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AMI NEWSLETTER - January - February 2002
PARLIAMENT REJECTS NCRT ANNUAL REPORT
The report presented by the chairman of the National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) failed to obtain the necessary 2/3 quorum on February 28. MPs from the opposition voiced harsh concerns and charges regarding the NCRT’s job for the past year, whereas the ruling majority’s members stressed the improvement of its work, albeit the existing imperfections. Some of the main charges against NCRT were the application of double standards in fines and license and frequency granting, its lack of objectivity and politicization, and unfair monitoring. Although representatives of the ruling majority called on the opposition to support NCRT’s report, their appeal was turned down. In case the report is turned down a second time, the NCRT has to be dispersed. On October 2000, NCRT granted national licenses only to three TVs and two radios, which sparked a controversy that has not faded away yet.
A study trip of six Albanian journalists from electronic and print media took place in late February in Switzerland. The knowledge gained by this study tour would serve to a more enlightened report on the future visit of Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Joseph Deiss to Albania. The main aim of this visit was to get acquainted with the Swiss political system, its main foreign and domestic policy trends, and especially the bilateral relations and cooperation between Switzerland and Albania.
In the course of the visit the team of journalists held meetings with Mr. Deiss, representatives of the Ministry of Economics, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, as well as representatives with some of the international organizations with headquarters in Geneva. The Albanian journalists also paid visit to the national public radio and to a local paper, exchanging experience and establishing contacts with the local journalists. This visit was organized by the Swiss Embassy in Tirana and Presence, Switzerland.LOCAL JOURNALISTS MEET LOCAL GOVERNMENT
A group of 19 journalists from print and electronic local media outlets participated in a debate with representatives of the local media and visited some of the media outlets operating in the county of Dibra. In the course of the debate, which took place on February 23, the main issue was the reciprocal and transparent relations that have to be established between the local government representatives and the local journalists. The participants agreed that both sides must attempt better efforts of cooperation, and that local media should occupy a more important role in the framework of the media law that is being drafted at the moment.
The Danish ambassador in Albania, the DANIDA coordinator for Albania, representatives from the Council of Europe, and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for the media, participated in the discussion. The mayors of Kucova, Saranda, and Peshkopi, as well as Deputy Minister of Local Government represented the local government in the country. This debate was organized and supported by the Danish Embassy and the Albanian Media Institute.ON-LINE JOURNALISM TRAINING
A training course on on-line journalism took place at the Albanian Media Institute in late February, with the participation of about 20 journalists from print and electronic media based in Tirana and other districts. This course aimed at teaching journalists the main principles and advantages of using Internet in the course of their daily tasks. Some of the topics addressed were credible and useful Internet sources, search engines, reference sites and main pages of interest, searching newsgroups, relevant media sites and journalism links, etc. Trainer was Mike McKean from the Department of Journalism at the University of Missouri. The course was organized and supported by the American Embassy in Tirana.NEW SURVEY OF AUDIENCE RESEARCH
A new statistical survey of media audience research was presented on February 15. This publication is a collection of a print and electronic media audience research conducted in May 2001 in 14 districts. The major part of the survey deals with these districts’ sampled viewers’ preferences of radios and TVs, both on a national and local scale. The survey also carries information on readability of daily newspapers and weekly magazines by the readers sampled in these districts. The media audience research was completed by the Institute of Survey and Opinions and supported by IREX, USAID.ROUND TABLE ON MEDIA AND POLITICS
On February 10 the Albanian Media Institute and the German Television ZDF organized a round table on the topic "Relations between Media and Politics," with the participation of publishers, editors, media analysts, and members of parliament. Also, Doris Pack, Member of European Parliament responsible for Southeast Europe, was present. The participants discussed on several topics relevant to the development of a free, independent media, such as editorial policy and its conditioning by economic and political pressure, the roots and purposes of media financing, the media becoming a tool for politicians, etc. Other issues addressed at the round table were also the government policy in advertisement distribution, the lack of working contracts for journalists, and hindrance by the government to real access to information.TEAM REPORTING
A team-reporting project, involving eight young reporters, from January 21 to February 2, took place at the Albanian Media Institute. The final product of this project was a series of articles on human trafficking, for the first time considering it from the viewpoint of young Albanian girls returning to their country after working on the streets of Italy. The reporters found out that young girls barely out of puberty and abducted or enticed into the sex trade return home facing a government, police establishment, families, and neighbors, who despise them as common criminals, and reject them as victims of one of organized crime’s most vicious trades.
This project aimed at introducing the journalists to the team reporting concept where reporting and writing duties are shared so none of the stories carries bylines. The project was jointly organized by The Media Diversity Institute in London, The Center for War, Peace and the News Media in New York, and the Albanian Media Institute in Tirana. The project was funded by the U.S. State Department and the EC.END OF SWISS RADIO TRAINING
On January 25 a press conference at the Albanian Media Institute took place to inform on the closure of the two-year Swiss Radio training project, organized by the Corso di Giornalismo della Svizzera Italiana and the Albanian Media Institute. In the course of this project, 45 radio journalists were trained, and a core of six local tutors was formed. These tutors have already had training experience in courses organized by AMI since the end of the project.
