BIRN (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network) - A Paper Trail to Better Governance II

Contract partner: BIRN - Balkan Investigative Reporting NetworkCountry: Europa, regional/länderübergreifend Funding amount: € 509.600,00Project start: 15.01.2017End: 31.12.2019

Short Description:

Overall goal

The project will contribute to a better functioning public sector that abides by principles of transparency and accountability to its citizens and enhanced enforcement of access to information laws. In the long term this will contribute to human security in the whole South-Eastern Europe/Danube Region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia).

Expected results

Expected results of the project are

1. Exposed wrongdoings of public institutions, public or private companies and individuals, through multimedia investigations, in-depth analysis of institutions openness to Freedom of Information requests and establishment of an online database.

2. Increased investigative skills of at least 60 journalists across the region.

3. Improved investigative skills of 30 journalism students of the University of Prishtina.


Target group / Beneficiaries

Direct beneficiaries include 60 investigative journalists, researchers, and representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) who will be trained and will participate in the investigative projects. In addition, about 30 journalists of the University of Prishtina will be targeted through the project and will receive internships and mentorships by BIRN Kosovo.

Indirect beneficiaries include public, media, public institutions and authorities, civil society representatives, and private sector operators. Journalists and, further, print media, TV and radio stations as well as internet news portals from the whole region will benefit by gaining acces to objective, quality and reliable news and analytical journalism.


The outcomes will be achieved through the following activities:

(1) Publication of a Freedom of Information report. The report will be based on at least 300 requests to public institutions across the Balkans for documents under access-to-information laws.

(2) 4 trainings on investigative journalism techniques for journalists taking part in the project, alongside on-the-job trainings and face-to-face meetings.

(3) 25 stories, interviews and analyses, focusing on cross-border and country-based issues based on at least 15 investigations.

(4) Production of 10 short documentary/video clips/video blogs and/or interviews and multimedia content.

(5) Creation of the Digital Media Lab as an online platform through which IT professionals will provide support to Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network (BIRN) journalists and projects participants.

(6) Presentation of the implementation and accomplishments of the project at BIRN’s events, conferences, debates, prestigious Summer School and other trainings.


Laws on freedom of information in the region are good on paper but there are mayor implementation problems throughout all of the countries where the project is carried out. Corruption still proves to be one of the biggest problems of the South East European region. Based on Transparency International’s corruption index, most of the targeted countries are ranked around 70th out of 167 countries, while Albania stands at 88th and Moldova and Kosovo are at 103rd. The main route for media NGOs such as BIRN to improve the situation is to continue to press public bodies and companies to comply with the legislation through regular, targeted requests.

project number8297-00/2016
source of fundingOEZA
sector Staatsführung & Zivilgesellschaft, allgemein
modalityProject-type interventions
marker Democracy: 2, Poverty: 1
  • Policy marker: are used to identify, assess and facilitate the monitoring of activities in support of policy objectives concerning gender equality, aid to environment, participatory development/good governance, trade development and reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. Activities targeting the objectives of the Rio Conventions include the identification of biodiversity, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and desertification.
    • 1= policy is a significant objective of the activity
    • 2= policy is the principal objective of the activity
  • Donor/ source of funding: The ADA is not only implementing projects and programmes of the Austrian Development Cooperation , but also projects funded from other sources and donors such as
    • AKF - Foreign Disaster Fund of the Austrian federal government
    • BMLFUW - Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water
    • EU - Funds of the European Commission
    • Others - various other donors are listed in ADA’s annual business report.
  • Type of Aid – Aid modalities: classifies transfers from the donor to the first recipient of funds such as budget support, core contributions and pooled programmes and funds to CSOs and multilateral organisations, project-type interventions, experts and other technical assistance, scholarships and student costs in donor countries, debt relief, administrative costs and other in-donor expenditures.
  • Purpose/ sector code: classifies the specific area of the recipient’s economic or social structure, funded by a bilateral contribution.
  • Tied/Untied: Untied aid is defined as loans and grants whose proceeds are fully and freely available to finance procurement from all OECD countries and substantially all developing countries. Transactions are considered tied unless the donor has, at the time of the aid offer, clearly specified a range of countries eligible for procurement which meets the tests for “untied” aid.