BIRN Albania Holds Two-Day Training on Organized Crime

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania held a two-day training on June 20-21 in Tirana on money laundering and organized crime reporting.

More than 20 crime beat and investigative journalists participated in the training session, which was led by British journalist and editor Lawrence Marzouk, the author of new guide published by BIRN: Investigating Organized Crime and Money Laundering in Albania.

During the training, BIRN Albania editor Besar Likmeta also presented the network’s latest database, which includes a complete catalogue of asset sequestration and confiscation orders issued by local courts in Albania over the past decade.

Meanwhile, legal expert Ardit Hysa gave journalists an overview of the legal framework on organized crime and money laundering in the country, discussing the provisions of the criminal code and the anti-mafia law.

The training was welcomed by the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Albania, Reinout Vos, who underlined the important role of the media in the fight against organized crime and money laundering.

“You have an important role in telling the difficult human stories that are behind the machinery of the criminal world, but also putting authorities up against their responsibility to take action,” Vos told the journalists.

The training is part of the project, Raising Awareness and Accountability on Money-Laundering in Albani’, which is supported by the Netherlands.

The goal of this project is to strengthen the fight against organised crime and money-laundering by raising awareness and strengthening the accountability of the system for the seizure and confiscation of the illegal proceeds of crime.

 

Culture of Impunity Still Influences Kosovo Courts’ Corruption Sentences – Report

Latest report by BIRN and Internews Kosova says corruption verdicts don’t follow Supreme Court guidelines, and are often too mild.

BIRN and Internews Kosova published their latest court monitoring report on Tuesday, entitled “Impunity to Corruption”.

The report, consisting of findings from analysing 40 corruption case verdicts during 2021, shows that Kosovo courts in these cases did not follow Supreme court guidelines in their punitive verdicts.

The report provides information on the low sentences often imposed in corruption cases and on the circumstances that were considered for the imposition of these lower sentences.

It reveals that there is often no justification for aggravating and mitigating circumstances in court judgments in corruption cases.

Albulena Haxhiu, Minister of Justice, who was part of the panel at the publication of the report, congratulated BIRN and I/KS for their contribution to Kosovo’s justice system with the monitoring reports.

“This report, and these cases that have been under the magnifying lens of the monitors, should be placed under the magnifying lens of the mechanisms of the Judicial Council on the issue of performance and professionalism of judges or trial panels that have issued such decisions,” Haxhiu said on Facebook.

Enver Peci, President of the Supreme Court, stated that the report and the data it contains are useful to the judicial system. The Supreme Court’s rules on criminal policy must be implemented in the future along with clear procedures, he added, in order to prevent organisations that monitor the legal system from reaching differing conclusions on the same problems.

Albert Zogaj, chairman of the Kosovo Judicial Council, said that in the process of furthering judicial reform, the subject of punitive policy in corruption cases has a specific relevance.

This was the 16th monitoring report of the judicial and prosecutorial system in Kosovo conducted by BIRN and I/KS.

The full report can be found here

 

Contribute to Increasing Transparency and Accountability of Kosovo Govt and Raise Awareness of Disinformation

BIRN Kosovo

This project aims to improve inter-community relations by facilitating spaces for Albanians, Serbs and those from other ethnic communities to interact, while also providing a channel through which members of various Kosovo communities can express their grievances and their hopes for the future. Furthermore, the project aims to increase public awareness and understanding of fake news and disinformation among citizens and particularly among young people from different communities in Kosovo.

Summary:

The worldwide phenomena of fake news and disinformation have plagued Western Balkan countries, like others, in recent years. Kosovo has been no exception. There has been a surge there of fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 parliamentary elections as well as about the EU-mediated Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

In the context of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, media outlets in both countries have spread misinformation. In Kosovo, statements from Serbian politicians or other media outlets are often presented to readers as insults against Kosovo, either for political purposes or as a means to boost engagement. In Serbia, media campaigns to delegitimize Kosovo’s statehood and undermine its governance capabilities and relations with the EU are widespread.

The EU-mediated Kosovo-Serbia dialogue on normalization of relations has now been in stalemate for months. The sides are yet to come to a comprehensive and binding agreement – a prospect that does not seem within reach. The process of the dialogue has been accompanied by a lack of transparency from both governments, which has contributed to the limited level of information among citizens about the process and its outcomes. Meanwhile, relations on the ground between Albanians and Serbians in Kosovo, as well as between the two countries, have not improved significantly.

