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New Code of Ethics and Ethical Guidelines for Online Journalism


The New Code of Ethics and the Ethical Guidelines for Online Journalism were presented at an event organized on March 29, 2018, in Tirana, with the participation of journalists, editors, representatives of regulatory authority, academics, civil society organizations, and media partners and actors in Albania, like OSCE, USAID, OSFA, etc. The final version of these documents went through a process of revision and exchange with similar practices and documents in other countries, as well as through a round of consultations with stakeholders in Albania.

The Roundtable was opened by Remzi Lani, director of Albanian Media Institute, who introduced the work done in the framework of the project and the future use of these two fundamental documents. Olsi Dekovi, Deputy Head of Office of Council of Europe office in Tirana highlighted the support that Council of Europe provides to initiatives relating to media freedom, media ethics, and professionalism, providing also a general overview of the main work being done in this regard in the framework of Council of Europe.

Afterwards, the two authors of the Code of Ethics, Lutfi Dervishi, and Mark Marku, presented the final version of the Code, stressing the efforts to incorporate the valuable feedback of the participants in the consultation process and making also the difference with the previous version of the Code. In addition, Darian Pavli and Blendi Salaj presented the finalized version of the Ethical Guidelines for Online Journalism, focusing on the main issues that online media professionalism presents and how these guidelines tried to address and solve ethical dilemmas in this respect.

The roundtable continued with general discussion on the documents presented and also on the need to implement them in the current stage of media professionalism problems. The definition and role of professional journalists was addressed during the discussion, as well as the possibilities of implementing the Code in the current context of the Albanian media development and the challenges in focusing on ethics when journalists suffer from other problems related to their economic and social status. Finally Koloreto Cukali, director of Media Council, closed the roundtable with a briefing on the commitment of the Media Council to promoting media ethics in the country, based on the revised Code of Ethics and the Ethical Guidelines of Online Journalism.

This effort was part of a project implemented by Albanian Media Institute and the Media Council, with the support of a joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe.
Training course on media literacy and ethical challenges in new media and online journalism
TrajnimiIn the framework of the Project "Towards improved labour relations and professionalism in the Albanian Media", supported by European Union, the Albanian Media Institute organized on November 21-23, 2018, the training course "Media literacy and ethical challenges in new media and online journalism".

Participants included journalists from mainstream media in the country, media trainers, expert and lecturers of the Department of Journalism. Trainer of the course was Prof. Tapio Varis of University of Tampere, Finland. Prof. Varis is Principal Research Associate at UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, and member of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education.

During this course the participants learned about the main ethical challenges that new media and online journalism face today, against a background of increasing number of actors in massive information through internet. The significant spread of fake news, revival of hate speech, disinformation and conspiracy theories, and systematic violations of privacy are some of the challenges that journalism faces today. Media Literacy and Media Freedom: approaches by EU and UNESCO, conflicts and global focus, civilizational challenges; Multicultural communication and journalism: cultural and identity issues, international dimension; Global media and journalism: mainstream media, alternative media, social media, journalistic norms and ethics - were the main topics that prof. Varis discussed with participants. This was the first course in a series of training courses on current challenges of journalism that AMI will organize during this project.
Workshop for Civil Society Organizations on Media and Information Literacy
TrainingAlbanian Media Institute organized a workshop for civil society organizations on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) on January 25, 2019. 15 participants attended the course, coming from civil society organizations. Trainers were Valbona Sulçe, communication expert, and Rrapo Zguri, professor of journalism. The participants focus their work on different areas, such as media and journalism development, access to public information and its use for empowerment of citizens, media outlets working as community media, youth organizations, and also legal initiatives and protection for citizens. The aim of the training was to provide CSOs with a greater knowledge and understanding of MIL definition, approaches, and trends, in a way that can be useful for the work in their own organizations.

In order to tailor do the different needs and knowledge level of participants on MIL, the training included both an introductory session to MIL, and also a more specialized session to focus on various target groups and aims of the participants in the context of MIL. The trainers focused on MIL definition, main trends, the evolution of the concept through the years, and the need to address and engage in MIL in view of the ongoing disinformation and manipulation trends.

The training proceeded with discussing with participants the different teaching methods on MIL and how to choose the right one for the target group of their work. In particular the trainers focused on ways of teaching MIL to children, methods of engaging youth, and also senior citizens. They also focused on media and diversity and in particular on community journalism, where the trainers provided an analysis on the importance of understanding media impact on creating perceptions and stereotypes of the Other, as well as ways to prevent hate speech and other related problems.

This was the first workshop for civil society organizations, engaging the trainers that followed the Training of Trainers session on October 2018. The series of workshops will continue throughout the project Media for Citizens - Citizens for Media (2018-2021), which is a EU-funded project, aiming to build the capacities of CSOs with a wide range of activities to advance media and information literacy in the Western Balkans. A group of seven SEENPM members, including Albanian Media Institute, and led by Mediacentar Sarajevo, implement the project.
Capacity building and leadership training course for journalists associations and media organisations
TrainingIn the framework of the project "Towards improved labour relations and professionalism in the Albanian Media", supported by European Union, the Albanian Media Institute, in co-operation with International Federation of Journalists, organized on December 5-7, 2018 a training course on Capacity building and leadership training course for journalists associations and media organisations.

Participants included directors and representatives of the main associations of journalists and media organizations working in Albania. The training was led by Adrien Collin, project coordinator of the International Federation of Journalists, and Marc Gruber, consultant. The training course focused on empowering staff members and management of these organizations in key fields such as project development, project accounting, project management. A dedicated session covered issues of recruitment, governance, organisational structures etc.

The participants, a part of whom were directors of the branches of the Union of Albanian Journalists in the districts, shared their experiences and problems in their efforts to improve working conditions of journalists and defend their professional rights. They mentioned the need to equip CSOs with the necessary skills to be able to defend journalist rights in terms of labour and professionalism ultimately leading to improved working conditions of journalists in Albania. The course also discussed the main topics and challenges of the Sub-granting Scheme that AMI has published in the framework of this project.

This was the first course in a series of training courses on Capacity building and leadership for journalists associations and media organisations.
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