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Newsletters Archive
AMI Newsletters             2016

January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December

Dear readers,
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 - March 2016


EU INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM AWARD LAUNCHED IN ALBANIA

The EU Investigative Journalism Award was launched on March 11 in Tirana. Participants included journalists, media experts, university professors, and civil society representatives. They became 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, their professionalism and deontology. The call will be opened until April 4, 2016.

PARLIAMENT APPROVES AMENDMENT TO FORMULA FOR ELECTING PBS DIRECTOR

The parliament approved the amendment for the election of the General Director of public broadcaster RTSH on March 10, during the plenary session. The amendment was voted only from the ruling majority, due to opposition’s selective participation in the parliament proceedings. The amendment was submitted by Socialist Party MP Alfred Peza and passed in the Parliamentary Media Commission on February 29, only with the votes of the ruling majority. According to the new amendment, the General Director will need 3/5 of votes of Steering Council members to be elected. If this does not happen in the first three rounds, he/she can be elected in the next two rounds through simple majority. In case all five rounds fail, the Steering Council will be dissolved. The amendment was earlier opposed by the Democratic Party, who saw this as a move to appoint a political person and a personal friend of the Prime Minister as the director of RTSH. Before the voting yesterday the Union of Albanian Journalists also issued a statement, calling on MPs to refrain from voting this amendment. 


REPORTING DIVERSITY TRAINING COURSE

A 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-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 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.

STUDY TRIP OF SERBIAN JOURNALISTS TO ALBANIA

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 FORUM ON REPORTING DIVERSITY

A 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.

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.


AMI NEWSLETTER - January 2016


ROUNDTABLE ON IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY OF GOVERNMENT INFORMATION AND OF MEDIA FUNDING

A roundtable on the topic of transparency of government and of its media funding was organized on January 13. Participants included journalists from mainstream media, civil society representatives, and officials from public institutions. The aim of the roundtable was to discuss the current problems in transparency of use of public funds for the media and the main practices in this field, as well as identify potential recommendations for improving the situation. During the roundtable the findings of a flash report on state-media financial relations were presented. The findings focused on main practices in distributing government ads, the role of advertising agencies, the selective transparency vis-a-vis media businesses, the problems with labor relations in the media, etc. In addition, during the roundtable the results of the testing of the new law on freedom of information were presented, in an exercise that involved obtaining information on government advertising in the media through FOIA requests. The discussion with the participants highlighted the problems in implementing this law and the main trends in lack of government transparency vis-a-vis media and citizens, the way this affects media practices, the role of the Commissioner for Right to Information, etc. The activity was part of the advocacy component of the South East Europe Media Observatory project, funded by EU.

REGIONAL FORUM ON DIVERSITY IN ELBASAN

A regional forum on ethical reporting of diversity and ethical guidelines on coverage of vulnerable groups was organized in Elbasan on January 28. 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.

REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMMUNICATION OF CITIZEN PROTESTS

A regional conference titled "Communication in the context of citizen protests: The experiences from the SEE region" was held at Mediacentar Sarajevo on 21 January, 2016. The main goal of the conference was to present and discuss the research conducted in the period 2014 -2015 within the RRPP-funded project Communication practices in the context of social uprisings and requests for public accountability. The project has been implemented by three institutions: Media and Civil Society Development Foundation “Mediacentar” (FMC), School of Journalism and Public Relations (SJPR) and Albanian Media Institute (AMI), and has been mentored by the Peace Institute Ljubljana within the RRPP Institutional Research Partnership programme. The research focused on the way the protests were framed in the media content and on how the three major stakeholders (journalists, activists and party/government officials) perceived the communication practices during the protests.
The conference brought together more than 30 participants - researchers, media experts, politicians, journalists and activits from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Macedonia and Slovenia - who shared their experiences and discussed recommendations on how to enhance communication between government, citizens and the media in the course of citizen protests and social uprisings. The research findings for the Albanian report were presented by Ilda Londo, while
the viewpoint of protesters in the country was represented by Blendi Salaj, journalist and protester from Albania. He noted that protests in his country attracted a lot of media attention, but journalists in the mainstream media used to „take sides“ and cover stories from „specific political angle“. The final conclusion from the discussion was that the citizen protests were to be expected in the future, but their actual impact would remain questionable without better communication and more openness as well as professionalism of the government and media. For this to happen, substantial structural changes would be necessary.

STUDY TRIP OF ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS TO SERBIA

A study trip for five Albanian journalists and editors was organized on January 26-27 in Belgrade, 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 aims to better know the realities of both countries, to expand the contacts between media professionals and to improve reporting neighbors in the region. For this purpose, the meetings of Albanian journalists in Belgrade included representatives from civil society, such as Sonja Biserko from the Serbian Helsinki Committee, Sonja Licht, from the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, and Dusan Janjic from the Forum for Ethnic Relations. 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 state officials, such as Sasa Mirkovic, State Secretary for Information, and the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 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. Specific attention in the meetings was also paid to exchange with journalists, with the participation of Vukasin Obradovic, from NUNS association, Milorad Ivanovic, chief editor of Newsweek Serbia, and Veran Matic from B92. The talks with journalists focused on media coverage of Albania and Kosovo, 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.