It is concerning that the youth are also burdened by the impact of conflict memories. This is fueled by antagonistic conflict narratives provided in two parallel education systems and limited cross-community interactions at all levels. In the meantime, young boys and girls from both communities face similar challenges, including a lack of education, job opportunities, as well as poor economic conditions.

Given these common challenges, it is important to establish platforms for cross-community interactions. These would allow representatives from all communities, particularly Albanians and Serbians, to exchange views on grievances and build reconciliation through imagining different futures. Kosovo today needs new and creative solutions, to effectively address protracted economic, social and political problems and to shape an inclusive narrative about shared priorities for the future.

In the framework of the proposed project, BIRN Kosovo and Internews Kosova (I/KS) will provide a space for dialogue, elicit joint solutions to joint problems and feature good practices through the publication of articles and broadcasting of stories that bring together citizens from different ethnic communities in Kosovo to discuss the key challenges they face.

The project will feature community experiences in tackling issues ranging from economics, politics and security to current affairs, and will involve a segment in the programmes hosting decision makers to address the issues and solutions raised by community leaders and participants during the debates.

The project further aims to fight fake news and disinformation by promoting adherence to the media Code of Ethics and raising awareness about the mechanisms available to address these phenomena – while also publishing fact-checking articles and news articles on identifying and debunking fake news and disinformation on the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, inter-ethnic relations, vulnerable communities and other related topics.

Lastly, the project aims to provide the youth of Kosovo from different ethnic backgrounds with the tools they need to fight fake news and disinformation through training opportunities offered within the framework of the Summer School.

Donor:

Embassy of Switzerland in Kosovo

Main objectives:

 Objective 1: contribute to improving inter-ethnic relations through facilitating communication and providing a platform to voice the challenges faced by all communities, as well as positive examples;

Objective 2: increase public awareness of fake news and disinformation among citizens from different ethnic backgrounds in Kosovo, especially among the young.

 Main Activities:

  1. Raise public discussion through three (3) TV debates by Kosovo MPs on the level of implementation of the Law on the Use of Languages, Law on Protection from Discrimination and Law on Local Self-Government;
  2. Broadcast ten (10) TV programmes on inter-municipal and inter-sectoral cooperation, to promote good practices through solution-driven journalism;
  3. Raise awareness and promote positive examples through seven (7) TV programmes of stories of all community members, in particular Albanian and Serbian communities living in Kosovo;
  4. Promote the importance of self-regulatory and regulatory bodies efforts in fighting disinformation and fake news through two (2) TV debates;
  5. Draft five (5) position papers with the Press Council of Kosovo on the Code of Ethics and organise working meetings with members of the Council to discuss and address findings;
  6. Publish eighty (80) fact-checking articles on KALLXO.com’s Krypometër (Truth-o-meter) section on implementation of the dialogue process;
  7. Publish twenty (20) short news articles on identifying and debunking fake news and disinformation, as well as stories relating to inter-ethnic relations, on the KALLXO.com platform;
  8. Organise a summer school on the topic of anti-disinformation with young people from different ethnic communities in Kosovo;
  9. Provide internship and mentorship opportunities to five (5) university students to report on topics related to inter-ethnic relations and disinformation;
  10. Organise exchange of experiences and best practices with partners organisations from Georgia/other countries.

Target Groups:

  • Members of all ethnic communities in Kosovo, particularly Albanians and Serbs;
  • Youth from different ethnic backgrounds;
  • Citizens of Kosovo.

Main implementer:

BIRN Kosovo

Partners:

Internews Kosova

Project associates:

Press Council of Kosova, TV Mreza Network and Gracanica Online

 

BIRN Albania Call for Investigations on Environmental Issues

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania launched a call for investigative stories on June 15, offering grants for four journalists to produce articles on topics related to environment.

The call is part of the project “Using Big Data and Multimedia to Boost Quality and Independent Journalism in Albania”, supported by the European Union.

The goal of the project is to create an enabling environment for Albanian journalists to produce independent content through training, mentoring, technical and financial support, and close cooperation with civil society, so improving freedom of expression and strengthening media pluralism in Albania.

The call is based on topics suggested by civil society activists and journalists during a joint workshop held on June 10 in Tirana.

The workshop was attended by two dozen civil society activists and journalists, who debated on important topics that should be investigated in the field of the environment as well as on the need to build stronger communication and cooperation between civil society organisations and journalists.

