-up operation to move the bodies of Kosovo Albanians to secret burial sites in Serbia was the subject of BIRN’s award-winning documentary, ‘The Unidentified’.

Miladinovic also held an exhibition of images based on former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic’s diary in June 2020 in Belgrade.

‘Counter-Archive’ will be on display at the Endzio Gallery in Belgrade until November 25.

Call for Applications for a Two-Day Training Course on Fact-Checking and Tackling Disinformation

BIRN Kosovo, in cooperation with the International Press Institute (IPI), as a part of the “Solidifying the Resilience of Kosovo’s Current and Future Journalists” project, which is supported by the EU, is seeking students and early-career journalists for a two-day training course on tackling disinformation and establishing fact checking methods.

Both fact-checking and the framing of information in the correct social context are rarely applied in Kosovo, while journalism and social science degrees do not offer courses in this field. As a result, local journalists are not aware of the latest standards of fact-checking or new methods that platforms such as Facebook use in the fight against fake news.

To address these concerns, BIRN Kosovo, as a leading media outlet in investigative journalism in the country, has teamed up with IPI, an EU-based global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists that has been advocating for professional standards in journalism since 1950. The EU-based IPI will bring experienced media professionals to Kosovo, who will build journalists’ fact-checking and reporting skills, particularly with ethnically diverse investigative teams.

The training course devised and administered by the two organisations will help tackle fake news and unverified reporting, by helping journalists learn how to spot fake news and provide verified information that adheres to journalistic standards. The knowledge delivered will be of a very practical nature and will draw on the unique experiences of journalists who have successfully developed such skills in similar environments.

Over the two days, experienced international journalists will discuss relevant topics with the participants, including the Editors in Chief of Maldita – the leading Spanish organization in tackling disinformation through fact-checking and data journalism – and Teyit, the equivalent organization in Turkey. More information regarding the trainers can be found in their bios available to download below.

The presence of experienced local journalists will ensure that the exchange of skills and knowledge is not in the form of a training-centered teaching, but rather shaped as a conversation between experts, in which the specific challenges of journalists operating in a certain environment are addressed and solutions are discussed.

Who can apply?

Senior year journalism and social sciences students, recent graduates, young and professional journalists from Kosovo may apply.

Candidates from all parts of the country are encouraged to apply. However, the number of participants is limited and we will give priority to younger journalists with less experience in the described field.

Minimum 30 and maximum 40 participants will be selected.

How to apply?

All applications should be submitted in Albanian, Serbian, or English before December 4 at midnight Central European Time to aritasuhodolli@jetanekosove.com along with the following documents:

  • Applicants CV
  • Work Sample
  • Motivation Letter

Applicants who do not have any published work can submit their student assignments from practical courses in journalism.

The motivation letter should provide information regarding the applicants’ opinion and knowledge on the topic of fake news and should not exceed 400 words.

Language:

The training will be held in English, however translation in Albanian, Serbian, and English will be provided.

COVID-19 restrictions:

Due to COVID-19 restrictions in the country, as well as relevant health recommendations, the training will be delivered online through Zoom.

Deadline for applications: December 4, 2020 at Midnight Central European Time

Date of the training course: December 9-10, 2020

Call for applications: Download here

BIOs of trainers: Download here

Remarks:

Participants will be provided with certificates at the end of the training.

The project seeks to organise two additional two-day trainings regarding the topic of false information with different international experts. In this regard, the applicants who are not selected will have an opportunity to participate in similar trainings through the same program during 2021.

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Thirrje për Aplikim për trajnim dyditor për kontrollimin e fakteve dhe trajtimin e dezinformimit

BIRN Kosova, në bashkëpunim me Institutin Ndërkombëtar të Medias (IPI), si pjesë e projektit “Solidifikimi i Qëndrueshmërisë së Gazetarëve të Tanishëm dhe të Ardhshëm të Kosovës“, i cili mbështetet nga BE, po kërkon studentë dhe gazetarë të diplomuar së fundmi për një trajnim dyditor i drejtuar nga profesionistë ndërkombëtarë të mediave që do të ofrojnë njohuri praktike në trajtimin e dezinformimit dhe metodat për kontrollimit të fakteve.

