Workshop for Sarajevo Canton Teachers on Teaching History from Database of Judicially Established Facts

BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Institute for Development of Pre-University Education of Sarajevo Canton are organising workshops in October for history teachers at which plans for lessons about the past and a multimedia Database of Judicially Established Facts will be presented.

During a meeting held at the Institute for Development of Pre-University Education of Sarajevo Canton – an advisory, educational and coordination body for starting and steering the growth and development of the educational system – participants stressed the need for teachers to use the Database of Judicially Established Facts, arising from previous evaluations filled out by educators to whom BIRN BiH had presented the materials.

Institute director Senada Salihovic said it was a pleasure to offer to teachers an innovative, yet verified, working material.

“We gladly support and participate in projects which will be based on high pedagogical and scientific standards, as a guarantor of development and progress of society as a whole. Our mission is to motivate teachers for further training, although they are already doing an excellent job,” Salihovic said.

In March 2023, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network of Bosnia and Herzegovina BIRN BiH presented its Database of Judicially Established Facts about the War in BiH.

This contains information from all Hague Tribunal verdicts about crimes committed in the 1992-5 war, video testimonials from survivors and victims tailored to pupils, as well as lesson plans containing activities, to help teachers and professors give lessons about topics from the recent past.

“We are pleased that as many teachers as possible will use our database. Our goal is to start working on its expansion soon, by means of drawing facts also from verdicts passed down before the State Court and other courts in the region, in addition to those from the Hague verdicts,” BIRN BiH director Denis Dzidic said.

The October workshop for teachers in Sarajevo will be run by representatives of the Institute and BIRN BiH who worked on compiling the materials, alongside professor Melisa Foric-Plasto.

For the purposes of this project, she has prepared a 200-page document containing lesson plans with learning activities and concrete examples of events from the past war.



Internet Governance Forum to Be Held in Bosnia Again

After five years, the Internet Governance Forum is being held again in Bosnia – and, below, you can help select the topics to be discussed by experts in cyber-security and citizens’ rights, representatives of academic community and the media.

The first national meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, BH IGF, to be held in Bosnia in the past five years is scheduled to take place in Novotel Hotel, Sarajevo, on October 2.

Given the complexity of the country’s set-up, the non-existence of a strategic approach and the growing challenges facing the country as regards digital rights, cyber-security, social media operation and other issues in the online sphere, BIRN BiH jointly with its partners has decided to relaunch the IGF platform in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Organising Committee consists of the Cyber-Security Excellence Centre in Bosnia and Herzegovina, CSEC,, the Centre for Education of Judges and Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Faculty of Political Sciences of the Sarajevo University, Logosoft and BIRN BiH.

The main focus of the forum will be cyber-security, with a new report on such threats in Bosnia to be presented for the first time, as well as on freedom of expression and the media on the Internet, historical revisionism, and violence against women and marginalized groups through information and communications technologies.

Each session will result in key recommendations, which will be conveyed to the Global IGF 2023 to be held in Tokyo, which has been convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations since 2006.

It would give us great pleasure if, by selecting two of the offered topics of importance for citizens, you would influence the work of this year’s forum, whose practical ideas will be presented at the next annual meeting. And, if you wish to attend in person, email your application to:

Choose two topics for the Internet Governance Forum in Bosnia

  1. Violence on the Internet
  2. Security in cyber space (security of institutions, private companies, citizens’ data)
  3. Systematic approach to the Internet issue
  4. Networks as a platform for hate speech, genocide and war crime denial and disinformation
  5. Freedom of speech on the Internet, vs repressive laws restricting it
  6. Bosnia’s readiness for artificial intelligence, AI
  7. Human rights before digitalization
  8. Other…



BIRN Seeks AI Researchers: Applications Open

BIRN is seeking applications for multiple positions of Country Researcher for the Global Index on Responsible Artificial Intelligence (GIRAI) project to support the development of a comprehensive set of benchmarks for measuring countries’ commitment towards responsible AI worldwide.

Who can apply?

Candidates from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Romania are welcome to apply for this position.

Role overview

As a Country Researcher, you will be involved in gathering and assessing evidence on responsible AI commitments and progress in your designated country, contributing to advancing accountable and rights-based AI principles globally.

