Applications Open: BIRN Internet Freedom Meet 2023 in Belgrade

BIRN is thrilled to announce that applications are now open for our Belgrade Internet Freedom Meet 2023!

This event, set in Belgrade, Serbia, from June 26-29, brings together some of the top minds in digital rights and internet freedom to explore, learn, and collaborate together. Our program is packed with a series of thought-provoking plenary sessions, engaging roundtable discussions, hands-on workshops, and networking events that aim to empower, educate, and inspire.

What’s on the Agenda?

Our agenda promises a robust blend of plenary sessions, engaging roundtable discussions, practical workshops, and networking opportunities aiming to provoke thought, foster learning, and inspire change.

Each day commences with invigorating plenary sessions featuring renowned speakers who will lead discussions on pressing issues like digital rights and digital activism, internet freedoms, online-to-offline violence, and ethical and regulatory measures around AI. Round discussions follow by opening the floor for an interactive dialogue on subjects ranging from enhancing internet freedom, preventing online extremism consequences, privacy issues, and personal data protection to responsible AI use. 

Moderated by industry trailblazers, these sessions provide opportunities for knowledge sharing and in-depth discussions. Next, our hands-on workshops offer a chance to develop practical skills in crucial areas such as digital rights activism, addressing cyberbullying in journalism, advocating for responsible AI strategies, and more. These sessions are designed to be interactive and provide invaluable networking opportunities.

Why Should You Apply?

The BIRN Internet Freedom Meet in Belgrade is an opportunity to engage with leading experts, gain new insights, and contribute to building a future where the Internet is free, safe, and empowering for all. Whether you’re a digital rights activist, tech enthusiast, academic, journalist, or just a concerned netizen, your voice matters in this critical discourse, and you are welcome to apply.

How to Apply

Applications are now open to the public, but seats are limited. Please complete the following application form by June 15, 2023, at 5 pm CET, to ensure your place at the BIRN Internet Freedom Meet 2023.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn about and influence our digital world. BIRN will cover accommodation and travel expenses for selected participants. We look forward to your applications!

BIRN Trains Montenegrin Journalists in Digital Rights Reporting

BIRN trained ten Montenegrin journalists in digital rights reporting in Podgorica for three days from May 16 to 18.

Journalists participated in eleven sessions coverimg a wide range of topics related to digital rights reporting.

The participants came from various Montenegrin media outlets and civil society organisations including Vijesti, RTCG, RTV Teuta, Civic Alliance, Zumiraj, Kombinat.

The training topics ranged from digital rights and their impact on journalism, multimedia storytelling using contemporary tools, and harnessing the power of open-source intelligence (OSINT) in journalism to techniques and best practices in data journalism, data analysis and data visualisation.

The participants singled out a session on identifying and collecting digital rights violations in Montenegro and fact-checking and verification techniques for digital rights reporting as particularly useful in their future work.

“During the session investigating the violations of digital rights in Montenegro, I learned how to recognise a story in the things we encounter every day, for example – what is the extent of the abuse of our personal data, which we are not even aware of,” said one of the trainees.

BIRN’s training course enabled the participants to comprehensively understand the relevant issues around digital rights violations. It gave them practical tools to identify and report on them more effectively.

Journalists play a key role in raising public awareness and driving change and the course was intended to provide skills and knowledge to enable them to produce impactful stories that can contribute to a more informed public debate and ultimately lead to policy changes that protect and promote digital rights in the Balkans.

Numerous reports from international rights groups, media, civil society and international organisations, as well as BIRN’s annual digital rights violations reports, have indicated a worrying situation for digital rights in the Balkans.

Such reports have emphasised the need for continuous efforts to improve the protection and promotion of these rights by improving journalists’ abilities to produce quality reporting on these issues.

Journalists are often the target of online attacks but many of them have yet to fully understand the extent of digital rights violations or the underlying legal and technological aspects that lead to such violations.

BIRN’s training in digital rights reporting addressed these issues and provided the most up-to-date tools and techniques on journalistic protection in the online sphere as well as various resources reporters can use on the job.

“I look forward to any future collaboration with BIRN because all the recent collaborations and training courses are proving to be very useful in my everyday work,” said one of the journalists who attended the course in Montenegro.

Calls for applications for BIRN’s digital rights training for journalists from Kosovo and North Macedonia are still open: find more information here and here.



BIRN Environmental Investigation Wins Prize in Montenegro

A report published by BIRN has been awarded the first prize for the best investigative story in Montenegro by the Center for Civic Education, a prominent Montenegrin human rights organisation.

The NGO’s awards were presented last week for the best stories of 2020 that “made a change”.

The BIRN report entitled ‘Beneath the Surface: Adriatic Beach Waste Just “Tip of the Iceberg”’, by Mustafa Canka, is about the plastic accumulated on Adriatic seabed, which has devastating consequences for marine life, coastal communities and, longer-term, the economies of Adriatic states such as Montenegro

According to the report, the plastic waste is generated by some four million people who live along the Adriatic coast, and by tourists who increase that number six-fold every summer.

“This award is a pleasant recognition, encouragement for further work but also an increased responsibility,” Canka said.

The investigation, published on BIRN’s Balkan Insight website, was produced as part of the ‘Investigative Journalism on EnvironMEntal Issues, with Citizens’ Engagement’ project.

The two-year project was implemented by BIRN, the Center for Investigative Journalism Montenegro, CIN CG, and weekly news magazine Monitor, supported by the EU Delegation in Podgorica.