Të dyja, verifikimi i fakteve dhe kornizimi i informacionit në kontekstin e duhur shoqëror, zbatohen rrallë në Kosovë, ndërsa diplomat e gazetarisë dhe shkencave shoqërore nuk ofrojnë kurse në këtë fushë. Si rezultat, gazetarët lokalë nuk janë në dijeni të standardeve më të fundit të verifikimit të fakteve ose metodave të reja që përdorin platforma të tilla si Facebook në luftën kundër lajmeve të rreme.

Për t’i adresuar këto shqetësime, BIRN Kosova, si një prej mediave kryesore në gazetarinë hulumtuese, është bashkuar me IPI-në, një rrjet global i redaktorëve, drejtuesve të mediave dhe redaktorëve me bazë në BE që avokon për standardet profesionale në gazetari që nga viti 1950. IPI do të sjellë profesionistë me përvojë të mediave në Kosovë të cilët do të ndërtojnë aftësi për kontrollimin dhe raportimin e fakteve nga gazetarët, veçanërisht me ekipe hulumtuese etnikisht të ndryshme.

Trajnimi i hartuar dhe administruar nga këto dy organizata do të ndihmojë në trajtimin e lajmeve të rreme dhe raportimeve të paverifikuara, duke i ndihmuar gazetarët të mësojnë se si të zbulojnë lajme të rreme dhe të sigurojnë informacione të verifikuara që i përmbahen standardeve gazetareske. Njohuritë e dhëna do të jenë të një natyre shumë praktike dhe do të mbështeten në përvojat unike të gazetarëve që kanë zhvilluar me sukses aftësi të tilla në mjedise të ngjashme.

Gjatë dy ditëve, gazetarët ndërkombëtarë me përvojë do të diskutojnë tema të rëndësishme me pjesëmarrësit, duke përfshirë redaktorët kryesorë të Maldita – organizata kryesore spanjolle në trajtimin e dezinformimit përmes kontrollimit të fakteve dhe gazetarisë së të dhënave – dhe Teyit, organizata ekuivalente në Turqi. Më shumë informacion në lidhje me trajnerët mund të gjenden në biografitë e tyre në dispozicion për t’u shkarkuar më poshtë.

Prania e gazetarëve lokalë me përvojë do të sigurojë që shkëmbimi i aftësive dhe njohurive nuk është në formën e një qendre trajnuese ligjërimi, por më tepër formësohet si një interaksion midis ekspertëve, në të cilën adresohen sfidat specifike të gazetarëve që veprojnë në një mjedis të caktuar dhe diskutohen zgjidhjet.

Kush e ka të drejtën e aplikimit?

Të drejtën e aplikimit e kanë studentët të vitit të fundit të studimeve të gazetarisë dhe shkencave shoqërore, të sapodiplomuarit, gazetarë të rinj dhe profesionistë nga Kosova.

Kandidatët nga të gjitha pjesët e Kosovës inkurajohen të aplikojnë. Sidoqoftë, numri i pjesëmarrësve është i kufizuar dhe ne do t’u japim prioritet gazetarëve të rinj me më pak përvojë në fushën e përshkruar.

Do të zgjidhen minimum 30 dhe maksimalisht 40 pjesëmarrës.

Si duhet aplikuar?

Të gjitha aplikacionet duhet të paraqiten në shqip, serbisht ose anglisht para 4 dhjetorit sipas kohës lokale (mesnatë) së Evropës Qendrore tek aritasuhodolli@jetanekosove.com së bashku me dokumentet e mëposhtme:

  • CV e Aplikuesit
  • Artikull i botuar
  • Letër Motivimi

Aplikantët që nuk kanë ndonjë shkrim të botuar mund të paraqesin punimet e tyre studentore nga kurset praktike në gazetari.

Letra e motivimit duhet të sigurojë informacion në lidhje me mendimin dhe njohuritë e aplikantëve mbi temën e lajmeve të rreme dhe nuk duhet të tejkalojë 400 fjalë.

Gjuha

Trajnimi do të mbahet në gjuhën angleze, megjithatë, do të sigurohet përkthimi në shqip, serbisht dhe anglisht.

Kufizimet COVID-19:

Për shkak të kufizimeve të COVID-19 në Kosovë, si dhe rekomandimeve përkatëse shëndetësore, trajnimi do të jepet në internet përmes platformës Zoom.

