Open Calls for EU Investigative Journalism Award for 2021

Applications are now open for submission of investigative articles.

Investigative stories published from January 1 to December 31, 2020, and related to freedom of expression, rule of law, transparency, abuse of power and fundamental rights, corruption and organised crime are welcome to apply.

The award fund in each country in 2021 (for achievements in 2020) is 10,000 EUR. The first prize will be 5,000 EUR, the second 3,000 EUR, and the third will be 2,000 EUR.

Individuals or groups of journalists are eligible to apply in all journalism forms (print, online, radio and TV) published or broadcast in the media in each country in official, minority or international languages.

Articles eligible for submission must appear in print, online, radio and TV media outlets during the 2020 calendar year.

EU Investigative Journalism Awards in the Western Balkans and Turkey aim to celebrate and promote the outstanding achievements of investigative journalists as well as improve the visibility of quality journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

The awards are a continuation of the ongoing regional EU Investigative Journalism Award in the Western Balkans and Turkey and part of the ongoing project ‘Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey’, funded by the European Union.

The project partners involved all have extensive expertise in the field of media freedom and have been recognised locally and internationally as strong independent media organisations.

The jury for the EU Award comprises media experts, some of them from the project consortia. Others are drawn from the extensive network projects that the consortium members have, such as editors, members of academia and journalists with merits.

Please download individual packages below to find more information about the EU Award for Investigative Journalism in your respective country.

Download all necessary documents for North Macedonia (in Albanian and Macedonian)
Download all necessary documents for Montenegro
Download all necessary documents for Serbia
Download all necessary documents for Turkey
Download all necessary documents for Kosovo (in Albanian and Serbian)
Download all necessary documents for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Call for Applications for Training in Podcasting

Reporters, editors and producers from six Western Balkans countries are invited to apply for a training in investigative podcasts led by prominent international trainers who produce podcasts for the Reveal and Bellingcat investigative journalism websites.

Podcasts are transforming journalism around the globe and their popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. But in the Western Balkans’ media landscape, podcasts that combine the power of investigative journalism and narrative story-telling are still in their infancy. However, there is growing interest in this type of content that can attract a large and diverse audience via mobile devices.

If you are a journalist, editor or producer who wants to learn more about podcasting and are wondering how to turn an ambitious investigative project into a successful podcast, this four-day training will introduce you to the basic concepts and skills needed to adapt investigative stories into podcasts.

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, is organising a training on investigative podcasts for media representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, within the regional “Media for All” project. The workshop is being led by Michael Montgomery, senior producer at Reveal from the US-based Center for Investigative Reporting. Michael will be joined by Sean Glynn, CEO of Novel, one of the UK’s leading audio production companies, and Max O’Brien, Executive Producer of Novel’s The Bellingcat Podcast.

Following the workshop, the best proposals for new podcasts will receive a financial award to cover production costs and further mentoring support from Michael Montgomery and other producers and editors. In addition to covering story development and production, we will ensure that, at the end of the training you understand how to identify and connect with the target audience and the basic steps in marketing and distribution.

Our lead trainer Michael Montgomery is a dynamic, award-winning journalist with an accomplished career in radio/podcasts, television and print. His work has appeared in national and international outlets including Reveal, NPR, Frontline, the BBC and BIRN. He also has extensive experience in the Balkans: he covered the rise of Slobodan Milosevic, the fall of communism throughout the region and the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo for the UK’s prestigious Daily Telegraph.

Sean Glynn is a highly experienced series producer and executive producer whose work spans current affairs, arts, history and politics. Sean has produced stories and flagship factual series for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service.

Max O’Brien has overseen award-winning audio documentaries and previously produced BBC Radio 4’s popular long-running series Something Understood. Max has recorded everywhere from séance rooms and operating theatres during open heart surgery to the control room of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Who can apply?

Journalists, editors, producers who wish to learn about podcasting and develop skills that will enable them to create their own podcasts should apply.

All potential participants should apply using the information provided in the application form.

How to apply?

Applicants should complete and submit only one application that you can download below. All applications should be submitted in English to along with the applicant’s CV.

DATE OF TRAINING:  March 22-31, 2021 (Four day sessions in two weeks)


LANGUAGE: Working language of the training is English



DEADLINE: March 14, at midnight Central European Time





BIRN to Conclude Debates on Online Media Regulation

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network will host a group of journalists and editors from across the Balkan region in a live online debate on February 24 to discuss the issues of online media regulation while preserving freedom of speech and avoiding censorship.

