Communications Manager

Rare and sought-after opportunity to join BIRN as our newest Communications Manager, who will lead the organisation’s digital media department in communications, multimedia, digital and public engagement to generate the maximum impact of the organisation’s outputs.

Regional BIRN Hub, based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is looking for a dynamic individual with a strong record in journalism, media and communications, who also has an extensive understanding of the current affairs and media scene in the Central and Southeast Europe. The position holder will work closely with the programme and editorial team to ensure its content reaches target audiences, effectively communicate BIRN’s mission and presents its outputs in a compelling and engaging way.

Location: Central and Southeast Europe

Job Function: Communications Manager

Experience Level: Five years

Working Languages: English

Application Deadline: November 20th, 2020

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

Major duties and responsibilities:

  • Formulate and lead BIRN’s communication strategy for maximising the impact of the organisation’s work
  • Prioritise among the growing number of platforms strategies for reaching key audiences, keeping in mind the widely varying media consumption habits of different countries and regions, and staying abreast of new media developments and technologies
  • Develop and implement communications strategies & work-plans, campaigns, events and other initiatives
  • Plan and manage visibility and social media promotion for BIRN’s programmes and projects
  • Execute simultaneous projects with tight deadlines and see them through from concept to completion
  • Ensure our brand principles and standards are maintained across all platforms
  • Provides monthly, yearly and ad hoc digital and social media reports for both internal and external use
  • Provide updates and reviews to BIRN Hub management on the status of digital and social media activities and campaigns
  • Conduct regular analyses of digital media engagement and effectiveness of campaigns
  • Participate in the creation of training materials and guidelines, as necessary
  • Defend the organisation against threats to its reputation, proactively identifying threats and reactively managing incoming issues and concerns
  • Developing new ideas and topics, contributing to Balkan Insight editorial output and other BIRN publications.

Required profile:

  • Degree in communications, social science, or related area
  • 5+ years of experience in journalism, media and communications
  • Familiarity with digital content production and ability to meet tight deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills, including social media and multimedia, plus strong interpersonal skills
  • Excellent attention to detail and the ability to rigorously enforce style expectations
  • Demonstrated experience in the development of external communications, content and campaigns designed to inform opinions and influence outcomes
  • Understands analytics and digital readership to help curate BIRN’s social media and other digital presence
  • Strong network of external relationships, especially within the media industry
  • Has a solid understanding of media laws
  • Has a profound understanding of the Central and Southeast Europe
  • Excellent computer skills, and experience of working with multimedia tools
  • Fluent in English


Please submit a detailed CV, a letter of motivation (no more than 1 page), proof for all stated skills and a list of three professional references by e-mail to Nikola Čače,, no later than November 20th 2020. Only the shortlisted candidates will be informed on the results of the vacancy and invited to the interview. The selected candidate should start work as soon as possible.

Balkan Insight is published by the Sarajevo-based regional hub of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN). Balkan Insight is a network of correspondents based in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine., one of 15 sites in different languages that BIRN runs, is read in more than 200 countries worldwide.

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

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

‘Lawsuit Filed Against BIRN Serbia’ over Fake Medical Record Story

A law firm from Novi Sad has reportedly filed criminal charges against BIRN Serbia journalists Natalija Jovanovic and Jelena Veljkovic and editor Milorad Ivanovic for allegedly making public confidential business information and recording a conversation with a lawyer from the firm, Nemanja Aleksic, without authorisation.

The reported lawsuit comes in response to an article that BIRN Serbia published about a falsified medical document, based on official documents obtained through procedures set out by the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance.

Aleksic has reportedly pressed charges against BIRN and after initially making accusations and voicing insults during a conversation with a BIRN journalist.

On June 5, BIRN Serbia revealed that in December 2011, doctor Zoran Gojkovic, the Provincial Secretary for Healthcare and an orthopaedic specialist at the Clinical Centre of Vojvodina, compiled a medical report on an examination that he did not perform, identifying injuries that were never sustained, from a person who had never been to his office.

According to BIRN’s findings, he also authenticated the report using the official stamp of a fellow orthopaedic specialist, without his knowledge, and forged the colleague’s signature.

Documents obtained by BIRN show that Gojkovic handed over the false medical report to his friend, Novi Sad-based lawyer Nemanja Aleksic, who used it in a civil procedure at the Basic Court in Novi Sad and thus directly influenced the outcome of the legal procedure.

