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The Albanian Media Institute is presenting you with the Albanian Media Newsletter. This electronic monthly newsletter tries to keep you updated on the developments of the Albanian media and training activities for journalists at the Albanian Media Institute and elsewhere in Albania. We attempt to provide a glimpse on the evolution of the Albanian media landscape, bringing closer to you the media situation in our country, hoping to provide useful information.
AMI NEWSLETTER - February 2015
PRESS FREEDOM IN ALBANIA SLIGHTLY IMPROVES ACCORDING TO REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS
According to Reporters without Borders, which has recently published the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2015, Albania’s ranking went from 85th in 2014 to 82nd in 2015 out of 180 countries. Comparing the results with last year’s report, media freedom in the most countries of South East Europe is declining, with only three countries marking improvement. Macedonia marked again the lowest ranking, in the 117th position. The Index also noted that Europe has been drifting downwards in the press freedom index for years. It held steady in last year’s index but, overall, it fell again in the 2015 index although the Nordic countries continued to hold the top positions. This general decline reinforces concern about the sustainability of the “European model.”
COURT RULES ON LAWSUIT ON ELECTION OF AMA MEMBERS AND CHAIRMAN
The Administrative Court has rejected the lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party Parliamentary Group. The Democratic Party complained on the process of election of two members of AMA and its chairman, claiming the process was invalid, since the opposition MPs had not participated in the short-listing process, as the law required. In addition, AMA chair was elected before completion of all AMA members vacancies and that several MPs had voted for more than one candidate, the DP lawsuit claimed. The Administrative Court asked for additional acts and documents that would prove their claim, considering the documents submitted incomplete. After the Democratic Party did not submit other documents the court decided to return the lawsuit to the DP Group. Alfred Peza, deputy chair of Parliamentary Commission on Media and representative of the Socialist Party called on his opposition colleagues in early February to start the process for electing AMA’s missing member, but no further steps have been made in this regard.
TRAINING COURSES ON LOCAL NEWS REPORTING
Two training courses on the topic of local news reporting took place in Burrel in February 4-6, and Berat on February 11-13, with the participation of local journalists. The main objective of the courses was to introduce participants to the main facets in the adoption of a local news angle when reporting for local communities. For this purpose the lecturers addressed several issues, such as the specific traits of local media reporting and the specific features of working for a local media, and competition and survival challenges of local media against a backdrop of globalization. The training followed with specific ideas and discussion on how to identify and address the reality at the local level and respond to community interests in reporting, treatment of sources of information, and writing style for local media. Specific attention was paid to interviewing sources of information, challenges of investigative journalism in a small community, writing of features, civic journalism, and challenges of access to journalism in a small community. In addition, the adoption of new technologies in improving local news reporting, as well as the main traits of managing local media outlets were addressed by the lecturers and participants. The courses were organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.
TRAINING COURSE ON DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
“Developments in the Middle East and their global impact” was the topic of the training course organized at the Albanian Media Institute on February 16-17, with the participation of 15 reporters of foreign affairs. The speakers focused on the developments since the Arab Spring, the impact on the region and beyond. They addressed the different stages of the Arab Spring and the ramifications for the geopolitical relations in the region. The situation in each state involved and the effects were also analyzed. Specific attention was paid to foreign actors to the region, their position on these developments and their involvement. The clash of geopolitical interests within and outside the region were part of the discussion, along with the instrumentalization of religion in the war between actors in the region, paying special attention to the current religious balance in these countries. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.
TRAINING COURSE ON SOCIAL NETWORKS AND LOCAL JOURNALISTS
A training course on the topics “Social networks and local journalists” was organized in Lushnja on February 18-20, with the participation of 14 local reporters and editors. The aim of the training course was to introduce local journalists to the existing possibilities and practices in the field of social networks as a source of information, or as a way to explore the audience trends. The participants became familiar to the different ways of promoting and publishing media outlets through the social networks, to the establishment of institutional profiles and pages for the media in these networks, to their exploration for news marketing and distribution, by using networks such as Facebook or Twitter as channels for guiding the audience towards their websites with local news. The course also focused on the ethical range of problems that emerges with the social networks, addressing such phenomena as violation of privacy, identity theft, use of social networks for viral marketing or personal assaults, use of hate speech, etc. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.
TRAINING COURSE ON CHINA AND ITS GEOPOLITICS
“China and its geopolitical impact” was the topic of the training course organized at the Albanian Media Institute on February 9-10, with the participation of 15 reporters of foreign affairs. The course focused on China’s current economic development and its geopolitical role as one of the major global powers. The characteristics of Chinese diplomacy and its interests were analyzed. Specific attention was paid to the changes in foreign policy of the new political generation, especially in regard to other countries in the Asian region. In addition, the lecturers focused more extensively on relations with other global powers, such as Russia and the USA. The discussion addressed the economic and commercial relations of China with the other powers, analyzing how they affect overall foreign policy and the geopolitical role it has. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.