Afati i fundit për aplikim: 4 Dhjetor 2020 sipas kohës lokale (mesnatë) të Evropës Qendrore

Data e kursit të trajnimit: 9-10 Dhjetor, 2020

Thirrje për aplikim: Shkarkoni këtu

BIO-të e trajnerëve: Shkarkoni këtu

Shënim:

Pjesëmarrësit do të pajisen me certifikata në fund të trajnimit.

Projekti synon të organizojë dy trajnime shtesë dyditore në lidhje me temën e informacioneve të rremë me ekspertë të ndryshëm ndërkombëtarë. Në këtë drejtim, aplikantët që nuk janë zgjedhur do të kenë mundësinë të marrin pjesë në trajnime të ngjashme përmes të njëjtit program gjatë vitit 2021.

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Poziv za prijave za dvodnevni kurs obuke o proveri činjenica i borbi protiv dezinformacija

BIRN Kosovo, u saradnji sa Međunarodnim institutom za štampu (IPI) kao deo projekta za „Učvršćivanje otpornosti sadašnjih i budućih kosovskih novinara“, koji podržava EU, poziva studente i nedavno kvalifikovane novinare na dvodnevni kurs koji će voditi međunarodni medijski stručnjaci, a koji će pružiti praktično znanje o borbi protiv dezinformacija i uspostavljanju metoda za proveru činjenica.

Kako verifikacija činjenica, tako i postavljanje informacija u ispravan društveni kontekst se retko primenjuju na Kosovu, dok na studijama novinarstva i društvenih nauka nisu ponuđeni predmeti iz ove oblasti. Kao rezultat toga, lokalni novinari nisu upoznati sa najnovijim standardima u verifikaciji činjenica ili novim metodama koje platforme poput Facebook-a koriste u borbi protiv lažnih vesti.

Da bi se pozabavio ovom problematikom, BIRN Kosovo, kao vodeća medijska kuća u istraživačkom novinarstvu, se je udružio IPI-jem, globalnom mrežom urednika, rukovodilaca medija i vodećih novinara sa sedištem u EU, koja se od 1950. zalaže za profesionalne standarde u novinarstvu. IPI, sa sedištem u EU, će na Kosovo dovesti iskusne medijske stručnjake koji će izgraditi veštine provere činjenica i izveštavanja kod novinara, a posebno sa etnički različitim istraživačkim ekipama.

Kurs koji su osmislile i kojim upravljaju dve organizacije će pomoći u suočavanju sa lažnim vestima i neproverenim izveštavanjem, pomažući novinarima da nauče kako da uoče lažne vesti i pruže verifikovane informacije koje se pridržavaju novinarskih standarda. Ponuđeno znanje će biti veoma praktične prirode i oslanjaće se na jedinstvena iskustva novinara koji su uspešno razvili takve veštine u sličnim sredinama.

Tokom dva dana, iskusni međunarodni novinari će razgovarati sa učesnicima o relevantnim temama, uključujući glavne i odgovorne urednike časopisa Maldita – vodeće španske organizacija u borbi protiv dezinformacija putem provere činjenica i novinarstva podataka – i Teyita, ekvivalentne organizacije u Turskoj. Više informacija o trenerima možete naći u njihovoj biografiji, koja je dostupna za preuzimanje ispod.

Prisustvo iskusnih lokalnih novinara će osigurati da razmena veština i znanja ne bude u obliku predavanja usredsređenog na obuku, već će biti oblikovana kao razgovor između stručnjaka, tokom kojeg će se adresirati i diskutovati o rešenjima za specifične izazove sa kojima se suočavaju novinari koji deluju u određenom okruženju.

Ko se može prijaviti?

Mogu se prijaviti studenti na poslednjoj godini studija novinarstva i društvenih nauka, nedavno diplomirani studenti, mladi i profesionalni novinari sa Kosova.

Podstiču se kandidati iz svih delova zemlje da se prijave. Međutim, broj učesnika je ograničen i prednost će biti data mlađim novinarima sa manje iskustva u opisanoj oblasti.

Biće izabrano najmanje 30, a najviše 40 učesnika.

Kako se prijaviti?

Sve prijave treba podneti na albanskom, srpskom ili engleskom jeziku pre 4. decembra u ponoć po srednjoevropskom vremenu na aritasuhodolli@jetanekosove.com zajedno sa sledećim dokumentima:

  • CV podnosioca prijave
  • Primer njihovog rada
  • Motivaciono pismo

Kandidati koji nemaju objavljen rad mogu da predaju svoje studentske zadatke sa praktičnih predmeta iz novinarstva.

