Copyright: Albanian Media Institute - Instituti Shqiptar i Medias, 2011
News & info
Parliament elects five members of Steering Council of RTSH
The Parliament elected on December 4 in a plenary session five members of the Steering Council of public broadcaster RTSH. The new members were voted only by Members of Parliament from the ruling majority, as the opposition MPs continued to boycott all parliamentary activities. The short listing process in the Parliamentary Commission on Media also was done only by the ruling majority MPs, after failed appeals to the opposition to come to the parliament and resolve the deadlock. The mandate of all members of the Steering Council of RTSH expired one year ago, while some mandates were not valid as long as two years before. Similarly as to the regulator, Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA,) the ruling majority has stated that the five remaining members of Steering Council of RTSH can be shortlisted from the opposition MPs when they return to the commission.
The election of new members of Steering Council was opposed by Vangjel Dule, chair of the Party of the Union of Human Rights, also deputy Speaker of the Parliament. He stated that it was unacceptable that a body like the Steering Council, which has to represent interests of all Albanian citizens in the public broadcaster, does not have a representative of the ethnic minorities. Prime Minister Edi Rama replied by stating that such a requirement existed in the old law, the Law on Radio and Television, but during the drafting of the existing Law on Audiovisual Media such a requirement had been removed.
The Albanian Media Institute organized a television debate at the University of Elbasan on December 9. The debate addressed the role of different actors in the democratic process, identified the main obstacles and needs and aimed to raise awareness among the local public opinion on the need for greater activism and participation. Participants in the debate included students, local journalists, and representatives of civil society. The debate focused on subjects such as the role of different actors in catering to local communities, such as civil society and media, the impact of national and local media on local communities, the image of these media in the communities, etc. Specific attention was paid to social media and new civic groups in the local level, attempts at activism for local benefit, etc. The debate was broadcast by local television Skampa TV. The organization of the debate was supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy.
TV debate on social media activism in Elbasan
Presentation of monitoring print media on children coverage
Albanian Media Institute organized on December 17 a roundtable to present the findings of a monitoring of print media on children coverage. Participants were journalists, editors, and civil society representatives. The monitoring aimed at studying the main trends in children's coverage in mainstream daily newspapers through a monitoring of main daily newspapers for a period of four months. Some of the main indicators that the methodology considered regarding children's coverage was the space devoted to children, ethical coverage of extreme cases, such as natural disasters, domestic violence, accidents, etc. Another aspect that was paid attention to was that of endeavors for more in-depth reporting of topics affecting children, such as education, health, safety, etc. The analysis focused on two aspects, the professional one (ethics, sources of information, topics, etc) and the social one (the way this coverage affects society.) The monitoring was published as a small booklet, titled "Minor, yet important: Reporting on children-related issues in the print media." One of the main findings of the monitoring is that in spite of ongoing improvement on media reporting of children, this group is still on the fringe of media attention. The prevailing stories focus on crime reporting, while there is a lack of inspiring stories and portraits on children, and ethical violations on publication of personal data still persist. The monitoring and its publication were supported by Save the Children.
Contest on writing development story on Roma and Egyptians
In fall 2014, a contest was launched to encourage responsible reporting on ethnic minorities' issues in Albania, with a special focus on Roma and Egyptian communities. The contest was not limited to mainstream media and working journalists, but also included local media and students of journalism. The applications were appraised based on the range and relevance of topics of reports, angle chosen, contribution to improving diversity and public understanding of Roma and Egyptian issues, and novelty in covering minorities in the media.
In order to announce the winners of the contest, a public event was organized on December 12. Participants were greeted by Ms. Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, Resident Advisor of the United Nations in Albania, who stressed the importance of promoting diversity in the society and the role of the media in this aspect. Afterwards, the three winners were presented with the awards. The first prize was awarded to Ben Andoni from weekly magazine "Java," the second prize was awarded to Erida Gjermeni from Vizion + TV and the third prize was given to Julinda Jemishaj, student for Master's degree in Journalism, University of Tirana. In the name of the jury, Rrapo Zguri, professor at the Department of Journalism at the University of Tirana, presented the awards. The contest was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of UNDP Albania and EU.
Manual on reporting Roma and Egyptian communities
The manual for journalists on "How to report on ethnic minorities' issues mainly focusing on Roma and Egyptians communities" was published in December, based on best similar practices in the region and beyond, adapted to the local context. The manual addresses several issues, such as reporting diversity as part of the media's public mission, ways of reporting diversity, sources of information to use, care for language used, use of images, photos, and videos, ethical considerations in online media and social networks, Roma and Egyptians in humor performances in the media, etc. During the process for drafting the manual were consulted codes of ethics, manuals, guides on reporting diversity and analysis of Roma coverage in the media by other countries. In addition, previous monitoring of media coverage of Roma and Egyptian minorities in Albanian press were considered, trying to address the specific nature of the local context in the final form of the manual. The manual was launched in two workshops that took place respectively in Tirana on December 12, and in Korca on December 18. The workshops brought together journalists, civil society representatives, and representatives from Roma and Egyptian minorities. The manual was drafted by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of UNDP.
Roundtable on state and private advertisement
A roundtable on state and private advertisement in the media was organized on December 22. The roundtable focused on the presentation of the research carried out on this topic by the Albanian Media Institute. The research focused on regulation of public funds to media companies, fairness and transparency of the process, and trends in allocating these funds through the years. The research presented data on the funds main media companies had obtained from the state in the last three years, comparing the trends for each year, related also to the editorial policy of each media company. In addition, specific attention was paid to explain and discuss the current way media market functions, its manner of operations, transparency level, and pressure on media independence due to financial reasons. Participants, who were journalists, editors, and civil society representatives, also discussed the current state of the media market in the country, the potential for diversification of sources of financing, and the pressure the media face in view of such situation. They also emphasized the pressure on journalists and especially on labor relations as a result of market situation, leading to important professional problems, as well. This roundtable was organized by the Albanian Media Institute with the support of European Union.