Solidifying the Resilience of Kosovo’s Current and Future Journalists

Posted on
Kosovo
January 2020 – December 2021

BIRN Kosovo

The project intends to restore trust in media and maintain news streams that provide objective, fact-checked and professional reporting by bringing together the wider community of journalists and media professionals, media outlets, civil society, young media talent and the public in order to increase awareness, recognition and support for professional journalism as a means of solidifying the foundations of a sustainable democracy in Kosovo.

Donor:

European Union Office in Kosovo

Summary:

The rapid growth of internet penetration in Kosovo has led to the establishment of many online media portals in recent years. While this presents a positive development in terms of media pluralism, the global proliferation of fake news online has taken its toll on the overall trust in the media. This applies in Kosovo too, having an impact on the local political life and social and personal lives of citizens as well. Apart from this, Kosovo politicians are found often to be sources and victims of fake news such as taking data out of context, or citing misinterpreted and incorrect information, which media routinely report without verifying.

In this regard, the project aims to bring a unique blend of experiences in leading successful reforms that foster watch-dog journalism, transparency, and accountability, rule of law, inclusivity, media excellence and innovation, values which remain at the core of Kosovo’s efforts to align with EU requirements. In this regard, the project partners aim to bring their tools and skills together to improve the quality of media content through the development of independent and professional journalism.

More specifically, the action aims to work with the public at large and teach the ways they can better detect and debunk misinformation throughout the media. The action will accomplish these initiatives and create synergies by tackling the issue of fake news and unverified reporting and by helping the journalists learning how to spot fake news and deliver verified information that adhere to journalistic standards. The action comes also in response to the need to restore the trust in media and maintain news streams that provide objective, fact-checked and professional reporting.

By exposing media that produce fake news, the expected outcome of the action is the improvement in the areas of media freedom, accuracy of information, quality programming, civil engagement, education and improved adherence with the Media Code of Conduct of the Press Council of Kosovo.

Thus, the project will contribute towards increasing the resilience of the media against external pressuring and bolstering the audience’s confidence towards media. Ensuring a strong emphasis on the media code of ethics, the project will also aim to create a media landscape that adheres to provisions and regulations, thus contributing to more professional journalism.

Main Objective:

The overall objective of the action is on the one hand to bring together the wider community of journalists and media professionals, media outlets, civil society, young media talent and on the other hand to increase the awareness, recognition and support of the public at large for professional journalism as a means of solidifying a sustainable democracy in Kosovo.

Specific Objectives:

Specific objective 1: Strengthen the capacities of media to conduct investigative journalism into the spending of public funds, monopolies in public contracts and corrupt practices in different institutions;

Specific objective 2: Promote fact-checking and document-based reporting standards with the aim of fighting breaches of the code of ethics in the media;

Specific objective 3: Promote human rights, inter-ethnic investigative teams and rule of law through meaningful and good quality programs, and

Specific objective 4: Engage young media talents in using creative filmmaking techniques leading to the creation of media content.

Main Activities:

  • Produce and broadcast in-depth investigative reports that will tackle a wide range of public interest issues such as: rule of law, accountability in the justice sector, mismanagement of public funds, local governance, labor law enforcement and organized crime;
  • Produce TV programs to discuss findings derived from the most challenging investigative reports produced as per Activity 1.1;

2.1 Launch an awareness raising campaign by producing Public Service Announcements on identifying and countering fake news;

2.2 Research, write, and publish forty (40) fact-checking analyses to identify fake news;

 2.3 Organize two-day intensive training workshops aimed at enhancing professional skills for early to mid-career journalists delivered by international experts to professional journalists as well as to students of journalism. The training will focus on tools to tackle disinformation, build fact-checking models for broadcasting and improve the work of multi-ethnic investigative teams of journalists;

3.1 Produce and broadcast TV programs promoting human rights, social issues, and the rule of law;

3.2 Produce documentaries about issues concerning minority communities in Kosovo;

3.3 Build capacities of Albanian journalists to report on topics in Northern Kosovo and Serb-majority areas by learning Serbian, and build capacities of Serbian journalists to be able to talk to sources in Albanian, by learning Albanian – an educational activity for media professionals that promote cultural diversity;

4.1 Organize filmmaking courses for youth in Kosovo who will produce video content that will be published on the new platform KallxoRinia;

4.2 Organize training sessions for high school students in a program that aims to nurture young media talents by mentoring them to produce about 50 videos and articles which push for solution driven journalism.

Target Groups:

  • Journalists and media outlets
  • Press Council of Kosovo
  • Youth, students and young entrepreneurs
  • Kosovo citizens
  • Marginalized groups
  • Members of the Independent Media Commission
  • Public institutions
  • Private sector

Main implementer:

BIRN Kosovo

Partners:

ÇOHU, International Press Institute – IPI, jCoders Academy, RTK, TV Mreža.