BIRN Launches Balkan Terrorism and Foreign Fighters Database

BIRN’s unique new database includes court verdicts handed down in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia for domestic terrorism and for going abroad to fight in the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

The Terrorism and Foreign Fighters Database, which was launched on Friday by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, contains comprehensive information about court verdicts for domestic terrorism in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

It also includes verdicts from the trials of people accused of going abroad to fight for the so-called Islamic State and other militant groups in Syria and for pro-Russian separatist forces in the conflict in Ukraine.

The database utilises BIRN’s extensive experience of covering terrorism trials in the Western Balkans and includes photographs and videos as well as a resource centre that offers video explainers and PDF booklets on how to report on violent extremism and terrorism.

BIRN’s regional director Marija Ristic said the database is the result of the BIRN network’s long-term reporting efforts and knowledge.

“We wanted to make a relevant source of data about regional terrorism for journalists and researchers, but also for all those interested in the topic. In addition to the data, which has been checked, we also wanted to share BIRN’s knowledge and experience in reporting on these topics,” Ristic said.

The verdicts in the database cover the period from 2007 to the end of 2020.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has convicted the highest number of people in the region for domestic terrorism, a total of 14. North Macedonia has convicted the second-largest amount, finding 11 terrorism defendants guilty.

Bosnia has also has convicted the highest number of people in the region for going to fight in Syria, a total of 28. North Macedonia has convicted 18 individuals and Albania has found nine guilty.

Serbia has prosecuted the highest number of people for going to fight in Ukraine. Serbian courts convicted 16 people but all the trials ended in plea bargains and suspended sentences.

BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina’s director Denis Dzidic said that the database contains data about the duration of sentences, the text of court judgments and data about the criminal records of terrorism defendants.

“It is important to emphasise that the database is free and accessible to everyone. It is searchable. We have made a special effort to link the important information, such as previous convictions or other ties between individuals who have stood trial,” Dzidic said.

The database’s resource centre includes videos and a detailed webinar about professional journalistic coverage of terrorism, along with BIRN’s suggestions for external resources that could help improve media reporting.

NOTE: The database was created with financial support from the European Union and Hedayah, the Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism. It can be accessed here.

 

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

BIRN Kosovo, within the “Europeanisation of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda”, an EU-funded project, is relaunching 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: 2021/01 – Documentary Production – [NAME OF THE APPLICANT]”, by March 12, 2021, 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 rishpall 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”, rishpall 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 2021/01 – Prodhim Dokumentari – [EMRI I APLIKUESIT], më së largu deri më 12/03/2021, 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 ponovo objavljuje 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, ponovo objavljuje 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: 2021/01 – Proizvodnja dokumentarca – [NAZIV PODNOSIOCA PRIJAVE]”, najkasnije do 12. 03. 2021. 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.

 

 

Call for Applications for Training in Podcasting

Reporters, editors and producers from six Western Balkans countries are invited to apply for a training in investigative podcasts led by prominent international trainers who produce podcasts for the Reveal and Bellingcat investigative journalism websites.

Podcasts are transforming journalism around the globe and their popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. But in the Western Balkans’ media landscape, podcasts that combine the power of investigative journalism and narrative story-telling are still in their infancy. However, there is growing interest in this type of content that can attract a large and diverse audience via mobile devices.

If you are a journalist, editor or producer who wants to learn more about podcasting and are wondering how to turn an ambitious investigative project into a successful podcast, this four-day training will introduce you to the basic concepts and skills needed to adapt investigative stories into podcasts.

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, is organising a training on investigative podcasts for media representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, within the regional “Media for All” project. The workshop is being led by Michael Montgomery, senior producer at Reveal from the US-based Center for Investigative Reporting. Michael will be joined by Sean Glynn, CEO of Novel, one of the UK’s leading audio production companies, and Max O’Brien, Executive Producer of Novel’s The Bellingcat Podcast.

Following the workshop, the best proposals for new podcasts will receive a financial award to cover production costs and further mentoring support from Michael Montgomery and other producers and editors. In addition to covering story development and production, we will ensure that, at the end of the training you understand how to identify and connect with the target audience and the basic steps in marketing and distribution.

Our lead trainer Michael Montgomery is a dynamic, award-winning journalist with an accomplished career in radio/podcasts, television and print. His work has appeared in national and international outlets including Reveal, NPR, Frontline, the BBC and BIRN. He also has extensive experience in the Balkans: he covered the rise of Slobodan Milosevic, the fall of communism throughout the region and the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo for the UK’s prestigious Daily Telegraph.

