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