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Report on Media and Information Literacy and the role of public institutions in Albania
"Role of Public Institutions in Media and Information Literacy Development in Albania" is the title of the latest report on situation of media and information literacy policies in Albania, published by Albanian Media Institute. The report focuses on providing an overview of the media and information literacy (MIL) initiatives in the country from state, public, and private bodies and civil society organisations, analysing the main trends in the field of MIL. Efforts to address this field are still rare, lack a cohesive effort and vision, and are sporadic rather than ongoing projects.

The report concludes that official policy visibly favours ICT, while critical thinking on media and information is not seen as a priority in education. Efforts of civil society to fill this void have not been particularly successful or long-term. Even though ongoing, they have been fragmented and involve a limited number of players; a concerted effort of various players would ensure a greater success of such initiatives. Finally, the public debate and existing efforts visibly favour prohibitionist tendencies towards media and information rather than seeking to educate and nurture, and they favour child safety over education and awareness. Against this background, the research report focuses on exploring the role of media-related public bodies in MIL - universities, the public broadcaster, the regulator, self-regulatory mechanisms - seeking to determine which factors affect the current role and impact of public institutions in promoting MIL among the population.

EU-logoThe publication was produced within the regional program Media for Citizens - Citizens for Media : Strengthening the Capacity of NGOs for the Development of Media and Information Literacy in the Western Balkans" , implemented with the support of the European Union by partner organizations Mediacentar Sarajevo, Albanian Media Institute, Macedonian Institute for Media, Montenegro Media Institute, Novi Sad School of Journalism, Peace Institute, SEENPM. The publication can be downloaded in Albanian here:
Media for Citizens - Citizens for Media: State of MIL and What is to be Done?

Seventy media and information literacy (MIL) experts, journalists, civil society activists and representatives of education sector and state agencies gathered on 23 November in Novi Sad at a major regional conference on MIL. The event, organized by the Novi Sad School of Journalism, was part of a three year project "Media for Citizens - Citizens for Media," implemented by the members of the Network of Professionalization of Media in South East Europe (SEENPM) in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia. The aim of the conference was to establish the current state of MIL in the Western Balkans through analyzing ongoing initiatives, activities and strategies, and to enable experience exchange among actors from different sectors and countries. The event opened by presentation of preliminary results of research, conducted within the project, focused on the analysis of MIL policy and practice in each of the project countries.

The next session continued with the topic of MIL Policy and Practice, aimed at examining whether MIL policies keep up with MIL practice in the region as civil society organizations are often the leaders in advocating MIL and promoting MIL skills and knowledge. The participants at the conference also had the chance to share their own experience and initiatives in the field of media and information literacy. Over three parallel sessions, representatives of media, education, and civil society sectors presented MIL initiatives in their countries, learning from each other's experience.

The project "Media for Citizens - Citizens for Media" will continue until January 2021 with a range of national and regional activities in the Western Balkan countries, including advocacy, media production, publishing, training programs and programs of knowledge and experience exchange, as well as with a program of small grants for MIL initiatives.

For more detailed information on the conference: http://seenpm.org/media-citizens-citizens-media-state-mil-done/

The introductory chapters of the research on MIL: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia .
Three EU-supported projects in the media field start implementation
TrainingIn the framework of the project "Towards improved labor relations and professionalism in the Albanian Media", supported by European Union, the Albanian Media Institute, in co-operation with International Federation of Journalists, selected three projects of Albanian media associations and organizations among the applications for the first call of sub-grants within this project.

The Union of Albanian Journalists will implement the project "Structuring the Organization with Capacities Against Informality". The project aims, on one hand, to restructure the Union of Albanian Journalists, and, on the other hand, to investigate informality in the work relationships of journalists at the national level and informing institutional decision-making.

Informal employment remains a problem of great concern in Albanian media. In the conditions when the media organization or companies do not release data on employment or other statistical data, including staffing situation, insurances coverage, etc, UAJ will conduct an investigation that will result in initiate in a panoramic and statistical report that will shed light on the current situation in the media labor market.

The change the project aims to achieve cannot be fulfilled without a strong organized Union, which not only would defend the rights of the journalists but also set the example for other associations to follow; creating in this way a chain reaction that would empower journalists. In this context, the Union will aim to boost and expand the local branches for a broader and improved representation in order to face the challenges of an informal media labor market. In addition, the Union will be responsible for structuring its local branches to incorporate journalists of public media and to offer them the possibility of organized self-representation through a formal structure.