The main tasks and responsibilities include:

  • Collecting and evaluating data on your nation’s AI commitments and advancements.
  • Contributing to global best practices for responsible AI.
  • Attending essential training courses on GIRAI tools, methodology and data collection.
  • Complying with data quality standards, submission timelines and data collection processes set by GIRAI and BIRN.
  • Investigating key AI thematic areas: Gender Equality, Data Protection, Privacy, Bias, Discrimination, Labour Protection, Accountability, Transparency, etc.

Minimum requirements

  • Awareness of recent AI policy developments in your country.
  • Proficiency in English and at least one official language of your country.
  • Demonstrated experience in data collection and research.
  • Ability to work autonomously, meet deadlines and maintain data quality.
  • Full-time availability from mid-October 2023 to March 2024.

How to apply

Apply by completing the following application form before September 25, 2023, at 5pm (CET). Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

BIRN Holds Data Journalism and OSINT Training in Montenegro

The Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network, BIRN Hub and partners from Germany, Georgia and Uzbekistan organised a three-day training course to boost the reporting skills of group of international journalists in Montenegro.

A total of 20 journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan spent a weekend in the Montenegrin coastal town of Budva from September 7-11, honing their data journalism and open-source intelligence (OSINT) skills.

During the training course, whicthe participants worked with trainer Carolyn Thompson, a freelance journalist and editor who is an expert in data journalism and OSINT.

Thompson covered the core concepts of data journalism – what it is; how does coding contribute; how to think about data and where to find it.

She also talked about advanced techniques – pivot tables, practicing visualisations – and dedicated a full session to giving journalists the opportunity to try out these methods on their stories, with her mentorship and guidance.

Thompson also covered basic OSINT concepts and advanced techniques, also dedicating a full session to letting participants practice the skills they learned on the stories they are working on as part of the project.

In a separate session with regional editors, the participants discussed the progress of their cross-border and cross-regional projects, and were asked about the challenges and obstacles they came across while working on their joint projects.

Apart from the sessions, participants spent the afternoon at the luxury Porto Montenegro complex in the town of Tivat with Sinisa Lukovic, a prominent Montenegrin journalist.

Lukovic walked them through the complex and explained the origins of the investment and its positive and negative effects on Tivat and Montenegro in general.

The workshop is part of the project ‘Spheres of Influence Uncovered’, which is jointly being implemented by BIRN, German NGO n-ost, Uzbek media outlet Anhor and Georgia’s JAMNews.

‘Spheres of Influence Uncovered’ aims to contribute to a better understanding of the roles that three key international players – the EU, Russia and China – have on the seven project countries’ economies.

During the project, the participating journalists will map the economic activities of these three players and identify the main challenges and consequences for their countries. This project is partly a follow-up to BIRN’s previous work in the sphere of foreign economic activities, explored in its interactive map of China’s activities in the Balkans.

So far, the Balkan participants have produced three country-based stories – about the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Macedonian agriculture, about the Macedonian automobile industry being boosted by investments, and about Serbian companies and individuals blacklisted by the US continuing to win public tenders. More will be published by the end of the year.



SEE Digital Rights Network Members from Kosovo, Croatia, and Greece Meet Online

BIRN gathered SEE Digital Rights Network members from Kosovo, Greece, and Croatia to share their most recent digital rights-related projects and initiatives and talk about the future work of the SEE Digital Rights Network.


The meeting was held online on September 4, 2023, and was attended by representatives of seven organisations who shared recent experiences working in the digital rights field and showcased their plans. Representatives opened the dialogue to underline recent shared successes through the work with other SEE Digital Rights Network members, testifying about the Network’s collaborative and supportive spirit.

SCiDEV, actively working in Albania and the region, is currently working on its youth-oriented digital rights ERASMUS+ funded project by developing capacity-building programs tailored for the young from rural areas and disadvantaged groups. The project is implemented by SCiDEV and four other regional and EU-based organisations.

The organisation has its sights set on the future, hinting at upcoming collaborations with regional counterparts. While they praised the Network’s strides, they also called for enhanced communication via modern tools like Slack and a strengthened group identity.