Motivaciono pismo treba da sadrži informacije u vezi sa mišljenjem i znanjem podnosioca prijave na temu lažnih vesti i ne treba da bude duže od 400 reči.

Jezik:

Obuka će biti održana na engleskom jeziku, dok će biti obezbeđen prevod na albanski, srpski i engleski jezik.

Ograničenja zbog COVID-19:

Zbog ograničenja COVID-19 u zemlji, kao i relevantnih zdravstvenih preporuka, obuka će biti održana onlajn, na Zoom-u.

Rok za prijavljivanje: 4. decembar 2020. u ponoć po srednjoevropskom vremenu

Datum održavanja obuke: 9 – 10 decembar 2020.

Poziv za prijavu: Preuzmite ovde

BIO trenera: Preuzmite ovde

Napomene:

Na kraju obuke polaznicima će biti uručeni sertifikati.

Namera je da se u projektu organizuju dva dodatna dvodnevna treninga na temu lažnih informacija sa različitim međunarodnim stručnjacima. Vezano sa tim, kandidati koji ne budu izabrani će biti u prilici da učestvuju na sličnim obukama u istom programu tokom 2021. godine.

BIRN Kosovo Holds Training on Critical Thinking and Fake News

On October 30, BIRN Kosovo organised a simultaneous online and face-to-face training session for students of the Rochester Institute of Technology in Kosovo. Around 15 students participated in the face-to-face session, with another 15 students participating online.

The focus of the training was on strengthening critical thinking, protective mechanisms against defamation and slander, combating fake news, and ethical reporting.

The session was led by Kreshnik Gashi, anchor of the Justice in Kosovo television program, 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.

He also outlined the impact that reporting by the Kosovo media had on the reintegration process of those affected by violent extremism, specifically those returned from fighting in Syria and Iraq, and the families that have been affected.

Gashi emphasised the importance of fact-checking, as, when done correctly, it fulfills the media’s role of serving the public interest.

Leposhtica explained Kosovo’s media code of ethics, the legislation governing the media, and the meaning of freedom of speech on social media. He added that the role of the media is to inform readers and viewers correctly, promptly and in accordance with international media standards, as well as to prevent the incitement of discrimination and intolerance on social media.

This training was organised within the “Consortium: For a sustainable community” project, which is funded by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, GCERF.

Report: Pandemic For Digital Rights

The latest report published by BIRN and Share Foundation sheds further light on the trends in digital rights violations in Central and Southeastern Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report presents an overview of the main violations of digital rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia between January 31 and September 30, 2020, and makes a series of recommendations for authorities in order to curb such infringements during future social crises.

In the report, BIRN and Share Foundation conclude that technology, especially in a time of crisis, should not be seen as the solution to complex issues, be that protection of health or upholding public order and safety. Rather, technology should be used to the benefit of citizens and in the interest of their rights and freedoms.

To read the full report click here. For individual cases, check our regional database, developed together with the SHARE Foundation.

COVID’s Toll on Digital Rights in Central and Southeastern Europe

The latest report published by BIRN and Share Foundation sheds further light on the trends in digital rights violations in Central and Southeastern Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report presents an overview of the main violations of digital rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia between January 31 and September 30, 2020, and makes a series of recommendations for authorities in order to curb such infringements during future social crises.

A first report, compiled by BIRN and which contained preliminary findings, showed a rise in digital rights violations in Central and Southeastern Europe during the pandemic, with over half of cases involving propaganda, disinformation or the publication of unverified information.

The global public health crisis triggered by the coronavirus exposed anew the failure of states around the world to provide a framework that would better balance the interests of safety and privacy. Instead, the report documents incidents of censorship, fake news, security breaches and concentration of information.

More than 200 pandemic-related violations tracked

At the onset of the pandemic, numerous violations of digital rights were observed – from violations of the privacy of persons in isolation to manipulation, dissemination of false information and Internet fraud.

BIRN and Share Foundation documented 221 violations in the context of COVID-19 during the eight-month monitoring period, the largest number coming during the initial peak of the pandemic in March and April – 67 and 79 respectively – before slowly declining.

The countries with the highest number of violations to date are Serbia, with 46, and Croatia, with 44.

The most common violation – accounting for roughly half of all cases – was manipulation in the digital environment caused by news sites that published unverified and inaccurate information, and by the circulating of incomplete and false data on social media.