Finally, the Union plans to hold elections in the local branches it has in cities other than Tirana. An intensive informative campaign will be implemented by the Union to inform the public on the general goals and activities of the Union of Albanian Journalists and the specific activities of the local branches. (Union of Albanian Journalists website: http://unionigazetareve.com/ FB: https://www.facebook.com/UnioniIGazetareveShqiptare/ )

Albanian Media Council will implement the project "Self-regulation - ACT 1". The main goal of the project is to enhance the understanding of the general public about self-regulation on one hand and the consolidation of the Albanian Media Council on the other. The aim of the Project is to make the public not only understand what is the self-regulation and the complaining process, but, more importantly, to raise public awareness that self-regulation works only if the public is actively involved in this process.

Project will initiate a Communication/PR campaign for AMC, consisting in visiting various online media offices and explaining them the self-regulation process through informal discussions about the Code of Ethics and Guidelines.

Project will follow with producing promotional materials for self-regulation - especially two targeted info-videos. AMC intends to produce two info-graphics with a high production value and try to make them viral in social media, aiming to reach around 50,000 people for each of the info-graphics. Additional traditional tools of promotion will be also produced, such as leaflets with info-graphics. These will be particularly useful for the visits in the media newsrooms and the Universities. Project consists also in visiting four University Cities (Shkodër, Vlorë, Durrës, Korçë) to promote and discuss with local journalists and students about self regulation. AMC will organize extended discussions with students of journalism and other branches on issues of self-regulation, media literacy and new media. Local journalists will also take part in the discussions.

Project will support also monthly meetings of the Board of Ethics, which will address complaints and also discuss the findings from the Monitoring team of the Media Observatory. (Albanian Media Council website: http://kshm.al/ , FB: https://www.facebook.com/AlbanianMediaCouncil/ )

Finally, the Albanian Center for Quality Journalism, in cooperation with the Citizens Channel, will implement the project "Reaching for fair labor conditions: Gazing at the future of Young and Prospective Journalists". The principal goal of the project is raising awareness on the issue of job relations and benefits of young and prospective journalists, and the action for the introduction of legal and administrative remedies for the safeguard of their rights.

This goal will be achieved through the accomplishment of the Project activities, that will include a comprehensive overview of the situation of young and prospective media workers and the conduction of a national survey with young journalists and journalism and mass communication students; carrying out a comprehensive overview of the legal framework granting rights and benefits to journalists, and the best practices implemented in EU Member States for the issue of internships while studying, with a concentration on the aforementioned group of beneficiaries; the accomplishment of an awareness raising campaign on the issues affecting the young journalists, etc.

The project will also include students of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Faculty of History and Philology, University of Tirana; Public Relations Department, Faculty of Political Science and Law, University of Durrës; Department of Literature and Journalism, Faculty of Humanities, University of Elbasan; and the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Shkodra.

During the implementation of the different activities envisaged for the realization of the project, it is expected that the working group and staff of the two centers implementing the project, will benefit from the capacity building workshops on the legal and research topics, as well as the networking opportunities provided in the outreach campaign as well as the action for the determination of the cooperating groups of students, media managers and media CSO-s. (Albanian Center for Quality Journalism website: http://www.qualityjournalism.com.al/ , FB: https://www.facebook.com/QJournalism/ )
AMI starts new project on media and justice reform in Albania
logo Albanian Media Institute starts the implementation of the new project on media and justice reform in Albania. This project is supported by the "Civil Society programme for Albania and Kosovo" financed by Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KSFC) in partnership with Partners Albania for Change and Development (PA).

Aiming to strengthen the role of the Albanian media in the implementation of the new justice reform in Albania and to improve the professional skills and capacities of Albanian journalists in reporting justice issues this new project consist in following activities:

-The organization of the Justice Reform Media Academy, which will give journalists the necessary knowledge about new legislation and the basic principles of justice reporting and will test them through writing 20 articles on reform implementation.
-The drafting and publication of a Manual for Justice Reporting for Journalists, which would contain on the one hand, the necessary explanations on the new Albanian legislation, and on the other, the implications that this legislation contains for the media and freedom of expression in general, as well as basic principles of media reporting in this field.
- The creation of a Justice Reform Media Monitor that will analyze the tendencies, trends and main problems of media reporting on justice reform and will provide the necessary recommendations.
- The organization of two television debates with experts of the field of justice and media representatives in order to discuss about the progress of the implementation of justice reform and the role of the media in this process.

Twenty Albanian journalists will be trained at the Justice Reform Media Academy and twenty articles on the progress of justice reform will be published during the project duration. On the other hand, a Manual about Media and Justice will be published and distributed to Albanian journalists. Four Monitoring Reports will be published and distributed to an extensive audience. The project will end with two television debates on national TV stations about Media and Justice.

The project duration is 12 months.

For more information about the Project, contact Agim Doksani: gimi@institutemedia.org
AMI trains 20 reporters through the Justice Reform Media Academy
TrainingAlbanian Media Institute organized the two-week course "Justice Reform Media Academy" aimed at training journalists on how to cover justice system issues against the background of the ongoing justice reform. The training was organized on February 25-March 8, with the participation of 20 journalists from print, online, and audiovisual media.