The IPKO Foundation from Kosovo said it is excited about shaping the future of tech through its yearly event, DOKU.TECH, and empowering women and girls in the cyber world with their initiative, “Reshaping the Future”. Their ideas highlight the importance of regional meetings for generating new project ideas.

Levizja FOL, with its support for amplifying citizens’ representation in public discourse, shared insights from their recent dive into Kosovo’s cybersecurity and cybercrime landscape. They said that they focus not just on research but also advocate for tangible change, especially regarding anti-corruption measures and legal frameworks.

While YIHR Kosovo takes a broader view in its critical work in the human rights field, its partnership with the SHARE Foundation, which, together with BIRN, co-founded the SEE Digital Rights Network, has concentrated on strengthening the capabilities of activists in the digital age.

Politiscope from Croatia focused on privacy concerns, with an emphasis on protecting the nation’s youth. Its projects are charting new territories, especially in AI’s application in Croatia and Serbia. As newcomers to the Network, they’re open to mentorship and eager to share successful methodologies with fellow Network members.

Greece’s HOMO Digitalis spoke about their mission to shield digital rights. Through cooperation with EDRi and their diverse campaigns, HOMO Digitalis’ work encompasses advocacy, litigation and education in protecting digital human rights. In a spirit of unity, they proposed a shared map of all Network activities and the pooling of member publications.

Lastly, the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies, KCSS, shed light on its Emerging Threats Program, designed to demystify and tackle modern security enigmas. Their recent focus has been on the cybersecurity needs of Kosovo NGOs and fostering a cyber-aware environment for marginalized communities.

As the meeting concluded, the members committed to navigating the digital challenges together. The meeting ended with an announcement of the next gathering in December 2023, which will mark the first regional meeting of the SEE Digital Rights Network.

BIRN BiH Launches Video Campaign about Missing Persons

Marking International Day of the Disappeared, BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina has launched a campaign to help raise awareness of the pain of family members of those who disappeared during and after the war.

by Dzana Brkanic

By August 28, ten videos of family members of the disappeared from across Bosnia and Herzegovina – saying who they are searching for and sharing memories of that person, with a plea for help in finding the person – will be posted on BIRN BiH’s social media.

All of them share a joint pain and hope that they will one day find the remains of their loved ones before they die.

“Considering that we have reported on war crimes and on missing persons in BiH for nearly two decades, we are well acquainted with what the families are going through. Unfortunately, we have fewer and fewer interlocutors, because families are disappearing naturally.

“This campaign is our way to be their voice, with a hope that someone who sees these videos will help them, that someone will grow a conscience and reveal where the bodies were buried,” said Denis Dzidic, executive director of BIRN BiH.

He explained that, at the end of each video, there is information on how to report locations of individual or mass graves to the Missing Persons Institute of BiH anonymously.

Within BIRN BiH’s campaign, called “I am still searching for…”, members of families of the missing have shared their own findings about their loved ones’ fates.

Some went missing in the area of Sarajevo and its surroundings, others in Mostar, Bugojno, Zvornik and other places in Bosnia. BIRN BiH spoke to fathers, mothers, sisters and children of the missing, and many of them described their love for, and memories of, their loved ones.

All of them asked for help, highlighting that many members of their families did not live to bury their loved ones. Many of them would give everything and pay for the information, they said in the filming.

Around 30,000 people went missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-5 war and the search for more than 7,000 of them is still ongoing.

The International Day of the Disappeared is marked each August 30, as a day of remembrance of and tribute to people across the globe, who went missing in armed conflicts, crimes against humanity or as a result of violations of basic human rights.

The campaign is being implemented with the support of the Global Initiative for Justice, Truth and Reconciliation consortium.


BIRN Summer School Ends in Greece

On the last two days of BIRN’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting, participants learned about investigating migration, were introduced to data journalism and pitched their story ideas.

Sessions on investigating human rights abuses kicked off the fifth day of BIRN’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Alison Killing, founder of Killing Architects, spoke about how they used advanced visual investigation techniques to uncover the tragic events that led to the deaths of 23 people and the disappearance of 77 others at the border post in Melilla, Spain, in June last year.