UNION OF JOURNALISTS’ REGIONAL ROUNDTABLE ON MEDIA AND INFORMALITY
Albanian journalists expressed solidarity over the need to respect their rights at the Journalists Friendship Day meeting in Durres on February 10, in view of the pressure from worsening conditions in the media. The meeting was attended by Albanian, Turkish and Kosovar journalists and focused on labor relations and how to tackle the decades-long unpaid social security of Albanian journalists. Focusing on the worsening media situation, Aleksander Çipa, chairman of the Union of Albanian Journalists, said that over 75 percent of journalists are uninsured and some receive their salaries over 3 months late. The social security of over 1,000 journalists has not been paid for 20 years, even though on paper it appears to have been paid. Çipa called on the government and parliament to take steps in order to find a lasting solution to the issue. During the meeting, Albanian journalists condemned the arrest of journalists and media managers in Turkey, expressing their solidarity.
TIRANA TIMES CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY
Tirana Times newspaper, a weekly published in English, celebrated on February 25its 10th anniversary of activity. Politicians, media representatives, and members of civil society participated in the organized event.
BOOK PRESENTATION ON JOURNALISM AND COMMUNICATION
The book “Journalism, information, and communication” was presented to journalists and civil society on February 4. The author is Roberto Baldassari, president of Piepoli Institute and professor of journalism. In his presentation the author provided a detailed description of the media communication in our age. He especially focused on the way the work of reporter has changed with the advent of internet and new technologies. He spoke of new forms and model of journalism, such as citizen reporting. The discussion focused on investigative reporting, relations with PR and impact on news, and multimedia reporting. The presentation was organized by Italian Institute of Culture.
TRAINING COURSE ON NEW MEDIA AND LOCAL JOURNALISM
A training course on the topic “New media and local journalism” was organized in Elbasan on January 7-9, 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. However, the course focused also on the need for local journalists to provide the necessary context and background, independently of the form of publishing or whether the media is traditional or online. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.
SEMINAR ON BALKANS AND EUROPEAN INTEGRATION
A seminar on the topic of Balkans and European integration was organized on January 29-30, with the participation of journalists and editors from print and electronic media. the main aim was to discuss the different stages of development in terms of progress to EU integration from all countries in the Balkans and to analyze common traits and challenges. Specific attention was paid to analysis of current affairs, such as elections in Greece and potential impact on Albania, focusing on the anti-establishment result of voting, the future relation of Greece to EU, and the Albanian-Greek relations. Given the recent events, the lecturers also discussed the situation in Kosovo, focusing on the prolonged government crisis, the relations with the West and the process of negotiations with Serbia. The specific relations of Albania with Serbia and the situation in Macedonia were also discussed against the background of the ongoing processes for EU integration.
The lecturers also addressed in detail the current context of the European Union and is relations with Balkan countries, including the different speeds in the integration process. The discussion was put in the context of a current enlargement fatigue, noting that there are notes of stagnation. The internal problems of Balkan countries also affect the slowing down of this process, along with the sluggish reforms. Specific attention was paid to the position of Serbia in the peninsula, its relations with Russia, and with Kosovo. The course was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.
TRAINING COURSE ON DIVERSITY AND ROMA AND EGYPTIAN MINORITIES
A training course on improving diversity reporting, specifically focusing on Roma amd Egyptians, was organized on January 26-28, with the participation of 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-à-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 analysing the reasons for this interest and ways to increase and improve media coverage on Roma.
TV DEBATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVISM IN SHKODRA
The Albanian Media Institute organized a television debate at the University of Shkoder on January 16. 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 TV Channel1. The organization of the debate was supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy.
TRAINING COURSE ON SOCIAL NETWORKS AND LOCAL JOURNALISTS
A training course on the topics “Social networks and local journalists” was organized in Lezha on January 14-16, with the participation of 14 local reporters and editors. The aim of the training course was to introduce local journalists to the existing possibilities and practices in the field of social networks as a source of information, or as a way to explore the audience trends. The participants became familiar to the different ways of promoting and publishing media outlets through the social networks, to the establishment of institutional profiles and pages for the media in these networks, to their exploration for news marketing and distribution, by using networks such as Facebook or Twitter as channels for guiding the audience towards their websites with local news. The course also focused on the ethical range of problems that emerges with the social networks, focusing on such phenomena as violation of privacy, identity theft, use of social networks for viral marketing or personal assaults, use of hate speech, etc. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.
TRAINING COURSE ON IMPROVING REPORTING OF VULNERABLE GROUPS
A training course aiming to improve reporting of vulnerable groups in the media was organized on January 21-23, with the participation of journalists from mainstream print and electronic media. The course focused specifically on reporting issues related to terminal patients and palliative care. For this purpose, lecturers came both from public health field and from the media. Journalists became familiar with the way palliative care is regulated in the country, focusing on public health principles and the existing processes in this field. Specific attention was paid in explaining the principles, objectives, and policies related to palliative care. In addition, participants were briefed on the existing services on palliative care, the organization of these services, and the need to raise awareness on the service. Attention was also paid to the need to raise awareness on the media in this regard, focusing on the needs and policies that surround palliative care, making it part of the public debate. Specific cases reported in the media were analyzed and journalists and experts discussed recommendations on how to improve reporting in this field. The course was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Soros Foundation.
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