The journalists awarded through this call will have around three months to dig deeper and research their ideas and will also have the opportunity to work with experienced editors as mentors to guide them through the process of writing in accordance with BIRN standards.

The call only applies to journalists from Albania and closes on July 5.

Click here for more information (in Albanian) about the application procedure.

Click here to download the application form (in Albanian).

 

Call for applications: Final external evaluation of BIRN Kosovo project

BIRN Kosovo is seeking an evaluator/evaluation company to undertake a comprehensive overall evaluation of the results achieved in the project and provide recommendations for possible scaling up of the project.

Assignment reference: Undertake a comprehensive overall evaluation of results achieved in the project and provide recommendations for possible scaling up of the project.

Project reference: “Europeanisation of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda”, funded by the European Union Office in Kosovo, and implemented by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) Kosovo, CEE Bankwatch, Environmentally Responsible Action (ERA) Group, and Independent TV Network (TV Mreža).

Deadline for applications: 25/06/2022, at 17.00.

Call for applications

This call for applications is being published within the “Europeanisation of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda” project, funded by the European Union Office in Kosovo, and implemented by BIRN Kosovo, CEE Bankwatch, ERA Group and TV Mreža.

Interested candidates or candidate companies must follow the information and guidelines as set out in the Terms of Reference provided below this call. The deadline for submitting applications is June 25, at 17:00, to kosova@birn.eu.com and diellzasalihu@jetanekosove.com.

Click the link below for Terms of Reference:

Terms of Reference

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the People Behind BIRN: Nicholas Watson

Each month, BIRN introduces you to a different member of its team. For June, meet Nicholas Watson, editor of Reporting Democracy.

Nicholas, 55, has been in journalism for more than 30 years. He started his carrier in Japan and continued in New York, London, Rome and Prague, where he has lived for the past 20 years.

As editor of Reporting Democracy, BIRN’s cross-border journalistic platform dedicated to exploring where democracy is headed across large parts of Europe, Nicholas says that journalism still excites him.

He is particularly keen to highlight Reporting Democracy’s new Travel and Reporting Programme for journalists, teams and media organisations from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

“I hope many aspiring or established journalists will take the opportunity to apply for these grants and, to paraphrase George Orwell, ‘print what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations’,” he says.

How did you start your career in journalism? 

I was actually teaching English as a foreign language in Hiroshima, Japan in the early 1990s when I was given a chance to write for a Tokyo-based international travel magazine, covering destinations, culture etc in the Far East. Through this I won the Pacific-Asia Travel Association’s (PATA) Grand Travel Story Award for 1993 for a story I did on Sumo wrestling and have never really looked back. I shifted my focus to hard news with a move to a global newswire a few years later, which took me from Tokyo to New York as a correspondent, then to London and Rome, followed by the Czech Republic about 20 years ago, where I’ve remained ever since.

When did you join BIRN and the Reporting Democracy project?

I joined BIRN in August 2020. I’d actually taken a break from journalism for a couple of years after selling my publication with my business partner at the time. I’d been doing some research and consultancy work in the interim, but it didn’t really excite me in the same way that the news business had, so when I was afforded the opportunity to get back into it with BIRN’s Reporting Democracy it was a great chance. The fact RD promotes freedom of speech, human rights and democratic values through investigations, features, analysis and interviews is what it makes it all the better – I’m honoured that they picked me to lead the network at such a crucial time for the region.

The news business can feel very cyclical, it waxes and wanes. When there’s lots of stories about and everyone is keen to write about them, it fills you with energy and hope. However, inevitably there are ‘down’ times, when there seems a dearth of stories to pursue, the stories don’t flow like they once had, there’s a feeling of discouragement in the air, and it can feel a little demotivating. It’s important to always remember the next big story is just around the corner. It’s important to stay positive, keep talking to people, keep looking into things – the stories are there, perhaps just a bit harder to find at times, and you need to dig a little deeper.

Can you choose one of your favourite reports, analysis pieces or investigations that really made a difference?

