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Copyright: Albanian Media Institute - Instituti Shqiptar i Medias, 2011
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New Law on Access to Information approved
Summer SchoolOn September 18 the parliament approved the new law "On right to information." The law was approved after years of discussion with the Ministry of Justice, public administration, and relevant parliamentary commissions. The initiative to change the existing law on access to information came from Soros Foundation and other civil society organizations. The law aims to further guarantee the citizens' right to information by expanding the notion of public information, urging the government to take a more pro-active approach towards transparency, and nominating a guardian of the citizens' right to information and devising mechanisms and sanctions to protect this right.

More specifically, the new law transfers the duty of overseeing the implementation of the right to information from People's Advocate (as was the case with the old law) to the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection. In addition, the law also allows for administrative sanctions imposed by the Commissioner on cases of violation of the right to information and such cases are detailed in the law. The Commissioner will also be in charge of drafting transparency models for public institutions, including the information that should be made readily available to the public. In addition, the law envisages the establishment of position of information coordinators at the public institutions, who will be in charge of handling requests for information. Another novelty is the establishment of a register of requests of information that each institution will make available, hiding the identity of persons that request information. In addition, timelines for giving information have been reduced and the application of public interest test is required when the information is classified or restricted.
KrastevThe seminar titled "European Foreign Policy: Balkan perspectives and global challenges" was organized in Durres on September 5-6. The aim of the seminar was to give journalists a greater insight into the EU enlargement and global security matters. Participants included journalists from Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Serbia, who are reporting on international policy and EU integration of their countries. Hellmut Hoffmann, German Ambassador in Tirana, opened the seminar by pointing out the previous active role of Germany and its future responsibility for the EU integration of South East Europe. Main speaker was Hans-Joachim Falenski, foreign policy advisor of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag. He reaffirmed Germany's willingness for further expansion of the EU and underlined that compliance of the common standards would be examined more closely for new EU candidates than it was before. Other speakers included Sokol Dervishaj, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ilda Zhulali, Advisor to the Albanian President on EU integration, and Alba Cela and Albert Rakipi from the Albanian Institute for International Studies. They each provided the perspectives of their institutions and their work related to EU integration. This seminar was organized jointly by the Konrad Adeauer Stiftung Media Program South East Europe and Albanian Media Institute.
A training course on diversity reporting in the media was carried out at the Albanian Media Institute on September 17-19, with the participation of journalists covering social issues. The training started with a brief overview of diversity reporting in world and Albanian media and on its impact on the society. The training focused on specific elements to have in mind when reporting diversity, such as angle and approach to the story, the sources of information used, the language and vocabulary, and the images and photos to illustrate the story. In addition to diversity reporting in general, the course also addressed the topic of coverage of LGBT community in particular. Making use of case studies, the training highlighted the most common stereotypes and ways of avoiding them, based on verification, field work, and sources of information from the community. The course was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the Soros Foundation.
Seminar on European Foreign Policy for Balkan journalists
Multimedia reporting and convergence course
A training course on multimedia reporting and convergence was organized on September 22-26 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of 15 journalists from print, electronic, and online media. The main aim of the course was to teach journalists how to adapt to the new technologies and merge with new media, at least in specific formats. In addition, the course aimed to teach journalists how to use convergence to their advantage in reporting. The training course covered all aspects of multimedia news production; from basic storyboarding to hands-on instruction with hardware and software for production of multimedia stories. The participants became familiar with the main features of multimedia reporting and went through the specific steps entailed in multimedia reporting. Particular attention was also paid to infographics as a way for user-friendly reporting of specific information. Finally, attention was also paid to convergence and the role of internet, and the way this affects the work of online journalists. The course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the European Union.
Training course on media coverage of diversity
Publication and roundtable discussion on online media
USA ReportAlbanian Media Institute published the research "The online media in Albania." The scope of this study was the portrayal of the history and the development of online media in Albania by identifying approaches, specific developments and characteristics in comparison with global model characteristics, formats and models of publications. Furthermore the aim was to assess the extent and the efficiency in the application of techniques and capacities of the web practices and genuine cyber-media developments, the level of interactivity, the speed in transmitting of the information, the managing strategy and business models they have pursued and the individual profile each have established.

The main conclusions of the Study were presented in a Roundtable in Tirana, organized on September 12. The focus of this Roundtable was analyzing the main trends of online and social media development. Participants in the event included representatives from the online media, including journalists, press freedom advocates, and professors and students.

The Roundtable introduced the main findings of the research made on landscape of online media, focusing on profile and types of existing online publications, production process of online content, interactivity with readers, registration, design, and archiving, etc. Important emphasis was put on human resources and economics of online media in Albania. In addition, the discussion among experts and representatives of online media highlighted some of the main ethical issues that exist in the Albanian online media. It focused on the problems over the use of hate language, discriminatory comments, ethical rules, as well as problems with piracy of content and attribution of sources. The research and roundtable were carried out with the support of the Austrian Development Cooperation.
New publication on media and its role on society
"Communication and social relations" is the title of the latest publication of the European University of Tirana, written by Roland Lami, professor of journalism and communication. The book attempts to examine the relations between society and media, their interdependence, the causes, and the effects of this interdependence. The book was promoted in a public event organized by the university on September 16. Present were also journalists, academics, and media experts.