TRAINING COURSE ON IMPROVING REPORTING OF VULNERABLE GROUPS

A training course aiming to improve reporting of vulnerable groups in the media and cooperation of media with civil society was organized on January 20-22, with the participation of 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 focused specifically on reporting issues related to terminal patients and palliative care. 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.


AMI NEWSLETTER - February 2016


PROCESS OF LICENSING DIGITAL COMMERCIAL MULTIPLEXES FAILS

The Board of the regulator, Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA,) convened on February 1 to make a decision on granting national commercial digital licenses, but failed to do so after two board members voted against such a decision. More specifically, Sami Neza and Suela Musta, the two members elected with the support of the opposition and who have refused to participate in previous meetings, voted against granting the licenses.
According to AMA statement, these members argued that the beauty contest procedure was supposed to grant licenses for a transition period, meaning until the official deadline for digital switchover of June 17, 2015. Since the deadline has passed, they argued that the applicants should not receive the license. The beauty contest procedure was opened in spring 2015, but for many months the regulator has not been able to make a decision, due to the lack of quorum in the Board.

AMENDMENTS PROPOSED TO CHANGE ELECTION OF PBS DIRECTOR

The ruling majority submitted on February 12 an amendment aiming to change the way the General Director of the public broadcaster RTSH is elected. The current requirement in the law is for 2/3 of votes of all eleven members of the Steering Council to elect the director. According to the proposed amendment, the voting process will take place in two tiers. In the first three rounds, the Steering Council will try to elect the General Director with 3/5 of votes. If they do not manage, two more rounds will be held, if necessary, where simple majority of votes is required. If they still fail to elect the director, the Steering Council will be dissolved. According to the ruling majority, this amendment aims to solve the deadlock in the election of this key figure of public broadcaster, since for almost eight months the Steering Council has not succeeded in electing the new general director. The opposition maintained that there could be no unilateral changes to the law and any amendments should be discussed also with international bodies, given their consultancy in drafting the law.

REGIONAL FORUMS ON DIVERSITY

Two regional forums on ethical reporting of diversity and ethical guidelines on coverage of vulnerable groups were organized in Shkoder on February 18, and in Lushnje on February 24, respectively. Participants included local journalists, correspondents for national media, local government representatives and civil society organizations working in the region. The forums were 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 forums 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 forums 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 forums 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 forums were organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Soros Foundation.

“THE AGREEMENT” DOCUMENTARY MOVIE PROJECTION

“The agreement” was the documentary movie that was screened for an audience of students, academics, and civil society representatives on February 3 in Tirana. The documentary focuses on the difficult process of negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia, with EU mediation. In 2011, representatives from Serbia and Kosovo met for the first time since Kosovo declared independence in 2008. And the chief European Union negotiator, Robert Cooper, allowed cameras to record the action. The screened documentary showed those delicate talks. The film documents the follies and frustrations the proceedings take and how the three main representatives in negotiations work to try and get consensus, despite the unpopular nature of the talks back in their home countries. National pride and compromise are the keywords, while stakes are particularly high. The movie is about an important historical moment, delving deep into a political process, but without losing track of the quirk details of the protagonists. The movie projection was followed by a round of discussion among participants in the event. The screening was organized by Albanian Media Institute, in cooperation with Frontline Club.

TRAINING COURSE ON IMPROVING REPORTING OF VULNERABLE GROUPS

A training course aiming to improve reporting of vulnerable groups in the media and cooperation of media with civil society was organized on February 10-12, with the participation of 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 focused specifically on reporting issues related to gender issues. The participants became familiar with a summary of existing international and national legislation on gender equality and discussed ways of reporting this matter in the media.  Specific attention was paid to the coverage of domestic violence, since this is one of the most covered phenomena in Albanian media, discussing ethics, public interest in coverage of these events, the need to raise awareness, etc. The trainers discussed with participants also ways to positively cover gender equality, analyzing specific case studies of media coverage. The course was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Soros Foundation.


AMI NEWSLETTER - March 2016


EU INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM AWARD LAUNCHED IN ALBANIA

The EU Investigative Journalism Award was launched on March 11 in Tirana. Participants included journalists, media experts, university professors, and civil society representatives. They became 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, their professionalism and deontology. The call will be opened until April 4, 2016.

PARLIAMENT APPROVES AMENDMENT TO FORMULA FOR ELECTING PBS DIRECTOR

The parliament approved the amendment for the election of the General Director of public broadcaster RTSH on March 10, during the plenary session. The amendment was voted only from the ruling majority, due to opposition’s selective participation in the parliament proceedings. The amendment was submitted by Socialist Party MP Alfred Peza and passed in the Parliamentary Media Commission on February 29, only with the votes of the ruling majority. According to the new amendment, the General Director will need 3/5 of votes of Steering Council members to be elected. If this does not happen in the first three rounds, he/she can be elected in the next two rounds through simple majority. In case all five rounds fail, the Steering Council will be dissolved. The amendment was earlier opposed by the Democratic Party, who saw this as a move to appoint a political person and a personal friend of the Prime Minister as the director of RTSH. Before the voting yesterday the Union of Albanian Journalists also issued a statement, calling on MPs to refrain from voting this amendment. 

REPORTING DIVERSITY TRAINING COURSE

A 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-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 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.

STUDY TRIP OF SERBIAN JOURNALISTS TO ALBANIA

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 FORUM ON REPORTING DIVERSITY

A 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.

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.

 

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