BIRN Serbia has no detailed information about the charge against it, which has reportedly been filed to the Special Prosecution Office for High-Tech Crime.

BIRN Serbia found out about the lawsuit via a report published by news agency Tanjug.

According to Tanjug, lawyer Aleksic stated that BIRN Serbia’s editor and journalists were spreading misinformation and fake news, causing panic among his law office’s employees, associates and clients, and damaging the office’s reputation.

BIRN Serbia regards the lawsuit and the claims in the Tanjug report to be unacceptable pressure on its work and editorial policy.

BIRN Supports Production of TV Reports by Public Broadcasters

Six stories by public broadcasters from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, RTS and BHRT, produced with the support of BIRN Hub during a trip to Denmark that was organised in April, have been aired during April and May.

The topics, some of which stirred up public discussion, included one about reproductive cell banks in Denmark and how women from the Balkans use them (RTS story, BHRT story).

Other stories included one about how Denmark works on further improving its environmental situation and how some of these solutions could be applied in the Balkans (RTS story, BHRT story), and another about the Balkan diaspora in Denmark.

The story looked at why people left the Balkans, and what kind of benefits they obtained and what obstacles they encountered (BHRT story), while another story examined the state of workers’ rights in Denmark (BHRT story).

The stories are part of a project entitled Technical Assistance to Public Service Media in the Western Balkans, supported by the EU, which was implemented in six countries with the participation of seven public broadcasters from the region.

During their five days in Denmark, crews from RTS and BHRT had around 20 meetings with representatives of the Danish government, the Ministry of Environment and Food, the city authorities in Copenhagen, public and private enterprises working in the sphere of environmental protection, experts in the fields covered by the stories, and other journalists.

One journalist from each TV newsroom was deployed and one camera operator from BHRT, who was responsible for filming material for both TV stations.

This was one of the rare examples of the two broadcasters working together in such a way.

Several other TV stories are being prepared by Albanian, Kosovo and Macedonian public broadcasters with BIRN Hub support and should be finished in autumn 2019.

Additional funding for producing the TV stories was provided by BIRN through an EU-funded project entitled Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

BIRN and SHARE Launch Project on Digital Freedom Violations

BIRN Hub in partnership with SHARE Foundation, supported by Civitates, have launched a project called ‘Mapping Digital Freedom Violations’ which will run from June 2019 until November 2020 and monitor digital threats and trends in their occurrence, raise awareness about violations of digital freedom, and issue policy recommendations.

The main goal of the project is to determine who are the main players involved in disinformation and propaganda in the south-east and central Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia) through establishment of the Digital Monitoring database, continuous monitoring of digital threats, and reporting on digital freedom violations.

The project entails training for digital monitors, the design and launch of the Digital Monitoring database using the already existing experience of SHARE Foundation, the publishing of a cross-regional report and five regional investigations, plus stakeholder meetings and a final conference to promote the cross-regional report.

The project will set guidelines for carrying out the monitoring of digital rights and freedoms.

These standardised rules for categorising cases of violations of digital rights and freedoms can be adapted and applied to any country and used to emphasise the importance of the use of technology to highlight social issues, especially in countries and regions without good human rights records.

Previous monitoring has shown that the primary problems are technical attacks on online content, disabling access to content and the endangerment of information security.

BIRN Kosovo Holds a Debate with Law Students at Gjilan Basic Court

On November 24, 2017, BIRN Kosovo held another debate within the “Promoting Transparency in Kosovo’s Judicial System” project, supported by USAID’s Justice System Strengthening Program, JSSP, at the Gjilan Basic Court.

During the discussion, moderated by BIRN Kosovo’s Chief Editor Kreshnik Gashi, the panelists provided lectures to law students on attending court hearings and accessing court record information. The panelists also briefed the students on the rules and regulations regarding photographing, broadcasting, and recording within a court hearing; moreover, they specifically mentioned that such actions may be fully permitted in a manner that ensures that the fairness and dignity of the proceedings are not adversely affected.

Additionally, panelists and students discussed public participation within court proceedings related to divorce, child custody, property disputes, inheritance, labor disputes, and financial disputes. For instance, according to the panelists, if a case involves certain claims of physical or sexual abuse, the judge has the right to decide on making the case private. Additionally, judges have the authority to restrict public participation, if, for instance, confidentiality is deemed significant.