Upon the project’s completion the "Radio of the Eagles" manual was published, including lectures and useful information for the radio journalists. This manual aims at offering radio journalists a summary of theoretical and practical suggestions to be used as a reference frame in their everyday tasks. This project was financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, which will also support a two-year PR training project, starting in March.DIGITAL SOUND RADIO TRAINING
A course on digital sound radio training took place on 14-18 January, with the participation of 12 sound technicians from the two national radios and some local ones. The need for this course arose from these radios’ limited ability to use the digital studios they possess. The course combined theoretical elements and practical ones at the very digital studios of these radios. Some of the topics addressed were speaking and its features, filtering, sound dynamics in digital studios, etc. The course was a joint project of the Albanian Media Institute and PRESS NOW.IN-HOUSE NEWSPAPER TRAINING
Two media advisors carried out an in-house newspaper training on January 14-18 at three of Albania’s main dailies. The two advisors spent time with reporters and editors at "Korrieri," "Gazeta Shqiptare," and "Shekulli," discussing with them on issues such as credibility building and preserving, sources of information, framing the story according to an appropriate angle, etc. This project was jointly organized by The Media Diversity Institute in London, The Center for War, Peace and News Media in New York, and the Albanian Media Institute in Tirana.ROUND TABLE WITH LIMES DIRECTOR
On January 11 a round table with Lucio Caracciolo, director of Italian geopolitical magazine LIMES, took place at the House of Books and Communications. Many editors, analysts, and foreign news agencies correspondents participated in this round table, which addressed the way topics related to and concerning Albanians were tackled by the magazine’s newsroom. The speakers focused mainly on key aspects of coverage of Albanians during the Kosovo crisis and on the image of Albanians in the Balkans’ context in general. This round table was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, the House of Books and Communication, and the Institute of Italian Culture.
NEW PUBLICATION LAUNCHED
A new book was published in early January by the Albanian Media Institute: "Teledemocracy: subordinate subjects or citizens," by Giorgio Zanchini (translated by Agim Doksani.) This book faces a complex problem as well as a difficult one to focus on. Will there be democracy in the world of continuous and direct communication created by new telematic technology? In order to answer this the author has to examine an inventory of new means and wonder if there is a "vocation" which rules critical thought, to improve its expression or multiply it. He has to review the forms of democracy, direct and indirect, in order to discover if relations with the keyboard of an electronic terminal exist and if yes of what kind are they. He assumes upon himself to check what cultural conditions (hope, pessimism?) surround the extraordinarily quick distribution of new machines of communication. This book was distributed to several media outlets, schools, and members of the community of journalists.
ALBANIAN MEDIA STILL FRAGILE AND DEPENDENT,CPJ REPORTS
Committee for Protection of Journalists stated that independent journalists in Albania continue to struggle with highly partisan politics, sluggish economic development, and security threats in its 2001 report. Intrusive political influence, poor university training, and insufficient Western nongovernmental training are the main factors that affect the poor journalistic ethics in Albania.
“As a result, the public remains generally mistrustful of journalists,” the CPJ report states. According to the same report, the media coverage of parliamentary elections in summer 2001 was highly partisan for some media outlets, namely national TV Klan and TVSH favoring Socialist Party, and Tirana-based Shijak TV and ATN1 supporting Democratic Party. Also, investigative journalists still face security risks when dealing with politically sensitive issues. Meanwhile the media law reforms remained stalled in 2001. The ability of journalists to influence the media scene in the country is limited, given the existence of several press associations, whose power is severely damaged by their disunity.PHOTOJOURNALISM TRAINING FOR MAIN PRINT MEDIA JOURNALISTS
A two-weeks training on photojournalism took place with reporters from the eight main daily newspapers in Albania on March 13-29. During the course the two lecturers from West Washington University combined lectures and close, on-the-job counseling with the reporters. The training aimed mainly at perfecting the feature and profile writing skills, and also shooting the right photos to illustrate the story. In the end each of the reporters produced feature stories illustrated with pictures, which were published in the daily papers. This course was organized and supported by IREX.