I would pick our series of pieces on the right-wing Polish government’s attempt to rally support in the region for replacing the Istanbul Convention (which attempts to combat violence against women) with an alternative treaty that aims to ban abortion and homosexual marriage, as really important. Led by Claudia Ciobanu, RD’s Poland correspondent, our people in the region found that the Polish Justice Ministry

had sent letters to at least four governments in the region (Croatia, Czechia, Slovakia and Slovenia) outlining their alternative treaty, which seemed to be based on an international family rights convention prepared by the Christian conservative Ordo Iuris Institute in cooperation with former Polish MEP Marek Jurek from the Christian Social Congress. This was an underhand, secretive attempt by one government in the region to undermine women’s rights elsewhere in the region that we exposed. Another important cross-border story we pursued included the opposition to the COVID-19 vaccination drives in CEE from a growing anti-vaccination movement that was being backed by the most conservative elements in the churches of the region.

Why did you decide to design and implement this new program? What do you want to achieve with the new Travel and Reporting Programme? 

Problems in countries tend to have their own characteristics but are usually universal: discrimination, oppression, misogyny, corruption, populism. As a journalist, it’s always important not to remain in your silo, but to explore how these problems manifest themselves in other parts of the world. Yet spending time abroad and reporting in-depth takes time and money. So, it is with this aim of fostering journalistic cooperation and exchanges of information between regions, in this case Central and Southeast Europe, that we are making available these travel and reporting grants, regional expertise as well as field support in countries where BIRN has offices (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia).

What are Reporting Democracy’s next plans? 

We have exciting grant stories coming up, investigating the conditions in refugee camps in Poland; systematic reform of enforcement and insolvency legislation in the Czech Republic as many fall further into debt; and the ‘defamation law’ in Poland that threatens freedom of speech, restricts civil liberties and has a freezing effect on the free media. We also began a series of podcasts, VoiCEE, together with our partner Notes From Poland, which you can access here. We will hopefully be looking into doing more of such podcasts.

 

 

BIRN Albania Holds Discussion on the Environment

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania held a roundtable discussion in Tirana about the environment on Friday June 10.

The event, which was attended by 31 journalists and representatives of civil society organisations working in the field of environmental protection.

This activity was part of the project ‘Using Big Data and Multimedia to Boost Quality and Independent Journalism in Albania’ co-funded by the European Union and Swedish government and implemented by BIRN.

The discussion was moderated by Ola Mitre, TV reporter with Albania’s SCAN television station.

The event produced lively debate about important topics that should be investigated in the field of the environment as well as the need to build stronger communication and cooperation between civil society organisations and journalists.

The main topics discussed included the impacts of hydro power plants and the protection of the Vjosa River, the impact on the health of the population from industrial pollution – particularly extractive industries, waste management, recycling and differentiation waste collection, the lack of capacities to monitor pollution, bans on single-use plastic bags, environmental impact assessments and environment crime.

The discussion will inform BIRN Albania’s upcoming call for an investigation on the topic of the environment.

 

 

European collaboration to boost media experimentation and innovation

Introducing Media Innovation Europe, an ambitious initiative to energize the European ecosystem for independent and local journalism

  • The programme is run by the International Press Institute, Thomson Foundation, the Media Development Foundation and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network
  • It is open to news outlets in more than 35 countries in Europe, including EU member states, the Western Balkans, Moldova and Ukraine
  • Support to media startups and established media in transition through accelerators and incubator programmes
  • Grants of up to €20,000 plus intensive cohort and one-on-one immersive training, mentoring and hackathons 
  • Access to industry leaders to help guide new journalism ideas, navigate new technology and adapt business models by deepening engagement with target audiences
  • Transition Accelerator, Deep-Dive Business Consultancies and Audience-Engaged Journalism Grant Scheme will launch their call for proposals in August 2022

From business consultancies and incubators to hackathons and accelerators, independent media outlets across Europe stand to benefit from a suite of opportunities offered under a bold new initiative designed to stimulate innovation, sustainable business models and collaboration.

Sign up for your Media Innovation Europe’s Newsletter here! 

Launched on 1 June 2022, Media Innovation Europe: Energizing the European Media Ecosystem is a two-year programme spearheaded by the IPI Global Network of editors, journalists, and media builders together with three non-profits committed to helping news organizations provide audiences with the independent journalism they need.

Led by the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), the consortium brings together the Berlin-based Thomson Foundation, the Kyiv-based Media Development Foundation (MDF) and the Sarajevo-based Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).

Together, they seek to empower media outlets as they navigate the digital transition, giving them the tools to align their journalistic products, business structures and means of discovery and distribution in a way that is audience-focused and sustainable.