Sean Glynn is a highly experienced series producer and executive producer whose work spans current affairs, arts, history and politics. Sean has produced stories and flagship factual series for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service.

Max O’Brien has overseen award-winning audio documentaries and previously produced BBC Radio 4’s popular long-running series Something Understood. Max has recorded everywhere from séance rooms and operating theatres during open heart surgery to the control room of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Who can apply?

Journalists, editors, producers who wish to learn about podcasting and develop skills that will enable them to create their own podcasts should apply.

All potential participants should apply using the information provided in the application form.

How to apply?

Applicants should complete and submit only one application that you can download below. All applications should be submitted in English to aida.ajanovic@birn.eu.com along with the applicant’s CV.

DATE OF TRAINING:  March 22-31, 2021 (Four day sessions in two weeks)

TRAINING VENUE: Online

LANGUAGE: Working language of the training is English

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Download here

APPLICATION FORM: Download here

DEADLINE: March 14, at midnight Central European Time

DATA PROTECTION INFO: Privacy notice

 

 

 

BIRN Kosovo Chairs Debate on Oversight of Spending in Viti/Vitina

On December 24, BIRN Kosovo held a town hall conference in Viti/Vitina on the role of the National Audit Office, NAO, and citizens in overseeing municipal revenues and expenses, the fifth organised within the framework of the Promoting the Auditor General/NAO’s role in Kosovo project.

On December 24, BIRN Kosovo held a town hall conference in Viti/Vitina on the role of the National Audit Office, NAO, and citizens in overseeing municipal revenues and expenses, the fifth organised within the framework of the Promoting the Auditor General/NAO’s role in Kosovo project.

Supported by the Netherlands’ embassy in Kosovo, these town hall conferences are intended to examine the difficulties municipalities face in collecting revenue and executing their budgets. They also present the findings of the Auditor General, with an emphasis on those relating to public finances.

Present at the conference on Thursday were the Mayor of Viti/Vitina, Sokol Haliti, the head of the Audit Department for Municipalities at the NAO, Astrit Bllaca, and Visar Prebreza, Managing Editor at BIRN’s KALLXO.com.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the debate was attended by a limited number of participants from the municipality, as well as representatives of civil society and members of the municipal assembly. The conference was streamed live on BIRN’s anti-corruption platform KALLXO.com.

Prebreza presented the Auditor’s findings from the 2019 report on the municipality, stating that the municipality should be focused on reducing its debts.

“The Municipality of Viti is one of the municipalities that has received the fewest number of recommendations in its 2019 report,” Prebreza said. “However, the municipality’s debts have increased slightly, and this is a concern, especially as debts in most municipalities are decreasing.”

Mayor Haliti promised that the municipality would act soon on all the NAO recommendations. “We will become the first municipality to implement all of the given recommendations from the NAO,” he declared.

Child Protection NGOs Award Journalists Supported by BIRN Kosovo

On December 29 Behar Mustafa, a journalist at KALLXO.com, and Agon Sinanaj, who contributed an investigative story to BIRN’s English language newspaper Prishtina Insight, were recognised at the 2020 Awards for Journalism on Social and Child Protection. Both received prizes from KOMF, a Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo.

Mustafa was awarded for his TV reportage, “Smuggling Children to Italy,” which was broadcast as part of BIRN’s Justice in Kosovo television programme.

The story shed light on minors aged 16 to 18 being smuggled from Kosovo to Italy, with the investigation following the whole journey.

The footage revealed how the young people were in constant danger throughout the route, including when crossing borders with false identity documents alongside unknown companions.

Meanwhile, freelance journalist Sinanaj was also awarded for his feature story for Prishtina Insight, which looked into the lives of families caring for children with disabilities. The article was also published on BIRN’s KALLXO.com.

KOMF awarded a total of seven prizes to journalists for their work in the field of child protection. Other winners included Ardita Rashiti, a journalist at T7, Donika Gashi and Rina Mujku, from Klan Kosova, Drite Slivova-Polisi, of KTV, and Kaltrina Rexhepi-Dragusha, of RTK.

The prizes were awarded as part of the “Strengthening Social Services for Vulnerable Children and Families” project, which is funded by the Swiss embassy in Kosovo and implemented by KOMF. The awards were also supported by Joint Action for Decentralization, a project funded by the European Union and implemented by KOMF in partnership with SOS, OFAP, and KMPF.