Nevertheless, public participation is allowed during a divorce trial, unless any particular reasons requiring confidentiality are outlined in advance. Last but not least, students learned that courts are also authorized to limit what may be reported in order to protect the welfare of families and children.

BIRN Kosovo, under the “Increasing Transparecy in Kosovo’s Judicial System” Project, supported by USAID’s JSSP, will continue to conduct debates of similar nature in the coming months.

Tourism Potential, Ruined by Waste and Unemployment

Dragash, also known as Sharri, is a municipality associated with natural beauty that could be used for mountainous tourism development. Thus far, the municipality has invested very little in this sector.

This municipality, with a budget worth 6.2 million euros, invests most of its budget on salaries, goods, and services, while only 1.3 million euros are allocated for capital investments.

In 2016, the municipality realized revenues generated worth 131 thousand euros, which is very low compared to other municipalities.

The first thing that catches your eye when you enter the municipality is the waste landfills close to rivers. An investigation by reveals that there is a severe environmental situation in the mountainous zone in Dragash, considering that both waste and sewage are actually poured into rivers.

Rivers that pass through the villages of Bellobrad, Rapçë, and Bresanë are transformed into waste deposits.

According to the residents of the abovementioned villages, some of the residents throw the waste themselves, and they call on the municipality to engage inspectors to punish irresponsible citizens.

In the village of Brezne, the sewage ends up in the middle of the village, in the private trash collectors built by the families themselves. Sewage is the main problem within the town, considering that during the rainy days, the sewage flows into the middle of the road.



Dragash has water supply issues, although the municipality has plenty of water resources across the Sharri Mountains. Most of the villages are equipped with a water supply network, but are supplied with water for only two to three hours during the day. Many villages do not even use the water for drinking due to its dirtiness, and are forced to get water from different resources.

The Auditor has revealed that only 78 per cent of the budget for capital investments is spent, considering that the project of the main Supplier, initially projected to be worth 500,000 euros, was not realized due to the Procurement Review Body’s complaints.



The municipality of Dragash is located at the border between the two Opoja and Gora villages. Different languages are spoken in these areas, as Opoja has an Albanian majority and Gora has a Gorani majority.

There are political and infrastructural issues in the education sector.

Based on’s investigation, there are schools within this municipality that use parallel curriculums.

Serbian parallel structures continue to be present within the Municipality of Dragash, where the lectures are delivered in Serbian, and in accordance with the Serbian government’s curriculum.

Additionally, in several villages, lessons are conducted up to the fifth year, and as such, students from their sixth year up to their ninth year are forced to walk up to six kilometers per day in order to attend classes in the closest school.

These problems were identified by in the villages of Zaplluxhë, Zym and Brezne, where children walk on roads with no sidewalks; these mountainous zones are even more dangerous due the presence of vehicles and stray dogs.

On the other hand, in Dragash, the students attend classes in the old Ruzhdi Berisha gymnasium, since the new school building is not functional, eight years after construction works began.

Infrastructure and urbanization


Road reparation in Dragash remains another issue of the municipality, considering that roads are not repaired in a timely manner. has reported on the pine trees planted by the residents in asphalt pits as a creative way to convey messages to the relevant authorities to close the dangerous pits.

Social health


The only gynecologist who was working in Dragash has now retired.

Meanwhile, this municipality has a high level of unemployment, and residents of the villages are leaving.

Out of 1,530 inhabitants, only 300 reside currently in the village of Rapçë, which has a Gorani majority. According to the residents, the village’s youth travelled to European Union countries to find jobs due the poverty within their hometown. In this village, there are also residents who live in severe living conditions.

The current mayor of the country is Selim Jonuzaj, from PDK, while mayoral candidates for the October 22 municipal elections are Admir Šola from Jedinstvena Goranska, Fatmir Halili from Nisma, Samidin Dauti from Vetevendosje, Selami Saiti from AAK, Šerif Aga from Koalicija Vakat, Selim Kryeziu from LDK, and Shaban Shabani from PDK.




Apart from not having communication officials, this municipality also has no women directors and no women mayoral candidates.

BIRN Consultancy: Cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

BIRN Consultancy has begun producing a new bi-monthly political, security and socio-economic review of regional developments in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. 

