BIRN Albania Holds Five Regional Roundtables on Environment

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania over the last four weeks held a series of regional roundtables for civil society activists and journalists in order to discuss and brainstorm its coverage of environmental issues.

The roundtables were part of the project: “Building Resilience through Environmental Journalism”, which is co-financed by the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program of the US Embassy in Tirana, and implemented by BIRN in cooperation with local journalists.

Five roundtables took place between November 24 and December 15 in Elbasan, Durres, Shkodra, Vlora and the Albanian capital Tirana. The roundtables, in which 70 civil society activists and journalists took part, aimed to introduce local actors to BIRN Albania’s project, which supports journalists to report on environmental issues.

The project aims to strengthen the cooperation between NGOs, activists and local journalists in Albania to research, monitor and publish in cooperation with media articles on environmental violations, with the aim of increasing awareness, public pressure and advocacy for the most efficient use of natural resources and sustainable development in the country

During the roundtables, BIRN Albania’s representatives gave a short overview of the project while inviting participants to debate possible topics for in-depth data-driven stories on the environment.

The activists and civil society representatives present at the meetings proposed important topics that journalists could and should investigate, while calling for more coverage of the causes they advocate for and their activities from the media.

Underlining the importance of close cooperation between civil society and media, journalists explained that the basic tenets of news value and editorial considerations often conditioned their coverage, urging civil society experts to speak with a louder voice on issues that are critical to the community.

Both parties recognized the need to strengthen cooperation between journalists and activists in the coverage of green issues in order to identify periodically the main problems in the field of the environment and the most efficient use of natural resources.

 

Bellingcat and BIRN Albania Hold Training on Far Right and OSINT

Two dozen journalists from national media in Albania participated on October 19 and 20 in a two-day training course on investigating far-right extremism and open search research methods.

The training was organized by the Bellingcat international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network BIRN in Albania.

The training in Tirana was delivered by Bellingcat journalist Michael Colborne and investigator and researcher Foeke Pastma.

Colborne leads Belllingcat’s project to research and monitor the far-right in Central and Eastern Europe. He shared with local journalists in Albania his experience on how to understand the far right in international and different domestic contexts and how to apply open source intelligence OSINT techniques in researching extremist groups.

Meanwhile, researcher Foeke Postma spoke on geolocation and open search techniques in the internet and how to set up passive research accounts on social networks.

Among the topics covered were also facial recognition and social media networks research, as well as archiving and digital footprint tracing.

BIRN Albania Holds Training on Data Journalism for Young Journalists

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania, BIRN Albania, on September 27-28 held a two-day training course on data-based journalism techniques and visualization for young journalists, strengthening their capacities in this field.

Sixteen young journalists and journalism students from the 12 regions of Albania took part in the BIRN training session in Tirana.

Training was offered by editor Lawrence Marzouk and investigative journalist Crina Boros, in cooperation with BIRN Albania staff. Marzouk and Boros are the two main authors of the manual “Getting Started in Data Journalism”.

Besides increasing the knowledge of the young journalists in data collection and how to use it in journalism, the course enhanced their skills in mapping, analyzing and visualizing their data, using tools and techniques.

The training was part of the project “Using Big Data and Multimedia to Boost Quality and Independent Journalism in Albania”, which is supported by the European Union and Swedish government and implemented by BIRN Albania.

The project aims to create an enabling environment for Albanian journalists to produce independent content through training, mentoring, technical and financial support, and close cooperation with civil society, so improving freedom of expression and strengthening media pluralism in Albania.

 

 

BIRN Albania Opens Call for Investigations on Healthcare

BIRN Albania launched a call for investigative stories on September 26, offering grants for three journalists to produce articles on the private and public health systems in Albania.

BIRN is offering grants for three journalists to cover stories on the healthcare system, as well as mentoring by experienced editors.

The call is part of the project ‘Promoting Accountability through Investigative Journalism’, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, NED.

This project aims to build bridges between journalists, experts and civil society activists so they can strengthen the fight against corruption and impunity through investigative journalism.

Three journalists will be awarded grants to cover their expenses while conducting investigations and writing stories on topics related to the private and public health systems in Albania.

The journalists will have around three months to dig deeper and research their ideas, and will also have the opportunity to work with experienced editors as mentors to guide them through the process of writing in accordance with BIRN standards.

The call only applies to journalists from Albania and closes on October 16.

Click here for more information (in Albanian) about the application procedure.

Click here to download the application form (in Albanian).

 

 

 

BIRN Albania Holds Roundtable on Healthcare

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania on September held a roundtable on the state of healthcare in the country.

Two dozen journalists, civil society activists and experts in the field healthcare held a roundtable on healthcare in Tirana on Thursday as part of the project: “Promoting Accountability through Investigative Journalism,” financed by the National Endowment for Democracy, NED.

This project aims to build bridges between journalists, experts and civil society activists, so that they can strengthen the fight against corruption and impunity through investigative journalism.

The aim of the roundtable was to identify important issues or problems that civil society believes should be investigated in the private and public health systems in Albania.

The findings of the roundtable will guide the main areas of BIRN Albania’s upcoming open call for three journalists to produce investigative articles on the healthcare system.

During the roundtable, the participants discussed the following themes and topics: the cost of treating patients suffering from diabetes and other chronic diseases; the lack of funding for medical equipment for diabetic patients; the treatment of diabetic foot problems and amputations; and the quality of drugs in Albania’s healthcare market and poor supply of costly drugs for serious diseases.