BIRN Kosovo Gives Awards for Investigative Reporting on Corruption

BIRN Kosovo on December 18 gave three journalists awards for the best investigative reports about corruption in public spending over the past year, as part of a project entitled Promoting the Auditor General/NAO’s Role in Kosovo.

The winning stories were selected by a jury comprised of Kreshnik Gashi, Mexhide Demolli, Dafina Halili, Leart Hoxha and Mustafa Skenderi from a total of nine entries, all of which were broadcast on TV or published online between October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

First prize was awarded to journalist Besnik Boletini for his investigative article entitled “Ineffective Millions”, which analysed investments in agriculture through grants and subsidies.

Over 238 million euros have been invested in agriculture using these methods, with experts arguing that the investment has produced few tangible results. Levels of imports and exports were examined as part of the investigation, which highlighted the ineffectiveness of the huge public investment into the agriculture sector.

Arta Berisha was awarded second prize for her investigation entitled “Advertising the Government’s Work Online”, which shed light on dozens of contracts, signed by ministries with news websites and other sites, which did not respect tendering procedures, the Law on Public Procurement and professional ethics.

Third place went to Merita Berisha-Prebreza for her investigation entitled “Temporary Contracts that Deny Workers Rights”. The article examined salaries paid to over 2,000 people employed every year by public institutions through so-called Special Service Agreements, often without competition and in violation of the law.

The investigation revealed that public money is often spent on providing financial support for people connected to political parties, as well as party activists.

Promoting the Auditor General/NAO’s Role in Kosovo is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and is being implemented by BIRN Kosovo.

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Ndahen çmimet gazetareske për hulumtimet më të mira në fushën e shpenzimeve publike

Juria profesionale i ka bërë publike (18 dhjetor)vlerësimet për gazetarët në kuadër të thirrjes për tri hulumtimet më të mira në fushën e shpenzimeve publike.

Çmimet janë ndarë në kuadër të projektit ‘Promovimi i rolit të Auditorit të Përgjithshëm / ZKA në Kosovë’, i mbështetur nga Ambasada e Mbretërisë së Holandës/Ministria e Punëve të Jashtme e Holandës dhe i implmentuar nga BIRN Kosova.

Për këto çmime, në garë kanë qenë 9 storie të publikuara në televizione dhe media online nga data 1 tetor 2019 deri më 30 shtator 2020.

Juria në përbërje Kreshnik Gashi, Mexhide Demolli, Leart Hoxha, Dafina Halili dhe Mustafa Skenderi kanë vlerësuar çmimin e parë  hulumtimin e gazetarit, Besnik Boletini. Çmimi i dytë është ndarë për hulumtimin e gazetares Arta Berisha, ndërsa çmimi i tretë është ndarë për gazetaren Merita Berisha-Prebreza.

Çmimi për gazetarin Besnik Boletini është ndarë për hulumtimin “Milionat e paefektshme”. Ky hulumtim shqyrton investimet e bëra në fushën e bujqësisë përmes granteve dhe subvencioneve. Mbi 238 milionë euro janë investuar në bujqësi në këtë mënyrë, me ekspertë që argumentojnë se paratë kanë treguar pak rezultate. Nivelet e importeve dhe eksporteve u analizuan si pjesë e hetimit, i cili nënvizoi jo-efektivitetin e investimeve të mëdha publike në këtë sektor. Hulumtimi mund të lexohet në këtë link.

Çmimi për gazetaren Arta Berisha është ndarë për hulumtimin “Reklamimi i punës së qeverisë në internet”. Ky hulumtim zbulon mbi dhjetëra kontrata të nënshkruara nga ministritë me portalet e lajmeve dhe faqet e internetit të tjera në kundërshtim me procedurat e tenderimit, Ligjin për Prokurimin Publik dhe etikën profesionale. Arta Berisha zbulon se sekretarët e përgjithshëm të ministrive, si dhe zyrtarë të tjerë, e kanë trajtuar buxhetin e shtetit sikur të ishin paratë e tyre, duke shpërndarë shuma të mëdha portaleve në kundërshtim me legjislacionin. Hulumtimi mund të lexohet në këtë link.

