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Copyright: Albanian Media Institute - Instituti Shqiptar i Medias, 2011
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Parliament elects AMA Chair
Gazetaria investigativeThe Parliament elected on November 6 the new chair of the regulator on audiovisual media, Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA.) His name is Gentian Sala, holding a law degree, as well as a master's degree in "European Studies." He comes from a legal background, switching then to commercial business activities, working as a manager and co-owner of different companies. He has also been part of the structures of Digitalb, the main commercial multiplex in the country. During the voting Sala received most votes, namely 79 votes pro and 1 against. This election took place after short listing of the four candidates for AMA chair in the Parliamentary Commission on Media. After the repeated calls to the opposition to return to the parliament and participate in the process of eliminating the candidates, there was no positive response. Hence, the ruling majority decided to proceed with the selection process on its own, as completing the number of missing members and chair in this institution was an urgent matter that could not longer wait. The opposition responded by emphasizing Sala's previous involvement in Digitalb as a sign that indicates that the government aims to capture the regulator.
RoundtableA training session on reporting diversity, with a specific focus on Roma and Egyptians, was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on November 4, with the participation of 20 journalists from mainstream print and electronic media. The main aim of the course was to introduce 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 UNDP.
Training on improving reporting of Roma and Egyptians
Roundtable on media ownership and transparency
RoundtableA roundtable on media ownership and media financing transparency was organized on November 11, with the participation of journalists, editors, journalism associations' representatives and civil society. The roundtable focused on the presentation of the research carried out on this topic by the Albanian Media. The research identifies the main patterns of the main ownership schemes in Albanian media, their structure and changes through the years, and their impact on the media landscape and especially on media independence. The research focuses on such issues as relevant legislation and its implementation through the respective regulatory authorities, a description of the media landscape and its development through the years, following with a documentation and description of the ownership structure of the main media outlets. Other sensitive and important topics that the research has addressed include transparency of financing sources of media outlets, the advertising market and state advertising, as well as self-regulation process and status of journalists in this regard. The main speakers were Ilda Londo, author of the research on the topic, who presented the process of drafting the research and its main findings, and Aleksander Cipa, head of the trade union "Union of Albanian Journalists," who analyzed the current media ownership schemes, with special emphasis on their influence over labor relations" implementation in the media sector. He described the existing situation regarding labour relations in the media and called upon the participants for a greater involvement and participation for improving the situation. This roundtable was organized by the Albanian Media Institute with the support of European Union.
Three training courses on improving reporting on children
RondtableAlbanian Media Institute organized this month three training courses that focused on improving reporting of children in the media. The courses took place respectively on November 5-7, 12-14, and 24-26, with the participation of 15 journalists in each. The main aim of the courses was to introduce journalists to the main topics, angles, and ethical considerations to have in mind when reporting on minors. Lecturers were professors at Department of Journalism, media experts and well-known journalists, and representatives of NGOs dealing with children issues. Some of the main topics addressed during the course included discussion of new topics that have not been covered on children, legislation in place protecting children, legal issues to have in mind when reporting on children, ethical considerations when interviewing them, etc. Participants discussed with lecturers specific examples and challenges they had had during their work. The courses were supported by Save the Children.
Training course on new media and local journalism
A training course on the topic "New media and local journalism" was organized in Korca on November 20-21, with the participation of 14 journalists from the local media. The training course discussed with the journalists the current development of journalism as a profession, addressing the range of problems journalists face, especially in local media. Participants also discussed the emergence and development of new media, its values, challenges, and expectations, focusing on the way the work of journalists has been transformed. The efficacy of new media in testing opinion of citizens and confronting it to traditional sources of information was another topic discussed during the course. The participants also were introduced to the concept of citizen journalist and professional journalist, discussing the differences and opportunities. The lecturer and journalists discussed different ways of incorporating new media in local journalists' work, such as obtaining new sources of information from the public, making use of opinion of citizens and shaping the reporting, etc. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.
INDIREG study on AMA published
The Council of Europe Office in Tirana, in cooperation with the Assembly of Albania, published on November 25 a study on the formal and de facto indicators of the independence and functioning of the Albanian Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA), prepared by three international experts according to the INDIREG methodology. The study was commissioned by the Council of Europe on request of the Albanian Parliament and it was drafted by Dr Kristina Irion, Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam, Michele Ledger, Cullen International, Brussels, Dr Sara Svensson, Department of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest.

The scope of the study was to apply the INDIREG methodology to the AMA and provide contextual interpretation of the results with policy recommendations. The participants were addressed by the Speaker of the Assembly of Albania Mr Ilir Meta, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tirana Mr Marco Leidekker, and Charge s'Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Albania Yngve Engstrom.