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Study trip of Serbian journalists to Albania
RoundtableA training session on reporting diversity, with a specific focus on Roma and Egyptians, was organized with journalists at the Albanian Media Institute on March 2-4, with the participation of 15 journalists from mainstream print and electronic media. The first part of the course addressed the importance of reporting diversity correctly in the media and the significance of cultural diversity in society. Journalists became familiar with and discussed ways of recognizing and accepting the Other, and reporting this topic in an appropriate way. Specific attention was paid to stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination in reporting in the media. Another major field of the course was community journalism and reporting diversity, taking into account specific media coverage, as well as social media role in this aspect.

The second part of the course introduced the journalists to the most relevant issues related to Roma situation in the country and analyze with them the media coverage on Roma and identify ways to improve it. The lecturers introduced the participants to a brief history of Roma in Albania, the existing stereotypes in society and in media regarding Roma, and addressed specific ways to improve Roma coverage in the media. Specific attention was paid to the language used vis-a-vis Roma, and the space devoted to them in mainstream media. Other important issues discussed including the lack of official statistics on Roma and the way this affects media coverage on them, the official Strategy for the Roma community, the civil society attempts made in this regard, etc. A special analysis was made on media coverage of Roma minority, bringing examples that had sparked media interest on Roma population, and analyzing the reasons for this interest and ways to increase and improve media coverage on Roma. This training session was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Soros Foundation.
Reporting diversity training course
Fatos Lubonja receives Prince Claus Award
Well-known Albanian columnist and writer Fatos Lubonja received the prestigious Prince Claus Award from the ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in a ceremony organized on March 14, 2016, in Tirana. The award is presented each year to artists and intellectuals in recognition of the quality of their work and their impact on development of their society.

According to the selection committee, the award motivation was based on Lubonja's honest and accounts of episodes in Albania's recent history, his intellectual integrity and independence, for his fight for democracy and human rights, as well as for broadening the scope of public debate.
EU Investigative Journalism Award Launched
EU AwardThe EU Investigative Journalism Award was launched on March 11 in Tirana. Participants included journalists, media experts, university professors, and civil society representatives. They become familiar with the award initiative, the criteria for submissions, practical details for applications, and the general scheme of awarding investigative journalists in the region.

Jan Rudolph, Head of Political, Economic and Information section at the EU Delegation in Albania, reiterated the good experience of the first year of the award competition. He emphasized the importance of quality investigative journalism in a democratic society and pointed out that in Albania there is a wide range of topics that investigative journalists can cover, underlining the significance of this journalism for the country. He also stressed the importance of media and freedom of expression, criteria that are constantly monitored by EU, too. Although he stated that the Albanian media can improve in many ways, he hoped that this award would assist in this direction.

Aleksander Cipa, jury member and chair of the Union of Albanian Journalists, appreciated the opportunity this award creates for an open and fair competition in the field of investigative journalism. He also considered it a positive development the introduction of the sub-category for young investigative journalists, as it would further promote a new generation of journalists. After calling for as many applications as possible, he also invited the colleagues to consider the quality of nominations, the ir professionalism and deontology.

Ilda Londo, representative of the Albanian Media Institute, disclosed the details on the application process and the award scheme. The call will be opened until April 4, 2016. For further details, follow this link:

http://www.institutemedia.org/eu-contest2016.html
A study trip for five Serbian journalists and editors was organized on March 8-10 in Tirana, as part of an exchange initiative between Albanian and Serbian journalists. During their visit they had several meetings with journalists, representatives of civil society, business, parliament, politicians, etc. The exchange aimed to better know the realities of both countries, to expand the contacts between media professionals and to improve reporting neighbors in the region. This was the second visit, after a group of Albanian journalists visited Belgrade in January this year.

For this purpose, the meetings of Serb journalists in Tirana included representatives from civil society, such as Gledis Gjipali, director of European Movement of Albania, Albert Rakipi, director of the Albanian Institute for International Studies, and Kujtim Cashku, director of Film Academy Marubi. The meetings with civil society focused on the perception on the relation between two countries, on Kosovo issue, and on identifying ways of improving knowledge on each other and fostering a more constructive public debate. The journalists also met with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Majlinda Bregu, Head of Parliamentary Commission on European Integration. These meetings addressed concrete ongoing initiatives between the two countries, discussed the official position on several matters, as well as future plans in the framework of regional cooperation.

Both Albanian and Serb journalists discussed the problems in each country and the mutual challenges media and journalists face during a roundtable organized on March 9, under the moderation of Kurt Bassuener, Senior Associate Democratization Policy Council. David Muniz, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy appreciated the initiative, describing the Serbia-Albania relationship as "one of the bright spots in the region in the last few years." The roundtable discussion focused on specific nature of media coverage in Albania and Serbia, ethical and hate speech problems, the systemic difficulties with media in both countries, and freedom and professionalism of journalists. The study trip was organized from Albanian Media Institute, with the support of US Embassy.
Regional forums on reporting diversity
KorcaA regional forum on ethical reporting of diversity and ethical guidelines on coverage of vulnerable groups was organized in Korca on March 18. Participants included local journalists, correspondents for national media, local government representatives and civil society organizations working in the region. The forum was organized as a platform of discussion between media on one hand, and local government and civil society, on the other hand, assessing the quality of media coverage of vulnerable groups in the media. The discussion focused on specific local cases, but a presentation of the Assessment Report on Media Coverage of Vulnerable Groups was also made, as a starting point for the discussion.

The forum served as a way of exchanging opinions, concerns, and ideas on media coverage of these groups with journalists, local government, and civil society. The participants in the forum also identified ways of improving the information reflected in the media by broadening the pool of sources of information and contacts to local government services and civil society services to vulnerable groups. Finally, the forum paid special attention to the ethical guidelines drafted for coverage of vulnerable groups, discussing specific cases and ways of improving media coverage from the ethical point of view. The forum was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Soros Foundation.
Training course on improving reporting on LGBT
A training session on reporting diversity, with a specific focus on reporting LGBT community, was organized with journalists at the Albanian Media Institute on March 16-18, with the participation of 15 journalists from mainstream print and electronic media. 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.