Çmimi për gazetaren Merita Berisha-Prebreza është ndarë për hulumtimin “Kontrata afatshkurta që mohojnë të drejtat e punëtorëve”. Ky hulumtim shqyrton pagat e paguara për mbi 2,000 persona të punësuar çdo vit nga institucionet publike përmes Marrëveshjeve për shërbime të veçanta, shpesh pa konkurrencë dhe në kundërshtim me ligjin. Hulumtimi zbulon se paratë publike shpesh shpenzohen për të siguruar mbështetje financiare për njerëzit e lidhur me partitë politike, si dhe militantët e partive. Hulumtimi mund të ndiqet në këtë link.

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Dodeljene nagrade za najbolje novinarske priče iz oblasti javnih troškova

Stručni žiri BIRN Kosova objavio je svoje ocene (18. decembra) za novinarke i novinare, u okviru poziva za tri najbolja istraživanja iz oblasti javnih troškova.

Nagrade su dodeljene u okviru projekta „Promovisanje uloge generalnog revizora/ NKR na Kosovu,“ čiju je realizaciju podržala ambasada Kraljevine Holandije/Ministarstvo spoljnih poslova Holandije, a koji realizuje BIRN Kosovo.

Za ove nagrade, u konkurenciji je bilo devet istraživačkih priča objavljenih na televiziji i onlajn medijima od 1. oktobra 2019. do 30. septembra 2020. godine.

Žiri u sastavu Krešnik Gaši, Medžide Demoli, Ljeart Hodža, Dafina Haljilji i Mustafa Skenderi dodelio je prvu nagradu istraživanju novinara, Besnika Boljetinija. Druga nagrada dodeljena je istraživanju novinarke Arte Beriša, dok je treća nagrada dodeljena novinarki Meriti Beriša-Prebreza.

Novinar Besnik Boljetini osvojio je prvu nagradu za istraživanje „Nedelotvorni milioni.” Ova priča istražuje investicije u poljoprivredi, putem grantova i subvencija. Više od 238 miliona evra uloženo je u poljoprivredu ovim putem, a stručnjaci tvrde da je sav taj novac dao malo rezultata. Nivoi uvoza i izvoza analizirani su kao deo istrage, koja je naglasila nedelotvornost velikih javnih investicija u ovom sektoru. Istraživanje možete pročitati na ovom linku.

Novinarki Arti Beriša dodeljena je nagrada za istraživanje „Reklamiranje rada vlade na internetu“. Ovo istraživanje razotkriva na desetine ugovora koja su ministarstva potpisala sa informativnim portalima i internet stranicama, u suprotnosti sa tenderskim postupcima, Zakonom o javnim nabavkama i profesionalnom etikom. Arta Beriša otkriva da su se generalni sekretari ministarstava, kao i drugi zvaničnici, prema državnom budžetu ponašali kao da se radi o njihovom vlastitom novcu, isplaćujući velike svote portalima u suprotnosti sa zakonom. Istraživanje možete pročitati na ovom linku.

Novinarki Meriti Beriša-Prebreza dodeljena je nagrada za istraživanje „Kratkoročni ugovori koji uskraćuju radnička prava“. Ovo istraživanje ispituje zarade isplaćene broju od preko 2,000 ljudi zaposlenih svake godine u javnim institucijama, ugovorima o posebnim uslugama, često mimo konkurencije i u suprotnosti sa zakonom. Istraživanje otkriva da se novac iz javne kase često troši da bi se obezbedila finansijska podrška ljudima povezanim sa političkim strankama, kao i stranačkim militantima. Istraživanje možete pročitati na ovom linku.

 

BIRN Kosovo Trains Auditors in Communication and Social Media Use

BIRN Kosovo held its second training session on writing techniques and the use of social media with the staff of the National Audit Office, NAO, on December 21, as part of the Promoting the Auditor General/NAO’s role in Kosovo, a project aimed at increasing transparency and accountability on the management of public funds.

Supported by the Netherlands embassy in Pristina, the training courses are intended to improve the performance of the Auditor General and NAO staff while writing, reporting and providing information on public spending.

The training session was attended by the Head of Communication and Professional Development Saranda Husajm and communications officer Shqipe Hetemi from the NAO. The course was divided into two sessions, the first 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, news items and a social media status and how to present them on social networks. Mavriqi provided information on social media use and security.

BIRN Kosovo Holds Second Environmental Reporting Workshop

BIRN Kosovo and TV Mreza held a second workshop for journalists in Kosovo on December 23, providing training on how to best report issues related to energy efficiency and the environment.