The lack of anesthesiology doctors hospitals, medical waste treatment and contracts as well as the cost and benefits of concessionary/PPP agreements in healthcare were also debated.

The participants also discussed palliative care in Albania, vaccinations and low compensation rates of COVID-19-related ambulatory costs for patients.

 

 

BIRN Albania Publishes Manual on Organised Crime, Money Laundering

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania has published a new manual on investigating organized crime and money laundering.

The manual was authored by Lawrence Marzouk, a journalist, editor and trainer with almost 20 years’ experience in investigative reporting.

The publication of the manual is part of the project ‘Raising Awareness and Accountability on Money-Laundering in Albania’, which is supported by the Netherlands.

The goal of the project is to strengthen the fight against organised crime and money-laundering by raising awareness and strengthening the accountability of the system for the seizure and confiscation of the illegal proceeds of crime.

To download a copy of the report in English, click here.

To download a copy of the report in Albanian, click here.

BIRN Albania Publishes Criminal Assets Database

BIRN Albania on June 30 published its comprehensive database on Albanian court verdicts and requests made by prosecutor’s offices from 2010 to 2021 for the confiscation of criminal assets.

The BIRN database contains more than 490 documents related to 435 criminal cases from 34 judicial institutions 22 judicial districts in Albania.

The documents were obtained by BIRN Albania over a period of a year through a lengthy process of Freedom of Information requests and appeals to the Commissioner for Freedom of Information and Data Protection.

The database was compiled as part of the project “Raising Awareness and Accountability on Money-Laundering in Albania”, which is supported by the government of The Netherlands.

The goal of the project is to strengthen the fight against organised crime and money-laundering by raising awareness and strengthening the accountability of the system for the seizure and confiscation of the illegal proceeds of crime.

The database is accessible online in Albanian and English at: asete.reporter.al

 

 

BIRN Albania Holds Training in Data Journalism

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania on July 4-5 held a two-day training in data journalism strengthening the capacities of local journalists to think critically.

Nineteen journalists and editors from the 12 regions of Albania participated in the BIRN training session held in Tirana.

The training was offered by British investigative editor Lawrence Marzouk and data journalist Crina Boros, co-authors of BIRN Albania’s guide Getting Started in Data Journalism.

The training strengthened the capacities of local journalists to think critically and provided them with skills in collecting and curating data in journalism.

The training also focused on familiarization with data visualization software as well as the adoption of basic skills in mapping, network analysis, and text analysis for visualizing their stories.

The training was held as part of the project “Using Big Data and Multimedia to Boost Quality and Independent Journalism in Albania”, a project supported by the European Union.

The goal of the project is to create an enabling environment for Albanian journalists to produce independent content through training, mentoring, technical and financial support, and close cooperation with civil society, so improving freedom of expression and strengthening media pluralism in Albania.

 

 

BIRN Albania Holds Two-Day Training on Organized Crime

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania held a two-day training on June 20-21 in Tirana on money laundering and organized crime reporting.

More than 20 crime beat and investigative journalists participated in the training session, which was led by British journalist and editor Lawrence Marzouk, the author of new guide published by BIRN: Investigating Organized Crime and Money Laundering in Albania.

During the training, BIRN Albania editor Besar Likmeta also presented the network’s latest database, which includes a complete catalogue of asset sequestration and confiscation orders issued by local courts in Albania over the past decade.

Meanwhile, legal expert Ardit Hysa gave journalists an overview of the legal framework on organized crime and money laundering in the country, discussing the provisions of the criminal code and the anti-mafia law.

The training was welcomed by the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Albania, Reinout Vos, who underlined the important role of the media in the fight against organized crime and money laundering.

“You have an important role in telling the difficult human stories that are behind the machinery of the criminal world, but also putting authorities up against their responsibility to take action,” Vos told the journalists.

The training is part of the project, Raising Awareness and Accountability on Money-Laundering in Albani’, which is supported by the Netherlands.

The goal of this project is to strengthen the fight against organised crime and money-laundering by raising awareness and strengthening the accountability of the system for the seizure and confiscation of the illegal proceeds of crime.

 

BIRN Albania Call for Investigations on Environmental Issues

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania launched a call for investigative stories on June 15, offering grants for four journalists to produce articles on topics related to environment.

The call is part of the project “Using Big Data and Multimedia to Boost Quality and Independent Journalism in Albania”, supported by the European Union.

The goal of the project is to create an enabling environment for Albanian journalists to produce independent content through training, mentoring, technical and financial support, and close cooperation with civil society, so improving freedom of expression and strengthening media pluralism in Albania.

The call is based on topics suggested by civil society activists and journalists during a joint workshop held on June 10 in Tirana.

The workshop was attended by two dozen civil society activists and journalists, who debated on important topics that should be investigated in the field of the environment as well as on the need to build stronger communication and cooperation between civil society organisations and journalists.

The journalists awarded through this call will have around three months to dig deeper and research their ideas and will also have the opportunity to work with experienced editors as mentors to guide them through the process of writing in accordance with BIRN standards.

The call only applies to journalists from Albania and closes on July 5.

Click here for more information (in Albanian) about the application procedure.

Click here to download the application form (in Albanian).