The training course was a combination of knowledge on the justice reform, its institutions, and their effect on the reform process, and the section devoted to professional coverage of the justice reform. During the course the journalists brainstormed with lecturers potential story ideas and went through a coaching process, which will result in a series of stories published on the ongoing justice reform in the country.

In order to become familiar with legislation, legal experts in the first days of the course focused on the Justice Reform, the constitutional amendments, the new legislation, the new institutions of the justice system, the vetting process, and the role of the International Monitoring Operation. Special attention was devoted to the ongoing process and how the media coverage could be improved in this respect.

The training followed through with lecturers instructing participating journalists on the basic principles of reporting on the justice system, focusing also on the specifics of such reporting, as well as on the best formats, content, and approach to media coverage. In particular, they focused on topics such as the line dividing public interest and the right to privacy; open and closed doors; presumption of innocence; rights of the media, etc.

In the final phase of the training the trainers mentored journalists through their proposals for story writing, brainstorming on topics for stories and fine tuning them. The coaching process included presentation of topics and group discussion on them, ideas for contextualization of the topics, on sources of information to be used, and format ideas. The participants will proceed with producing articles on the justice reform, which will be published in Albanian media.

This grant is supported by the "Civil Society programme for Albania and Kosovo", financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF) in partnership with Partners Albania for Change and Development (PA). The content and recommendations do not represent the official position of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Partners Albania for Change and Development (PA).

Press release English
Press release Albanian
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Regional research maps media literacy landscapes in the Western Balkans
TrainingA major research by member organizations of the network Soth East European Network for Professionalization of the Media (SEENPM) finds that countries of the region of the Western Balkans lack comprehensive policies and institutional framework for developing Media and Information Literacy (MIL) in a systematic way and at scale.

The regional research, intended for mapping and better understanding of the situation and development of media and information literacy in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, was conducted in 2018 by researchers from SEENPM member organisations, the Albanian Media Institute, the Mediacentar Sarajevo, the Macedonian Institute for Media, the Montenegro Media Institute and the Novi Sad School of Journalism, under regional coordination of the Peace Institute in Ljubljana.

The book includes five country reports, mapping the status of MIL initiatives in different aspects for each country. Each report focuses on different priorities, such as public policy initiatives related to MIL and the role of public institutions, the role of civil society in promoting MIL, the integration of MIL into the educational system, and comparison of existing policies in Western Balkans with case studies from Western Europe. The publication also includes a regional chapter, which compares the different perspectives and realities in each country, and also emphasizes the need for different actors to work more in the area of media and information literacy. While the regional chapter warns against the trend of considering MIL a cure-all, it also highlights the dire need for addressing and encouraging MIL policies and initiatives in all Western Balkan countries.

EU-logoThe publication was produced within the regional program Media for Citizens - Citizens for Media : Strengthening the Capacity of NGOs for the Development of Media and Information Literacy in the Western Balkans" , implemented with the support of the European Union by partner organizations Mediacentar Sarajevo, Albanian Media Institute, Macedonian Institute for Media, Montenegro Media Institute, Novi Sad School of Journalism, Peace Institute, SEENPM. The publication can be downloaded in English here:
International conference "Children and media literacy: towards new challenges"
TrainingThe Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA), organized the international conference "Children and media literacy: towards new challenges." The conference was organized in the framework of activities marking the 20th anniversary of establishment of the regulator.

At the start of the conference, AMA's chair, Mr. Gentian Sala, stressed the importance of child protection and the ethical coverage of children in media to AMA, citing it as one of the main priorities of his work. AMA's chair focused especially on the role of the public service broadcaster, who should serve as the model that makes the difference, as well as a point of reference in the overall media environment regarding topics of children coverage in the media.

The Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports, Ms. Besa Shahini, spoke of the importance media has currently in educating youth and public opinion. The Minister underlined that it is important to find the proper instruments to educate not just children, but all ages and groups on media functioning and content. Ms. Shahini expressed her openness to the experts' opinion on the potential of implementing media literacy initiatives in Albanian schools.

The director of the Albanian Media Institute, Mr. Remzi Lani, in his speech emphasized the serious approach we have to assume in terms of media literacy. "It is time that media literacy becomes part of the education curricula, from the lowest to the highest levels. In this way we will no longer be blind consumers of what is served to us, but we will be equipped with the necessary critical thinking skills," he said.

The representative of UNICEF in Albania, Mr. Roberto de Bernardi, stressed that the concept "media literacy" has changed through the years, mainly due to the ever-increasing influence of technology on media.