The workshop was implemented within the Europeanisation of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda project, which is funded by the EU Office in Kosovo. The project is focused on improving knowledge of and reporting on energy efficiency, as well as raising public awareness about the health benefits of using renewables and creating a clean environment.

Twelve local journalists attended the workshop, with representatives from News Press Production, TV Herc, TV Mir, TV Most, Epoka e Re, Euro Peja Information, as well as other independent and freelance journalists.

The workshop was conducted by Jeta Xharra, BIRN Kosovo’s country director,
Visar Prebreza and Kreshnik Gashi, BIRN Kosovo’s managing editors, Fatmir Gsrguri, an environmental expert, Aleksandar Djordjevic, an environmental journalist at BIRN Serbia, and Dragan Gmizic, a journalist and award-winning environmental film maker from Serbia.

During the workshop, Xharra discussed the problems of addressing environmental issues in Kosovo through journalism, while Prebreza outlined his and Xharra’s months-long investigation that exposed corruption in state-funded incentives for private solar power companies, which was published under the title “Unclean energy: The Kosovar Who Would Own the Sun”.

Gerguri meanwhile demonstrated the long-term effects of environmental degradation caused by the illegal exploitation of gravel, coal and other natural resources, as well as by the construction of infrastructure projects with low-quality materials.

Djordjevic outlined his investigations into illegal construction in protected areas in Serbia, while Gmizic talked through his eco-documentaries “Black Shadow of Green Energy” and “Flatland without Birds”, as well as his investigation into the illegal fishing trade.

Finally, Gashi spoke about the practical details of reporting on environmental crimes in Kosovo, using his investigations into the illegal exploitation of gravel that was broadcast as part of BIRN’s ‘Justice in Kosovo’ TV programme as an example.

The online workshop was held was the final one to be organised within the Europeanisation of Kosovo’s Environmental Agenda project.

Montenegro Renews Push to Extradite Fugitive Ex-President

New government in Montenegro has renewed a request to extradite Svetozar Marovic, ex-president of the former State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, who fled the country to avoid prison – after a BIRN investigation revealed the family’s business activities in Serbia.

Montenegro has renewed its request to extradite the ex-president of the former State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, Svetozar Marovic, from Serbia. It comes after a BIRN investigation revealed the Marovic family’s lucrative business interests in Serbia.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic said the government had renewed the request, stressing that it expected cooperation on the matter with the Serbian government.

“I hope we will find a common language with Serbia and bring Marovic to justice. It is unjustified that Marovic walks freely in another country and that his son also performs activities in business [there],” Abazovic told a press conference.

In 2015, Marovic was accused of being the kingpin of a criminal group in his hometown coastal resort of Budva, and in May 2016 he signed two plea bargains under which he agreed to serve a prison sentence.

Under the first plea bargain, Marovic agreed to serve 30 months in prison and pay 50,000 euros to charity. Under the second, he agreed to an additional 20 months, a fine of 1.1 million euros, and to pay another 50,000 euros to charity. After he fled, an Interpol Red Notice was issued for his arrest.

Podgorica has been seeking his extradition from Serbia for three years, with two requests filed this year alone.

Montenegrin Minister of justice Vladimir Leposavic said the state would guarantee him fair treatment in Montenegro.

An investigation by BIRN showed that Marovic’s 37-year-old son, Milos, has since developed business interests in Serbia, having pleaded guilty to involvement in Montenegro to an illegal land sale in a village near Budva that prosecutors said cost municipality 1.4 million euros. In 2016, he was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to repay 380,000 euros.

Both father and son have since fled, however, and have reportedly lived untouched in neighboring Serbia.

The BIRN investigation showed Milos Marovic owned thousands of acres of land in Serbia with an estimated value of over a million euros. Until early 2020, he also owned an agribusiness with assets of several hundred thousand euros, according to BIRN, and is registered as living in a luxury apartment block in the elite Vracar district of the Serbian capital Belgrade.

Svetozar Marovic was a co-founder of the Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, which lost power this year after three decades of uninterrupted rule in Montenegro.

Between 2003 and 2006, he was president of the former State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, the last incarnation of an almost century-old union between the two countries that ended when Montenegro voted for independence.

Milos Marovic now holds Serbian citizenship. He had asked to spend his one–year prison sentence in Serbia, but has never served a day. Under Montenegrin law, the deadline for him to serve his penalty expired on September 16, 2020, pending a final decision by the Higher Court in Podgorica.