This can be explained in large measure by the low level of media literacy in the countries of the region, where few people actually check the news and information provided to them, while the media themselves often publish unverified information.

The most common targets of digital rights violations were citizens and journalists. However, both of these groups were frequently also among the perpetrators.

Contact tracing apps: Useful or not? 

The debate about the use of contact-tracing apps as a method of combating the spread of COVID-19 was one of the most important discussions in Croatia and North Macedonia.

At the very beginning of the pandemic, the Croatian government led by the conservative Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, proposed a change to the Electronic Communications Act under which, in extraordinary situations, the health minister would request from telecommunications companies the location data of users.

Similarly, Macedonian health authorities announced they were looking to use “all tools and means” to combat the virus, with North Macedonia among the first countries in the Western Balkans to launch a contact-tracing app on April 13.

Developed and donated to the Macedonian authorities by Skopje-based software company Nextsense, the StopKorona! app is based on Bluetooth distance measuring technology and stores data locally on users’ devices, while exchanging encrypted, anonymised data relevant to the infection spread for a limited period of 14 days. According to data privacy experts, the decentralised design guaranteed that data would be stored only on devices that run the app, unless they voluntarily submit that data to health authorities.

Croatia launched its own at the end of July, but by late August media reports said the Stop COVID-19 app had been downloaded by less than two per cent of mobile phone users in the country. The threshold for it to be effective is 60 per cent, the reports said.

Key worrying trends mapped

Illustration: Olivia Solis

Bosnia and Herzegovina saw a number of problems with personal data protection, free access to information and disinformation. In terms of disinformation, people were exposed to a variety of false and sometimes outlandish claims, including conspiracy theories about the origin of the coronavirus, its spread by plane and various miracle cures.

Conspiracy theories, like those blaming the spread of the virus on 5G mobile networks, flourished online in Croatia too. One person in Croatia destroyed their Wifi equipment, believing it was 5G.

In Hungary, fake news about COVID-19 arrived even before the virus itself, said journalist Akos Keller Alant, who monitored the digital environment in Hungary.

Several clickbait fake news sites published articles about COVID-19 victims a month before Hungary’s first confirmed case. The Anti-Cybercrime Unit of the Hungarian police arrested several people for spreading fake news, starting in early February when police raided the operators of a network of fake news sites.

In Kosovo, online media emerged as the biggest violators of digital rights by publishing unverified and false information as well as personal health information. Personal data rights were also violated by state institutions and public figures.

In Montenegro, the most worrying digital rights violations concerned privacy and personal data protection of those infected with the coronavirus or those forced to self-isolate.

The early days of the pandemic, when Montenegro was among the few countries that could claim to have kept a lid on the virus, was a rare moment of social and political consensus in the country about how to respond, said Tamara Milas of the Centre for Civic Education in Montenegro, an NGO.

The situation changed, however, when the government was accused of the gross violation of the right to privacy and the right to the protection of personal data.

Like its Western Balkan peers, North Macedonia was flooded with unverified information and claims shared online with regards the pandemic. Some of the most concerning cases included false claims about infected persons, causing a stir on social media.

In Romania, the government used state-of-emergency powers to shut down websites – including news and opinion sites – accused of spreading what authorities deemed fake news about the pandemic, according to BIRN correspondent Marcel Gascon, who monitors digital rights violations in Romania.

In Serbia, a prominent case concerned a breach of security in the country’s central COVID-19 database. For eight days, the login credentials for the database, Information System COVID-19, were publicly available on the website of a public health body.

In another incident, the initials, age, place-of-work and personal address of a person infected with the virus were posted on the official webpage of the municipality of Sid in western Serbia as well as on the town’s social media accounts.

In the report, BIRN and Share Foundation conclude that technology, especially in a time of crisis, should not be seen as the solution to complex issues, be that protection of health or upholding public order and safety. Rather, technology should be used to the benefit of citizens and in the interest of their rights and freedoms.

When intrusive technologies and regulations are put in place, it is hard to take a step back, particularly in societies with weak democratic institutions, the report states. Under such circumstances, the measures applied in one crisis for the protection of public health may one day be repurposed and used against other “social plagues”, ultimately leading to reduced human rights standards.


To read the full report click here. For individual cases, check our regional database, developed together with the SHARE Foundation.