BIRN Macedonia Promotes Fellowship Programme

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The promotion of this year’s collection of articles, Taboo: Secrecy and Shame in the Balkans, which wraps up the 2010 edition of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence, gathered leading Macedonian journalists and editors on December 21 at the Journalists’ club in Skopje.

This year’s articles present the original research of eight journalists selected from Southeast Europe to participate in the 2010 programme.

Editors and journalists from the most influential media, such as A1 TV, Dnevnik daily, Alsat M TV, Alfa TV, Nova Makedonija daily, Netpress news agency, Vest daily, BBC Macedonian language edition, Fokus weekly, Utrinski Vesnik daily, Radio Free Europe and AFP attended the promotion.

Representatives from the Macedonian Broadcasting Council, the OSCE, the British Embassy and the NGO Centre for Civic Communications also came.

BIRN Macedonia director Ana Petruseva introduced the Fellowship programme and praised the quality of the stories.

This year’s Macedonian fellow, Ruzica Fotinovska, a Skopje-based reporter, said it had been “a wonderful experience, a good chance to see how my colleagues journalists from other countries work on investigative stories”.

“The programme offers enough time and resources for real in-depth research, which it is impossible to get in daily media reporting,” Fotinovska added.

Fotinovska won the second prize this year for her article, “Freed Prisoners Remain Caught Behind Bars”, which investigated the life of former prisoners and the country’s failure to develop effective rehabilitation programmes.
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The first prize this year was awarded to Majlinda Aliu, based in Pristina, for her article “Trapped in Black: Balkan War Widows”.

Another Kosovar journalist, Jeton Musliu, who is also based in Pristina, took third place for his article, “Kosovars Turn Blind Eye to Fake Foreign Marriages”.

Petruseva announced the Fellowship programe for 2011 and invited journalists to apply.   

Initiated by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Erste Foundation in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, the Fellowship is aimed at supporting high-quality reporting, regional networking among journalists and advancing balanced coverage on complex reform issues that are central to the region as well as to the European Union.