Investigative Journalism Training in Montenegro

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An investigative journalism training workshop for seven journalists was held in Montenegro from March 30 – April 1 in Podgorica, as part of BIRN’s ongoing Minority Training and Reporting project.

The group comprised journalists who after primary level training have become regular BIRN contributors from different parts of Montenegro. Also, one journalist from Kosovo attended the workshop in order to participate in planning and commissioning cross- border investigative articles.

The journalists were: Bojana Stanisic, a freelance journalist; Nedjeljko Rudovic from Vijesti; Petar Komnenic from Monitor and RFE; Nikola Donscic, freelance journalist; Tufik Softic from Radio Berane; Sead Sadikovic, freelance journalist; Samir Adrovic from Vijesti and Krenar Gashi from BIRN Kosovo.

Over the course of the three-day training session, BIRN editor-in-chief, Gordan Igric, and the editor of BIRN Serbia, Aleksandar Vasovic, discussed how to shape an investigative project from beginning to end – from finding the right topic, forming a hypothesis for the story, through choosing the angle, initial probing, careful planning to actual writing.

Special attention was devoted to the issue of sources and interviews – finding sources, checking their reliability, building the network of sources, protection of sources, use of anonymous sources, dealing with sources in positions of power, confrontation interviews, etc.

One session dealt with aspects of Montenegrin law that journalists must be aware of when producing their investigations.

Dusko Vukovic, from the Media Institute, presented legal do’s and don’ts, relating to libel, censorship, access to information and source protection.

Seki Radoncic, investigative journalist from Montenegro, currently living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, talked about his work and risks of the profession. He presented the case study of his investigation about Bosnian Muslims that were arrested and deported from Montenegro to Republika Srpska in summer 1992, after which most of them were murdered.

The internationally-acclaimed documentary “Carnival”, based on Radoncic investigation, was organised for the journalists, followed by lively debate.

During the training, Igric and Vasovic worked with journalists on the preparation of articles for a special package dealing with the issue of the new constitution and the way in which it will resolve some of the most disputed topics in Montenegrin society, such as official language, religion, minority rights, etc.

Also, several investigative articles were commissioned and outlined.

A special package on Montenegro is due to be published towards the end of April.

The workshop was organised with the help of British Embassy in Belgrade as well as the National Endowment for Democracy, NED in Washington.