Killing also presented their investigation into the network of camps built by the Chinese government in Xinjiang for the mass detention of Muslims. Journalists couldn’t work effectively in Xianjing, so they used satellite imagery.

“When we started, we thought we might find 500,000 blanked-out map tiles on the Chinese Baidu Maps. We found 5 million,” Killing said. The question was how this information could meet journalistic standards.

Participants were introduced to data journalism, a discipline based on data analysis that helps tell stories that happen systematically. Editor-in-Chief of Correctiv Olaya Argüeso Perez presented examples of data-based stories and then guided journalists through some exercises.

Friday concluded with a panel discussion on investigating the crisis over migration policy in Greece.

Apostolos Fotiadis and Stavros Maluchidis, from the Greek independent media outlet “We Are Solomon”, discussed the challenges of reporting on migration.

“The Greek public broadcaster calls migrants ‘illegal’. This should not be the case. We, journalists, need to work better and think about the language we use,” Maluchidis said.

The Head of the Migration Policy Europe Programme at the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Neda Noraie-Kia, agreed.

“Mainstream media play a crucial role in informing the public about migrants and assessing what is happening with them. Policies go hand in hand with the language used. With this kind of language, they are already suggesting that something illegal is happening,” Noraie-Kia said.

“Traditional reporting is dead. To make it work, we need to combine different techniques, such as OSINT when reporting on migration,” Maluchidis added.

Apostolos Fotiadis talked about the responsibility of journalists when covering the war in Ukraine.

“We need to go beyond the agenda of Brussels and governments. We should also talk about arms trade and export that fuels wars and displacement,” he said.

The one-week training programme ended on Saturday with the participants presenting their investigative story proposals to BIRN editors.

Journalists pitched more than 15 ideas, mostly cross-border. Proposed stories deal with migration, healthcare, human rights and corruption, to name a few.

BIRN editors will select the best pitches. Selected journalists will receive funding, editorial support and mentoring from BIRN.



Call for Media from Western Balkans to Host Editors and Journalists from Across the Region 

One-month Regional Exchange Progrmme

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) invites media from six Western Balkans countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) to become host media in the One-Month Regional Exchange Programme during 2023 and/or 2024. This programme is a unique opportunity that will allow both parties to share their expertise in investigative news production and foster knowledge exchange.


The One-Month Regional Exchange Programme is a capacity-building opportunity for media, editors and journalists from the Western Balkans. The aim is to facilitate a quality news and investigative production environment, by enabling both parties to engage in knowledge exchange, comprehensive mentoring and cross-border approaches.

BIRN and the hosting media will develop exchange programmmes for 2023 and 2024, addressing the needs and expectations of both hosting media and editors/ journalists. The programme will serve as a guideline for the whole exchange and will result in the production of cross-border stories, enhancing both short-term and long-term regional collaboration between the host media and the participating editors/ journalists, enabling them to investigate stories with effects that surpass national borders.


The exchange programme is designed for both media and editors / journalists from the Western Balkans. This programme will create opportunities for the host media to share their knowledge with colleagues from other media and Western Balkan region. On the other side, it will enable the editors / journalists to spend one month immersed in a host media from another country while at the same time working together.

Both the host media and the editors / journalists will be selected through an open call, in accordance with the selection criteria. The editors / journalists will be given an opportunity to select host media in a different from their home country.


Within this call, BIRN is looking for hosting media from Western Balkan countries that will:

  • Collaborate with BIRN to develop the exchange programmme for 2023 and 2024, addressing the needs and expectations of both hosting media and editors/ journalists. The programme will result in the production of cross-border stories, enhancing both short-term and long-term regional collaboration between the host media and participating editors/ journalists, enabling them to investigate stories with effects that surpass national borders.
  • Host editors / journalist through the one-month exchange programmes during 2023 and 2024. One media can host up to two journalists.
  • Provide the participating editors and journalists with an opportunity to exchange experiences with more senior colleagues from the host media and gain insider knowledge on different editorial policies and journalistic techniques, which can be replicated in the newsroom back home.
  • Guide participating editors and journalists to work on the production of cross-border in-depth stories.
  • Ensure production and publication of at least two (2) cross-border in-depth stories per participant.