As part of its new partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung South East Europe, BIRN Consultancy will be producing the Political Trends and Dynamics Overview which will form a core part of FES SOE’s bi-monthly publication “Political Trends and Dynamics in South East Europe”.

The publication will provide an overview of current political, security, economic and societal developments in the wider region of South-East Europe, with a particular focus on how they could contribute to conflict.

The February/March issue of the publication in its new format can be accessed here: During the first month, the new issue was downloaded more than 3,000 times.

BIRN BiH Joins Visit to NATO Headquarters

Denis Dzidic, editor of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BIRN BiH, joined a visit by the International Republican Institute, IRI, to NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. 

He took part in a meeting titled: “Understanding and Preventing Violent Extremism and Foreign Influence,” which took place on April 20 and 21. 

At numerous other meetings, participants discussed a number of security topics, among which Communication Challenges in Euro-Atlantic Integration and Public Diplomacy Cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina were the most important for BIRN BiH. 

Dzidic also presented work that BIRN BiH has done on monitoring court proceedings for terrorism in Bosnia in relation to people who have gone to fight for ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Some of the findings related to research that BIRN BiH has done in relation to religious radicalization.


BIRN BiH Unveils Analysis on Justice Reform

BIRN in Bosnia and Herzegovina has published an analysis of the implementation of the State Strategy for Justice Reform between 2014 and 2018, which shows that serious delays have blighted the processes.

According to BIRN BiH’s analysis, delays marked the State Strategy for Justice reform from the start. The document was only adopted 20 months after the original deadline passed, in September 2015, under international pressure. 

The Action Plan to implement the Strategy was only adopted 17 months later, in February this year. Containing 40 pages and hundreds of measures, a handful have been fulfilled. 

“Successes have been marked in regard to the implementation of the law on free legal aid, and enhancement of the system for plea agreement,” BIRN BiH editor Erna Mackic said. 

“However, key issues such as the creation of a state-level Appeal Court and solving the laws on the Constitutional Court and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council have not been solved.” 

The analysis shows that the creation of the Appeals Court remains a stumbling block because representatives of the judiciary and political parties cannot agree on its proposed jurisdiction. 

Considering that this issue is currently in the EU-led Structured dialogue on justice, and that the issue of the Constitutional Court and the HJPC laws are likely to follow, the creation of the Appeals Court is causing delays in reforms, the analysis shows. 

“Lack of political will to reform the justice sector is visible through delays in the adoption of the Strategy and Action plan but also in the issue of the Appeals Court. It is important to add that many of the measures in the Strategy depend on financial support, which is currently not adequate,” BIRN BiH editor Denis Dzidic said. 

The analysis of the Strategy for Justice Reform between 2014 and 2018 was carried out with the support of the US embassy in Sarajevo and presented in the American Corner in Sarajevo, with officials from judicial institutions, domestic and international organizations and the media present.

BIRN Investigative Stories Win Two Awards

Two BIRN stories won this year’s Investigative awards from the Independent Journalistic Association of Serbia in the categories for print and on-line media.

“Secret of Vucic’s tavern” won the award in the print media category. BIRN Serbia journalist Jelena Veljkovic wrote on how Serbia’s Property Directorate claimed not to know that an exclusive restaurant had been opened in a part of the Belgrade Cooperative building, which the directorate had leased to the “Belgrade on water” company, refusing to answer whether it believed this use of public property was in accordance with the law.

A story by a group of journalists from BIRN and OCCRP, “Making a Killing: The 1.2 Billion Euro Arms Pipeline to Middle East”, meanwhile won the award in the online media category, along with a colleague from the Center for Investigative Journalism, CINS, whose story showed that the Governor of the National bank of Serbia plagiarized a significant part of her doctoral thesis.

The BIRN arms investigation revealed how thousands of assault rifles, mortar shells, rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons, and heavy machine guns have poured into the Middle East from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia. The same story is also among three finalists for the Czech Journalism Prize, the best-known Czech media award.

This year, 75 journalists applied for the award given by the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia, NUNS, and the US embassy in Serbia. The jury included Danica Vucenic, journalist from Insajder, Milorad Ivanovic, editor-in-chief of Newsweek Serbia, Predrag Blagojevic, editor-in-chief of online portal Juzne Vesti and Pedja Obradovic, producer at TV N1