“Through IPI’s network and our collaborating partners, Media Innovation Europe will transform media across the continent,” said Jacqui Park, IPI’s head of network strategy and innovation. “By mixing the global lessons of our network with the experimentations of some of the exciting new players and key innovators in  traditional media, it’s a key step in our shared journey to the new European media ecosystem.”

Responding to challenges

Supported by the European Commission, the initiative will pool the strengths of the consortium partners in mobilizing networks, running granting and mentoring programmes and supporting media innovation. Each has a deep understanding of the needs and challenges of European media at a time of transition.

“Professional and independent media need support and guidance towards modalities of operation that are more financially resilient to their unfriendly environments. We aim to encourage media outlets to think out of box, to design and test new business ideas and introduce new revenue streams. This could be done through two-way audience engagement, diversification of content and formats, as well as through side-businesses that relate to the core mission of beneficiary media,“ Davor Marko, Thomson Foundation manager for South East Europe and Central Europe. 

Media Innovation Europe aims to help news outlets overcome challenges ranging from broken business models and plummeting revenues to waning public trust, “state capture” of independent media and political pressures.

The programme recognises the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine  — not only in the immediate threats it poses to independent media in the country and region but also in the way the conflict aggravates pre-existing challenges.

“Being the most vulnerable to the fast-changing political and social environment, and by far the most challenged business sector, media often have to reserve their efforts for survival rather than development,” said Daryna Shevchenko, a member of the supervisory board of MDF, which will run “hackathons” as part of the programme. 

“Annual hackathon competitions are designed to create a safe space for media professionals to slow down, strategise, form long-term, cross-industry partnerships and make a leap in growth that they wouldn’t make otherwise.” 

By bringing together existing media and new players, the consortium believes partnerships created through Media Innovation Europe’s activities will contribute to a more innovative and sustainable ecosystem for European journalism.

Key activities 

Media Innovation Europe will roll out a variety of activities to meet the needs of the industry.

A six-month Transition Accelerator programme run by IPI and Deep-Dive Business Consultancies run by Thomson Foundation will offer targeted support to news organizations that are vital to media plurality in their region but may be struggling to survive.

These initiatives will draw on the rich experience of industry leaders from across Europe.

In addition, a six-month Emergent Incubator run by IPI will guide the launch and growth of promising media start-ups.

Teams accepted into the Transition Accelerator will be eligible for grants of up to €20,000 while teams accepted into the Emergent Incubator will be eligible for grants of up to €15,000. Grants of up to €10,000 will be available for outlets engaged with the business consultancy.

A Journalism Mentorship Scheme will also be on offer via IPI, linking media practitioners with one another to cover topics such as news product, audience strategies and business models.  

MDF’s annual hackathon competition will help participants come up with new ideas and solutions while offering opportunities for “radical collaboration” and exchange among media thinkers and builders from different backgrounds to help tackle journalism’s urgent challenges.

From each hackathon, three groups will get small grants to develop ideas and prototypes.

Meanwhile, BIRN will manage an audience-engaged journalism grant scheme to support innovative investigative journalism projects that embed audiences across the creative chain. 

“In a time of crisis, people turn to local news outlets to understand what’s happening,” BIRN Regional Director Marija Ristic said.

“And this was seen during the global pandemic when trust in local media increased. So the idea behind this project is to build upon that and use the power of tech to reach out to our audience and create content and coverage meaningful to our communities, that will not just be ‘for them’, but ‘with them’.” 

Participants of all the programmes will be selected by independent juries.

Networking opportunities

Media Innovation Europe is designed to take on a life of its own through its network. An annual summit will bring participants together and information hubs will distribute knowledge and best practices.

During the project and beyond, participants and other interested media entrepreneurs will have access to training tools and opportunities for exchanging ideas and building collaborations.

By sustaining a network of innovators, the initiative aims to be the first port of call for new and established media eager to challenge dated assumptions and transform Europe’s media landscape.

More details on each aspect of the project and the timing of calls for applications will follow shortly. 

Press contacts:

IPI: Ryan Powell, rpowell@ipi.media 

Thomson Foundation: Davor Marko, davorm@thomsonfoundation.org

MDF: Daryna Shevchenko, shevchenko.mdf@gmail.com

BIRN Network: Aida Ajanovic, aida.ajanovic@birnnetwork.org

 

BIRN’s Reporting Democracy Opens New Call for Travel and Reporting Programme

BIRN’s Reporting Democracy Travel & Reporting Programme is opening the call for journalists from the Visegrad region who have an interest on reporting from the Balkans to apply for the grant that covers expenses in the chosen field research.

