Journalists selected to participate in BIRN’s digital rights reporting training in Sarajevo, Bosnia, from September 26 to 28, came from various backgrounds.
The topics ranged from digital rights and their impact on journalism to multimedia storytelling using contemporary tools, employing the power of open-source intelligence, OSINT, in journalism, techniques, best practices in data journalism, fact-checking and verification techniques for digital rights reporting, among others.
Two journalists from Kosovo were unable to join the group due to clashes in the north of Kosovo but will be trained online.
The trainees singled out sessions on how to stay safe online when reporting on digital rights violations and fact-checking and verification techniques for digital rights reporting as particularly useful in their future work.
BIRN’s training program gave the participants a comprehensive understanding of the relevant issues around digital rights reporting, and allowed them to pitch story ideas during the workshop session on the last day of the training.
As a result, ten digital rights-related stories by trainees will be produced in collaboration with Balkan Insight’s editors, who will serve as their mentors. The trainees will also receive a stipend for their work on the stories. Upon editorial approval, these will be published by Balkan Insight in the coming months.
As part of the program, participants also visited BIRN’s exhibition in the Historical Museum in Sarajevo based on the recent project “Surveillance States”, which gave them insights into the experiences of journalists targeted by state-sponsored surveillance.
Journalists are key in raising public awareness and driving change in digital rights reporting. This training gave journalists the skills and knowledge they need to produce impactful stories to contribute to a more informed public debate and so protect and promote digital rights in the Balkans.
Numerous reports from international rights and media, civil society, international organisations, and BIRN’s own annual digital rights violations reports, indicate a worrying situation regarding digital rights in the Balkans.
The reports emphasize the need for continuous efforts to enhance the protection and promotion of these rights by improving journalists’ abilities to produce quality reporting on these issues.
Training in digital rights reporting in Sarajevo is part of BIRN’s attempts to educate, inform, and empower journalists interested in reporting on digital rights in the region.
The training was made possible through the support of the United Nations Democracy Fund.