The conference proceeded with presentation and discussion in three panels, focusing on specific topics related to children's rights and media ethics in the framework of audiovisual media. Many institutions and actors that focus on and address problems related to media and child protection participated in the conference.
Second 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 May 21-23 the second 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 Mike Jempson, media consultant. The training course focused on Local Branches - Structures, Roles and Responsibilities; Local Branches - Roles, Responsibilities and Skills of a Branch Representative; Local Branches - Representing members; National Union Recruitment Campaign; Campaigns - Strategic Development; National Union - Strategic Development Plan.

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. 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 second course in a series of training courses on Capacity building and leadership for journalists associations and media organizations.
Four Sub-grants on Media and Information Literacy Initiatives for Civil Society Organisations Awarded
TrainingFour civil society organizations were awarded sub-grants for their project proposals to promote Media and Information Literacy (MIL) practices and policies at local level. The call for proposals was published from Albanian Media Institute from January 25 to February 25, 2019, in the framework of the project "Media for Citizens, Citizens for the Media." The call was open for civil society organizations in Albania focusing on media, education, advocacy, public campaigns and arts, or innovative digital projects. The organizations could apply for two lots of activities for this grant program.

The first lot included projects aimed at supporting enhancement of citizens' media and information literacy skills, while the second lot referred to project initiatives focusing on creative innovations projects promoting innovation and accessibility in MIL education. After completion of administrative check of the 24 project applications received, the National Assessment Committee proceeded with the qualitative evaluation of the project proposals based on the published criteria in the package of the call for proposals. The Commission decided to support four of the project proposals that received the highest evaluations, a decision that was also supported by the Regional Steering Committee.

The list of organizations whose projects will be supported through this grant program is available in the following attachment:

Publication of grant awards in Albania

EU-logoThe sub-grants are awarded within the regional program Media for Citizens - Citizens for Media : Strengthening the Capacity of NGOs for the Development of Media and Information Literacy in the Western Balkans" , implemented with the support of the European Union by partner organizations Mediacentar Sarajevo, Albanian Media Institute, Macedonian Institute for Media, Montenegro Media Institute, Novi Sad School of Journalism, Peace Institute, SEENPM.
OSCE Media Freedom Representative publishes legal review of draft Law on Media Services in Albania
TrainingVIENNA, 11 July 2019 - The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, today published a legal review of the draft Law on Media Services in Albania, after several consultations on the drafting process with Government representatives in recent months.

The analysis by Dr. Joan Barata Mir, an independent media freedom expert, underlines significant improvements compared to the previous versions that were also reviewed and shared with the authorities in January and June this year.

The Representative underlined, "It is necessary that the future legislation respects the international standards and OSCE commitments on freedom of expression and that it does not impact negatively media freedom in the country".

"My Office has been involved in a long process of consultation during the drafting of this legislation," said Desir, "I appreciate the constructive co-operation with the authorities that led to many improvements."

"Nevertheless, further improvements to the law are still needed", said the Representative, expressing hope that this will be done during the parliamentary process. Desir welcomed the fact that under the draft law the electronic publications service providers are not obliged to register in order to perform their activities. He stressed that "the Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA), the regulator of audio-visual media must not be a substitute for the independent judiciary or proper self-regulatory mechanisms on issues of freedom of expression," adding that this also applies to the blocking of content, fines for breaches of the law and the modalities of the right to reply.

The legal analysis states that the regulation of electronic versions of written media, and more broadly of "electronic publication service providers" should not be the same as that of audiovisual media services. It is recommended to exclude the former from the scope of this draft law.

The Representative reminded that blocking or suspending online publications is considered an extreme state measure vis-a-vis the right to freedom of expression, and therefore it is accepted by international standards only in cases of very serious violations of other human rights or democratic principles, or when other measures cannot be applied.

The Representative pointed out that the AMA's competencies regarding "temporary blocking/limiting access to the internet" may only apply in the three clear-cut cases stated in the law: child pornography; encouraging terrorist acts; and national security breaches and where such measures are considered as necessary and proportionate, considering the existence of an imminent risk.

The Representative also indicated that "proper appeal and review mechanisms before the judiciary need to be established as a safeguard for publishers and citizens. In other circumstances, such measures should be dealt with by the criminal justice system. The competences of the AMA should not be extended to dealing with issues such as defamation".

Furthermore, the legal review recommends the clarification of the whole process of the AMA's decision-making with the National Authorities for Electronic Certification and Cyber Security, NAECES, and the Electronic Communications Regulatory body, APEC.

"My Office stands ready to continue providing assistance on this important law. It is of utmost importance that the public consultation process is open and inclusive for all media professionals, journalists' organizations and other relevant domestic and international media stakeholders," concluded the Representative.

The full text of the legal review is available at www.osce.org/representative-on-freedom-of-media/425462

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. He provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.

The pdf document with the full expert opinion is here: