BIRN Albania Holds Training Course on Environmental Journalism

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania held a training course on environmental reporting on June 5 in the city of Elbasan.

The course was part of a project entitled Building Resilience through Environmental Journalism, which is being co-financed by the Democracy Commission Small Grants Programme of the US Embassy in Tirana, and implemented by BIRN in cooperation with local journalists.

Eighteen local journalists and correspondents for national media from the Elbasan region and the city of Pogradec participated in the training course, which was led by environmental expert Ahmet Mehmeti and BIRN Albania editor Aleksandra Bogdani.

Mehmeti, who is the executive director of the Elbasan Ecological Club, a local environmental organisation, presented the main environmental challenges facing Albania, focusing on the consequences of climate change in the country, pollution caused by heavy industry as well as problems with the management and treatment of urban waste.

He also gave some practical advice on how journalists can approach environmental issues in cooperation with environmental activists and organisations.

Bogdani introduced techniques of reporting on environmental crimes as well as looking at the crucial role that local journalists have in covering these issues.

Bogdani also explained through practical examples how local journalists can amplify the impact of their stories through cooperation with each other and with civil society organisations.

 

Digital Rights Training for Albanian Journalists: Applications Open

BIRN invites Albanian journalists to apply for a three-day training program designed to address rising concerns over digital rights and freedoms violations in the Balkans. The event, to be held in Durres, Albania, from June 15 to June 17, 2023, will provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of digital rights, focusing on reporting breaches, content blocking, manipulations, and propaganda in the digital realm.

With technology evolving rapidly, it’s essential for journalists to stay up-to-date on the latest methods and strategies to uncover and appropriately report on digital rights violations. To tackle these challenges, BIRN Albania is organizing a three-day training that will focus on the theoretical and practical framework necessary to understand digital rights and how to report on breaches, blocking and filtering content, manipulations, and propaganda in the digital environment.

Frequent cyberattacks and online harassment also threaten the safety and security of many, including journalists, who are often targets of online attacks. Still, many journalists from the region may not be fully aware of the extent of digital rights violations or the underlying legal and technological aspects that lead to these kinds of violations.

BIRN’s training will provide ten selected journalists from Albania with a comprehensive understanding of the issues at stake, helping them to identify and report on digital rights violations more effectively. Journalists play a crucial role in raising public awareness and driving change, and by equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge, this training will enable them to produce impactful stories that can contribute to a more informed public debate and eventually lead to policy changes that protect and promote digital rights in the Balkans.

Who can apply?

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania (BIRN Albania) invites journalists from Albania to apply for a three-day training on reporting digital rights violations.

How to apply?

To apply, interested journalists should demonstrate an interest in digital rights and possess previous journalism experience. To apply, submit the following application form along with your CV to office.albania@birn.eu.com no later than June 9, 2023, by 5 pm CET, with the subject line: Digital Rights Reporting Training for Journalists Albania.

Where?

The training will take place in Durres, Albania, from June 15 to June 17, 2023. The organizers will fully cover travel and accommodation costs for selected participants. The working language of the training is Albanian and English.

What to expect?

The training will provide selected journalists with essential skills and knowledge to effectively investigate and report on digital rights violations in an ever-changing technological landscape. The training will cover various aspects of digital rights reporting, including identifying and collecting digital rights violations, categorizing these violations, and reporting on individual cases and broader trends.

The program will also focus on multimedia, contemporary tools, and modern journalistic approaches, such as open-source investigations, data journalism, fact-checking, and cross-border collaborations. The training in Durres will offer valuable educational insights and provide the opportunity to connect with fellow journalists and experts working in the digital rights field.

Upon completion of the training, journalists will have the opportunity to pitch their story ideas to BIRN. Selected journalists will receive on-the-job mentoring and financial support to research and apply their newly acquired skills to implement their ideas on cases involving breaches, content blocking, filtering, manipulations, and propaganda in the digital environment.

Long story short

DEADLINE: Submit the application form along with your CV to office.albania@birn.eu.com no later than June 9, 2023, by 5 pm CET, with the subject line: Digital Rights Reporting Training for Journalists Albania.

DATES OF TRAINING: June 15, June 16, and June 17, 2023

LOCATION: Durres, Albania

 

 

BIRN Albania Holds Training on Illicit Financial Flows

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania on May 25 in Tirana held a training on illicit financial flows.

Training was delivered by BIRN Albania editors Besar Likmeta and Vladimir Karaj at the Department of Journalism at the University of Tirana.

Fifteen young and mid-career journalists were present. The editors introduced the participants to the basics of money laundering techniques and how investigative journalists investigate them.

The themes covered included investigating offshore dealings and links to tax havens, beneficial ownership, investigating public procurement contracts, tax evasion, money laundering through real estate, trade-based money laundering, identifying assets and scrutinizing authorities’ actions to prevent illegal money flows, as well as tracking cross-border criminal activities.

The training was held as part of the project “Uncovering Illicit Financial Flows in the Western Balkans”, financed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ.

The overall goal of this project is to contribute to raising public awareness about illicit financial flows and provide a basis for decision and opinion makers to boost efforts to combat illicit financial flow.

It aims to increase the pool of journalists in Western Balkan countries equipped with tools and techniques in uncovering illicit financial flows, especially across borders.

 

 

BIRN Albania Opens Call for Investigations on Public Administration and its Finances

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania launched a call for investigative stories on May 4, offering grants for four journalists to produce articles on topics related to public administration and finances.

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 this 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 April 26 in Tirana.  The workshop was attended by two dozen civil society activists and journalists, who debated important topics that should be investigated in the field of public administration and public finances.

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 May 25.

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 Public Administration and Its Finances

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania on April 26 in Tirana held a roundtable between journalists and civil society organisations to discuss topics to investigate in the field of public administration and finances.

The roundtable was moderated by economic expert Zef Preci, head of the Tirana-based Center for Economic Research, and 25 journalists and civil society activists took part.

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

The findings will guide the main areas of BIRN Albania’s upcoming open call for three journalists to produce investigative articles on the public administration and its finances.

During the roundtable, the participants discussed the following themes and topics: public administration reform; local and central government procurement procedures; the efficacy of public private partnership contracts; employment in public companies and redundancies in the utility sectors; the recommendations and oversight of the public administration by the High State Auditing Office; the digitalization of services and the number of employees in the public administration; conflicts of interests and lack of internal democracy in academia and public universities; the lack of digitalization of universities; and procurement standards for school buildings, among others.

This activity was organized as part of the project Using Big Data and Multimedia to Boost Quality and Independent Journalism in Albania, financed by the European Union and implemented by BIRN Albania.

 

 

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.