Deadline for applications is June 30, 2022

Application for the grant:

Application for individual journalists and teams 

 

With the idea of fostering journalistic cooperation and exchanges of information between the two regions, we are providing travel and reporting grants, regional expertise as well as the field support in countries where BIRN has offices (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia).

Participation in the Travel & Reporting programme should result in the journalistic output published in the local media in applicant’s country, with the possibility of the content being republished on BIRN’s Reporting Democracy platform and in the local media in the Balkan region. By the journalistic output, we mean at least one in-depth article. Cross-border stories and serials of articles, as well as accompanying multimedia material (video, photo, radio /podcast) are encouraged.

General rules for call for applications:

Grants are available for journalists from Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia

Formal applicants can be:

  • individual journalist (working as part of newsroom structures as well as freelancers);
  • teams (e.g. reporter, producer, photographer, video editor);
  • media organisation.

A maximum of 5 grants will be awarded in this cycle

Amount of grant: EUR 2,500.00

Deadline for applications: June 30, 2022

Deadline for completion of the grant is December 31, 2022

Each applicant may submit only one application under this grant scheme.

Applications should include:

  • topic(s) that journalists would like to report about;
  • plans for visiting one or more countries of the Balkan region, with tentative timeline;
  • publishing and dissemination plan.

Eligible expenses include:

  • fees;
  • travel;
  • accommodation;
  • subsistence during the field work;
  • various production costs (translation, fixers, photographer, etc);

How to apply:

Applicants should use application form to apply for the Travel & Reporting programme. There are two types of application forms – for individual journalists and teams, and for media organisations.

Additional documentation can be submitted in the online format.

Application Form should be completed in English language.

Clarifications will only be requested when information provided is not sufficient to conduct an objective assessment.

The application must be submitted by 23:59 CET, on June 30, 2022 to the following address:

ReportingDemocracy@birn.eu.com

In case of additional inquires, please contact us.

Evaluation and selection:

Step I: Technical evaluation done by BIRN staff to ensure applicants followed application procedures and submitted all required documents.

Step II: Evaluation by editorial board will be done in order to select applicants based on evaluation criteria including:

  1. Quality of proposed idea;
  2. Feasibility of the proposed plan;
  3. Ability to reach public.

Step III: Notification of applicants.

Successful applicants will be notified by the end of July 2022.

 

BIRN Kosovo Holds Training on Labour Rights Violations

BIRN Kosovo organized a training with duty bearers, including police and labour inspectors and prosecutors, to strengthen their capacities to handle workplace injuries and other labour rights’ violations.

BIRN Kosovo on May 20 organised a training on labour rights violations in the framework of the EU-funded project “Protecting and promoting labour rights of vulnerable groups in the labour market”, which is implemented by ATRC and BIRN Kosovo.

The aim was to increase the capacities of duty bearers on dealing with cases of injuries at work and labour rights abuses, while also applying best practices to handling labour violations, especially criminal ones related to workplace injuries.

Three speakers with knowledge and expertise in the field delivered the training, which was divided into three parts.

In the first part, Agim Millaku, chief inspector of the Labour Inspectorate, spoke of the importance of securing key evidence in the event of workplace injuries.

He also highlighted the obligations that both employers and employees have to ensure a safe working environment, and listed types of work activities that can and cannot be done by certain categories of employees, including pregnant women and children under 18.

In the second part of the training, prosecutor Bekim Kodraliu spoke on the topic of criminal offences in the workplace. He provided an overview of the legal framework on criminal offences relating to employment relationships, noting that while Kosovo’s legal framework is the most advanced in the Balkans, it faces challenges in terms of effective implementation.

In the last part of the training, judge Nexhat Qallapeku discussed safety at work in the aspect of civil law, as well as the criminal procedures that can be followed in case of injuries in the workplace.

Among other topics discussed, Qallapeku touched on employers’ obligations to cover the medical costs of injured employees and the legal procedures that employees can follow if their employers fail to compensate them for their injuries.

The training was attended by 24 participants, including ten police investigators, three prosecutors and two labour inspectors, who came from different regions in Kosovo, including Peja, Prizren, Mitrovica, Gjilan and Podujeva.