BIRN Holds ‘Youth Memory Transfer’ Workshop in Tuzla and Srebrenica

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Ten participants from Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia attended BIRN’s three-day workshop on producing high-quality stories about the past that centre on war crime victims’ experiences.

The “Youth Memory Transfer” workshop held in Tuzla, Bosnia, from July 25-29 provided ten young people from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia with comprehensive training on fact checking, storytelling and transitional justice reporting.

The workshop started with talks given by Marija Ristic, BIRN’s Regional Director, and Lamija Grebo, BIRN journalist, who told the participants how to tell a story in compelling way while at the same time introducing them to the journalistic ethics and standards related to the reporting of war crimes, the culture of remembrance and other sensitive matters.

“Our focus was always to ensure impartial reporting about the past through professional journalism. With this programme, we want young people to hear firsthand experiences about the war past and learn different ways of storytelling with the aim of creating compelling content,” Ristic said.

“Through fact-based reporting and truth-seeking techniques, we are equipping young people with the skills to fight growing disinformation and revisionism in the region,” Ristic added.

On the first day, by applying what they had learned in the previous sessions, participants prepared their questions for interviews with war victims scheduled for the end of the workshop.

The day ended with a “memory walk” led by BIRN’s Programme Manager, Sofija Todorovic, which introduced participants to the facts about the Tuzlanska Kapija crime of May 25, 1995. Youth Memory Transfer participants visited the cemetery of the victims and the memorial site in the city centre of Tuzla, where the massacre took place.

On the second day of the workshop, participants worked with Ristic on ways to make their stories bulletproof. They also attended the screening of BIRN’s documentary The Unidentified.

Participants also visited the Srebrenica Memorial Center and the victims’ cemetery in Potocari. At the Memorial Center, they had a guided tour though the exhibitions and learned more about the 1995 Srebrenica genocide and its consequences.

The last day of the workshop was dedicated to interviews with the victims and survivors of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After two days of preparations, group assignments and lessons, the participants interviewed ten people who had survived wartime atrocities from the Tuzla and Podrinje area.

In the second phase of the “Youth Memory Transfer” Programme, participants will work on the production of video materials and, using the skills they have gained, will interview direct or indirect victims of the conflicts that followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

This workshop is part of the Balkan Transitional Justice programme that aims to broaden public understanding of transitional justice issues in the former Yugoslavia.

The workshop was held in line with the current coronavirus health regulations. BIRN and its partner(s) are supported by RYCO within the 4th Open Call for Project Proposals co-financed by the European Union.