  • Gain fresh insights and inputs from participants working in diverse settings and potentially different countries.
  • Collaborate with participants on in-depth stories that can be published by both the host media and the participants’ own media houses.
  • Engage in knowledge-sharing and experience exchange with all participants, promoting cross-border collaboration on journalistic projects.
  • Receive a monthly fee of 500 euros separately for each participant. One media can host up to two journalists within the two years. The participants will be provided with a fellowship that will cover accommodation, travel and a bursary.
  • Coordinate the time for the exchange programme (during 2023 and 2024), subject to mutual agreement between BIRN, media and the participants.
  • One host media can host an editor / journalists both in 2023 and 2024.


Media outlets registered in any of the six (6) Western Balkan countries are invited to apply to this call.

Hosting media will be selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Interest, motivation, commitment and capacities to host journalists / editors as part of the regional exchange programme.
  2. Mutual thematic alignment between hosting media and the preferences of editors/journalists for cross-border investigations. Editors/journalists will have the opportunity to choose from a curated list of hosting media outlets that align with their interests. 


 Please share your interest to be a host media by filling in the application form latest by September 29.

If you have questions about the programme and the call, please contact Marija Vasilevska at

This call is part of the project “Strengthening Quality Journalism in Western Balkans and Türkiye II”.



BIRN Summer School Day 4: Podcasts and Cross-Border Journalism

On the fourth day of BIRN’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting, participants learned about investigative podcasts and cross-border journalism.

On Thursday, sessions on investigative podcasts started the fourth day of the BIRN’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Michael Montgomery, a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, talked about the fundamentals of investigative podcasts. Podcasts are getting more popular every year, with more than half lasting over 30 minutes.

Podcasts are visually powerful forms of audio that tell big, sometimes emotionally complex stories and offer clarity in chaos. “For many podcasts, the central framing device is a question,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery talked about the old dramatic principle, the three-act story structure that divides a story into setup, confrontation and resolution.

“The work we do with podcasts is very emotional. It’s very important to master the three-act story structure if you want to do investigative podcasts,” he advised.

Taja Topolovec, Co-Founder and CEO of, said that a podcast is much more intimate than just reading an article. “It’s like someone talking directly into your ear. People are waiting for the next episode to come out,” Topolovec said.

“For us, podcasting was a way to connect more with an international audience, to get more international context. In the last few years, podcasting has become a very important product,” the Slovenian podcaster said.

Sandrine Rigaud, editor of Forbidden Stories, spoke about the four essential characteristics of cross-border journalism. Journalists from different countries decide on an idea of mutual interest, gather and share material, and then publish the story for their audience.

“The challenges include cultural differences, different practices and standards, the timing of publication, and allocation of time resources,” Rigaud told the participants.

“Sharing is one of the golden rules of collaboration. We share findings, interview notes, documents, and plans so we do not duplicate. We don’t have to share the identity of confidential sources, but we share quotes, off-the-record information,” the French journalist said.

The Summer School continues on Friday with investigating migration and human rights abuses and an introduction to data journalism.


BIRN Summer School Day 3: Digital Security and Mental Health

On the third day of BIRN’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting, participants learned about the importance of digital security and mental health.

On Wednesday, sessions on digital security kicked off the third day of the BIRN’s Summer School of Investigative Reporting in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Milica Stojanovic, BIRN journalist and digital security trainer, explained the importance of cyber security. “You are responsible for yourself, your colleagues and your sources,” she told the participants.

“Digital security is a habit, like locking the door when you leave home,” Stojanovic said. She walked participants through the most secure applications and offered tips on setting the best passwords.

“Passwords must be at least 16 characters long and must be changed every six months. Have a different password for each account,” Stojanovic advised.

Co-founder of The Self-Investigation Mar Cabra spoke about mental health and the problem of burnout. “I believe the journalism industry is broken. We need to make it healthier,” Cabra said.

Last year, 60 per cent of journalists worldwide reported high levels of anxiety, and one in five showed signs of depression, according to reports.

“Never fail to ask yourself how you are doing,” Cabra advised. She explained that ignoring our body’s signals, doing work not aligned with our values, and lacking hobbies can all lead to burnout.

The Summer School continues on Thursday with an introduction to investigative podcasts and cross-border journalism.