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Copyright: Albanian Media Institute - Instituti Shqiptar i Medias, 2011
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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.
Report on Albanian media and Council of Europe standards launched
RaportiAlbanian Media Institute launched the report "Albanian media scene vs. European Standards" on April 24 in Tirana. The report, supported financially by the Embassy of the Netherlands, is an assessment of the media situation in the country, following the Council of Europe's Indicators for media in a democracy. The study concludes that only a few of the 27 principles have been consistently implemented in Albania. While Albanian legislation has been mostly harmonized to European regulation, the enforcement of the principles does not always measure up to their standards, due to incomplete or inconsistent legal regulation, weakness of institutions that enforce them, as well as the influence of other economic or political actors, along with the economic and social status of journalists.

Dewi van de Weerd, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Albania stressed the importance of free media in a democracy and the support that the Netherlands provides to civil society and free media. "Journalists should be able to speak their minds freely and have time and space to investigate into stories that are important to the public," she states in the foreword to the study. During the meeting she said that such studies could be periodical, highlighting the importance of regular assessment of media freedom in the country.

Remzi Lani, director of the Albanian Media Institute, said that Albania lacks a cohesive media strategy or policy and such reports could be useful in adopting a more research-based policy approach for overall approach to media. The report's main findings were introduced by Ilda Londo, researcher at Albanian Media Institute. The contributors to the study also intervened, including Dorian Matlija from Respublica, Aleksandër Çipa from Union of Albanian Journalists, Aleksandra Bogdani from BIRN Albania, Rrapo Zguri from Department of Journalism at University of Tirana, and Blendi Salaj from Media Council.

Read the Report in English
Read the Report in Albanian
One third of journalists work without contracts
RaportiAccording to a recent survey of the Albanian Media Institute, a third of journalists and media employees currently do not have a work contract, while only 24% of the respondents said that they had had a contract during their career in the media. Asked whether they had been fired from their job, 32% said that it had happened, mainly due to media shutting down or the restructure of the newsroom, but in many cases they were also fired without any motivation.

The survey identified again long-standing problems with the media situation in Albania, such as problems with work contracts, their fictivity, the violation of labour rights, problems with salaries, etc.

The level of salaries and their irregular disbursement were other problems the journalists identified. 55% of the respondents said that the salary they received was lower than the average salary of the public sector and 59% said that there are delays in disbursement of the salary occasionally or even all the time, sometimes for several months in a row. 45% of respondents stated that there were fines applied wihtin the newsroom, for professional and disciplinary reasons, lowering even more the financial awards for journalists. Similarly, 67% of the respondents said that it was not a practive in their media to have bonus payments or payment for overtime work.

Respecting the labour conditions was also another problem, as 54% of respondents said that labour conditions are violated regularly or ocasionally by the employers. According to the survey, the daily work hours are violated for 68% of the respondents, while there are also violations for weekly and annual holidays, too.

58% of respondents said that the workload has increased compared to two years ago. In general 42% of respondents said that they thought the employment situation for journalists had not changed compared to two years ago, while for 32% of them the situation has further deteriorated.

The survey is part of a project the Albanian Media Institute is implementing with the International Federation of Journalists, with the support of the European Union.

Read the Report in Albanian
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.
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 .
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.
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