The questions of self-regulation and regulation of online media are practical for every newsroom, however rarely they have time to constructively discuss these issues and approach potential solutions.

Media in the region face increasing pressures; not only do they no longer control the news cycle, but they are also often failing to deliver quality journalism under the pressure of speed, clicks and disinformation.

How do we arrive at the best solutions for regulation? How can the process ensure solidarity and include all professional media? What are the perils of self-regulation? Is there an option for government regulation that will not turn into censorship? These are some of the questions we aim to tackle during the debate.

The debate, “Online Media Regulation: Newsroom Perspective”, will feature journalists, editors and other media professionals who face different aspects of this problem daily. The debate moderated by Ana Petruseva, country director of BIRN North Macedonia, will be the final discussion in a series of conversations we held in recent months with representatives of regulatory and self-regulatory bodies, legal experts and academics.

Panellists taking part in the discussion include:

  • Alen Altoka, head of digital media at Oslobodjenje, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Flutura Kusari, legal advisor at the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, Kosovo
  • Geri Emiri, editor at Amfora, Albania
  • Goran Mihajlovski, editor-in-chief at Sakam da kazam, North Macedonia
  • Jelena Vasic, project manager at KRIK, Serbia
  • Srdan Kosovic, editor-in-chief at Vijesti, Montenegro

To join our third debate in a series of discussions on online media regulation with different stakeholders – organised as a part of the regional “Media for All” project – connect with us on ZOOM on Wednesday, February 24, at noon CET.

Save the date and register HERE.

Please read the privacy notice before registering.

Open Call for Digital Rights Programme for Journalists

Journalists from Central and Southeastern Europe are invited to apply for BIRN’s Digital Rights Programme for Journalists that aims to explore the effects of digitalisation processes and to go deeper into the challenges facing digital rights.

Through BIRN’s new “Digital Rights Programme for Journalists“ we are looking for journalists interested in fast-evolving digitalisation processes and their impact on democracy, society and lives in Central and Southeastern Europe, particularly the following:

  • The use of the algorithms
  • The forces fuelling hate speech and discrimination in the digital environment and
  • their implications
  • Digital security and phishing campaigns
  • Privacy and personal data breaches and (non)existing protection mechanisms
  • Surveillance policy and use of technology by authoritarian regimes
  • Accountability of the major Internet platforms and online safety of users
  • Information security breaches
  • Arrests for social media posts and pressure applied over online expression and
  • activities
  • Blocking and filtering of content
  • Holding intermediaries liable
  • Manipulation and propaganda in the digital environment
  • Machine learning algorithms and algorithmic decision-making processes
  • 5G technology in the region
  • Cryptocurrencies/blockchains in the world of financial crime
  • Social media bots and troll farms

We are offering a comprehensive, 10-month programme that includes: regular networking opportunities and meetings with actors and experts dealing with digital rights and emerging tech challenges, financial support, on-the-job mentoring and editorial sessions to produce high-quality journalism and educational sessions focused on digital security for media. The programme aims to cover under-reported topics related to the health of the digital ecosystem and digital rights violations in Central and Southeastern Europe.

If you already have a story on your mind but you lack resources and guidance, this is the programme for you.

Each journalist will receive a bursary of 2,000 euros to support their reporting.

In order to apply for the programme, use the application form attached below to send us a proposal for a regional investigative story.

As part of our Reporting Democracy platform, BIRN’s “Digital Rights Programme for Journalists” will enable media workers to cover under-reported topics relating to growing digital rights challenges in the region.  The stories produced will be published on BIRN’s flagship website Balkan Insight, and by prominent European, regional and international media outlets. The programme is supported by European Artificial Intelligence Fund and ERSTE Foundation.

The call is open until February 21, 2021.

Who can apply?

The programme is open to all journalists who believe they have a good story on an under-reported topic concerning the health of the digital ecosystem in Central and Southeastern Europe. We also welcome applications from staff reporters from local and national media who wish to co-publish the story with us.

BIRN is committed to gender diversity and freedom from prejudice on any grounds.

Story requirements

  • The story must deal with at least one of the topics listed above
  • The story must be relevant to Central and Southeastern Europe and must cover at least two countries in the region
  • We are looking for in-depth, investigative stories
  • The story should be around 2,000 words long
  • Each selected story must be published within eight months of receipt of the first installment of the bursary.

How to apply?

Download the Story Grant Form

Download the Declaration

Send us your story proposal using the story grant form, downloadable here.

Please send the completed form together with a signed declaration and your CV to no later than February 21, 2021.

BIRN Launches Online Community to Connect Journalists

BIRD Community is BIRN’s new, secure online platform for our alumni and for journalists reporting on South-East and Central Europe, allowing them to share story ideas, data and information, collaborate and utilise a document archive and contacts database.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network launched a new cross-border journalism platform on Wednesday, aiming to connect more than 1,000 journalists who took part in BIRN’s programmes as fellows, trainees and grantees, as well as other journalists reporting on South-East and Central Europe.

BIRD Community offers a unique secure online environment in which to exchange information, as well as a comprehensive database and a rich contacts directory of experts across the Western Balkans.

The idea was the result of more than 15 years of experience in connecting journalists across the Balkans and beyond to produce complex regional analyses and cross-border investigations, as well as BIRN’s experience in providing comprehensive training in investigative reporting.

The aim of BIRD Community is to make journalistic work much easier and take journalistic networking to the next level. By joining BIRD Community, journalists will get:

  • A secure environment in which they can easily reach out to BIRN’s team members and other colleagues from our alumni network across South-East and Central Europe.
  • Free access to BIRD Source, an easily searchable and comprehensive database with thousands of documents collected by BIRN over the years and exclusive data scraped from public registries and state institutions’ websites as well as information obtained through Freedom of Information BIRD Source also offers journalists the opportunity to share their own documents and leaks, and has a tool that allows them to sketch a diagram online to summarise investigative findings with other journalists.
  • Access to BIRD Directory, with around 1,400 names and contacts of experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
  • Access to the Forum in which journalists can easily communicate with other members, privately or publicly.
  • The opportunity to send requests for help, information and advice from other journalists by posting them in the Bulletin Board section. The responses from other members can be made visible to all users or can be kept private.
  • Updates on grants and training opportunities.

Members can create public or private topics in the Forum section – the former will be visible to all members, allowing any of them to join the discussion, while with the latter, the creator can choose which members will be able to participate.

The Bulletin Board section is a place to share opportunities with others, ask for help, swap contacts or find a journalist who specialises in a particular topic. In the Bulletin Board section, members can leave posts which can either be private or be seen by all other members.

Once members subscribe to the posts and topics they want to follow on the Forum and Bulletin Board, they will receive an email each time there is an updates.

BIRD Community is part of a broader platform that BIRN introduced last year, BIRN Investigative Resource Desk (BIRD) – an innovative interactive platform created for professional and citizen journalists who want to keep up-to-date with the fast-changing world of technology without sacrificing their ethics or the standards of professional journalism.

The link that takes you directly to the registration page is here.

Edward Szekeres

Edward Szekeres is a Reporting Democracy correspondent reporting from Bratislava, Slovakia, with an occasional scoop in Budapest, Hungary.

He’s been walking the freelance trail for several years now, contributing to a string of media outlets in all V4 countries.

Edward is set to obtain a Masters in International Journalism from the University of Groningen. He speaks and reads Slovak, Hungarian, Czech, English and French and speaks beginner Dutch.

Call for Applications for Training in Fundraising

Media representatives from six Western Balkans countries with or without previous knowledge of fundraising are welcome to apply for the two-day online training.

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, is organising a training in fundraising for media representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia within the regional “Media for All” project. The two-day training should help financial managers, project managers/coordinators and other media professionals in charge of media development to gain practical insights about fundraising processes.

Raising money to build and scale-up media organisations in today’s world is particularly challenging. They need to maintain their independence while securing financial sustainability. Finding new approaches to media viability, diversifying revenue streams and investing in quality journalism in the digital age is especially difficult.

Therefore, this training will provide concrete assistance to media organisations/CSOs on how to communicate the purpose of concrete fundraising projects and campaigns with relevant stakeholders, how to approach donors and maintain cooperation with the community. It should also demonstrate that grants and donations from different donor organisations and individuals are one of many available sources of funding.

Lead trainer Petar Subotin, BIRN Regional Development Officer, has extensive experience in fundraising and donor coordination. He supports cross-regional projects implementation and serves as a worldwide liaison with key stakeholders, including private donors and governments. He has also worked at the Novi Sad School of Journalism where he was in charge of writing and implementing projects related to politics, media, human rights and conflict resolution.

Who can apply?

Media outlets representatives (financial managers, project coordinators, employees at senior positions in charge of the development of the organisation/media outlet) with or without previous knowledge of fundraising, who wish to develop skills in this sphere and contribute to the financial growth and stability of their respective media organisations.

How to apply?

Applicants should complete and submit only one application attached to this CfA. All applications should be submitted in English to along with the applicant’s CV.

DATE OF TRAINING:  February 10-11, 2021


LANGUAGE: Working language of the training is English



DEADLINE: January 31, midnight Central European Time.

Share Your Experience: Violations on Social Media

Have you ever reported any violations on Facebook or Twitter? Was your report processed, content deleted or suspended, or the harassment, violence or hate speech continued? Tell us your story.

We’re looking for people who are willing to share their experience with us to help in a story we’re currently working on. Scroll down for information on how to take part.

The key things we want to know:

  • What type of violations have you reported?
  • In what language was the content?
  • How was the report processed?

What do we consider to be violations of social media community guidelines:

  • Violent threats (direct or indirect)
  • Harassment, which entails inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others
  • Hateful conduct, which entails promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease.

Things to note:

We are looking for social media users that reported content in the Bosnian, Serbian, Montenegrin, Albanian, and Macedonian languages. We want to hear as many different experiences from all around Southeast Europe.

Your stories will be used to help us with an ongoing investigation.

How to take part?

To submit your experience, all you need to do is fill out this form.

You can also contact us via email:

Or you can reach us on social media…

FB: @balkaninsight

TW: @balkaninsight

We’ll need to receive your application by midnight, January 15, 2021.

EU Investigative Journalism Awards Announced in Serbia

Adam Santovac, Jelena Veljkovic, Aleksandar Djordjevic, Nemanja Rujevic, Sanja Kljajic and Ajdin Kamber were announced on December 29 as the winners of this year’s EU Awards for Investigative Journalism, given for stories published in 2019 in Serbia.

The first place for the best investigative story published in 2019 and a cash prize of 5,000 euros went to Adam Santovac for the documentary ‘Super Graduate’, which was broadcast by N1 TV.

The jury said that ‘Super Graduate’ was a very important investigation about corruption in the higher education system, “an area in which the consequences are long-term and unforeseeable, and essentially affect all segments of life in the country”.

The jury praised Santovac for his “in-depth research of numerous, difficult-to-access data outside the borders of Serbia”.

“I think the key to the success of the documentary ‘Super Graduate’ is in its simplicity,” Santovac said in a recorded acceptance speech.

“So, working on this documentary, I managed to fulfill the most basic journalistic function, and that is not only to ask, but also to help people find answers to certain questions,” he added.

BIRN Serbia journalists Jelena Veljkovic and Aleksandar Djordjevic were awarded second place and a cash prize of 3,000 euros for the series of articles about the so-called Krusik affair, which centred on alleged corruption at the state-owned Krusik arms company.

The jury said that Veljkovic and Djordjevic “managed not only to point out direct links between top public officials and serious abuse, but also to prove the existence of the entire system in which the state appears as a guarantor in dirty business”.

The two journalists dedicated the award to Aleksandar Obradovic, a whistleblower from the Krusik factory who first spoke out about the alleged wrongdoing.

The third place and a cash prize of 2,000 euros went to Deutsche Welle journalists Nemanja Rujevic, Sanja Kljajic and Ajdin Kamber for their story ‘The Industry of Leaving’, which dealt with the emigration of health workers and the corrupt practices that are rife in labour emigration.

“The authors, through a very detailed and comprehensive research, discovered and proved the existence of a whole new industry in Serbia which is export-oriented and does not bring benefit to the people living in that country, but takes away quality health workers and care,” the jury said.

Paul-Henri Presset, the head of the Information, Communication and Press Department at the EU Delegation to Serbia, said in a video message that the media plays an even more important role in disseminating reliable information in times of crisis, such the current pandemic.

“At the same time such vulnerable times inevitably open large space for disinformation, a trend that societies will be combating increasingly in the time to come. This is why it is particularly important that we have strong and capacitated media and journalists putting additional efforts in investigating facts on topics important for society,” said Presset.

The shortlisted investigative stories were evaluated by an international jury consisting of Predrag Blagojevic, founder and former editor-in-chief at Juzne Vesti, Valerie Hopkins, south-east Europe correspondent for the Financial Times and Bojan Pancevski, Germany correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

The EU Awards for Investigative Journalism in Serbia is part of an ongoing EU-funded project entitled Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey, implemented by BIRN Hub in partnership with Thomson Media gGmbH (TM), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Broadcast Union (EBU), Central European University (CEU CDMS), the Media Association of South-East Europe (MASE), the Center for Investigative Journalism of Montenegro (CIN CG), the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM), BIRN Albania and BIRN Serbia. The aim of the project is to empower and support independent journalism and investigative journalists.

BIRN Serbia, as part of the consortium, provides technical support to the project but is not involved in the selection of awarded articles.