"MEDIA AND ETHICS" SEMINARS
OSCE has undertaken a series of seminars in different districts of Albania, dealing with the situation of media ethics in the country. So far two workshops have taken place in Durres, Central Albania, and Kukes, Northern Albania, with the participation of journalists from both print and electronic media. The lecturers have been the OSCE spokesperson and Albanian Media Institute staff members. The lectures focused on media ethics in the theoretical prism, such as the “ideal” ethical norms and standards, basic principles of journalistic ethics. Also, a significant part of the lectures was devoted to the practical cases of ethical dilemmas, especially tailored to the Albanian media situation and circumstances. This series of workshops will continue during April involving journalists from other districts in Albania.FIRST STAGE OF PR TRAINING PROJECT STARTS
Albanian Media Institute initiated the PR Training project in the framework of the extensive “Open Media, Open Government” project on March 11-16. Considering that Albania is on its initial steps in the field of public relations, the need for this kind of training assumes significant importance. The first part of the project is aimed at training PR representatives from several municipalities and counties from all over the country. The lecturers for the first part of this project came from Higher School of Tourism and Hotels in Lugano, Switzerland.
The two main topics addressed during the first course were Marketing Basics and Targeting, and Interpersonal Communication. Theoretical lectures were intertwined with practical exercises and dealt with issues such as time management, marketing secifics and strategies, PR and its kinds, basic elements of a conference press, verbal and non-verbal manners of communication, etc. In the end the participants also received extensive literature on the topics addressed during the course. The course was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE MEDIA
This was the topic of a course organized by the Albanian Media Institute on February 25- March 6, in cooperation with the “Journalism Students’ Club.” The course combined two days of theory at AMI’s premises and practice at villages inhabited by ethnic minorities. Some of the topics addressed were portrayals in specific conditions, digital camera, the shapes of image and their registration, photography as illustration for features, etc.
This was the third course in a row organized with the 12 participants, who are journalism majors at the University of Tirana. At the end of the course the students were able to write features and illustrate them with photos in a professional manner. Also, an exhibition displaying the best photos done during the course took place at AMI’s premises.PUBLICATION OF AMI PORTFOLIO
A portfolio displaying AMI’s publications up to 2002 was published in late March. This portfolio contained information on the main publications that AMI has engaged in during the recent years. These books are mainly of an instructive nature aimed at assisting journalists or people dealing with the media, like “Manual for Central and Eastern Europe journalists,” “Working in Radio,” “Creative Television Management,” etc. Other books are collections of essays or articles published in a specific context by well-known journalists and analysts, e.g. “War against War,” and “The Kosovo News and Propaganda War,” with pieces written during the Kosovo crisis. The third group of publications belong to books addressing relevant topics in different fields of society, especially in relation to their repercussions in the media development, such as “Communism, Capitalism, and Mass Media,” “Exit from Censorship,” “Teledemokracy: Subordinate Subjects or Citizens?” etc.
NCRT Decisions Spark Controversy
The latest decision of the National Council of Radios and Televisions has rekindled the debate between the national TV stations and the local ones. March 31 was the deadline for the local TV stations to pay their annual taxes and license fees according to NCRT regulations. Since some of these stations had not fully paid their dues, on April 4 NCRT decided to temporarily suspend the broadcasting licenses for the stations that have not paid the 2001 annual taxes.
After a joint statement by these local TV stations declaring their commitment to pay the dues in accordance with the laws, NCRT revoked its previous decision, thus extending the payment period. This last decision has been strongly contested by TV Klan and TV Arberia, the two national TVs, who claim that NCRT is paving the way for unfair competition by bending the laws. The affair is still suspended at the moment, with several hostile declarations and replies from both national and local TV stations.AHRG CONDEMNS MEDIA ATTITUDE
The Albanian Human Rights’ Group issued a declaration in late April condemning articles published by newspaper “Republika” on an allegedly homosexual ex-Minister. This organization claimed that the newsroom covered this case in an unfair and biased manner, displaying their disdainful, discriminating, and intolerant stance versus the gay community in Albania. According to the same Group the interview with one of the representatives of the homosexuals’ association was exploited for sensational aims by the paper, which allegedly put in his mouth words he never said. This declaration also made an appeal for the Albanian readers to ignore the allegations made by this newspaper.
Ian Wright, co-director of the Guardian Foundation, visited Albania in mid-April. During his stay, he visited several newspapers’ headquarters in Tirana, holding meetings with the editors-in-chief, the chairman of Parliamentary Commission on Media, analysts, etc. The purpose of this visit was to get acquainted with the situation of daily newspapers in Albania and examine the possibilities for training opportunities available by this foundation or exchange of experience. These visits were also extended to the local media in Gjirokastra and Saranda, where meetings with local print journalists were held. The Guardian Foundation includes the daily “The Observer” and the weekly “The Guardian” in its range of publications.AMI FINISHES SEENPM PRESIDENCY TERM
After two years of Mr. Remzi Lani as President of The South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media (SEENPM), the General Assembly elected Ognian Zlatev from the Media Development Center, Sofia as the new Network President. The General Assembly of SEENPM was organized in Belgrade. So far the SEENPM has managed to bring together nearly 700 journalists from the region and has organized 62 courses for them. SEENPM consists from 17 media Centers/Institutes from the region and is financially supported by three main donors, the Danish Government, Open Society Institute -Budapest and the Swiss Government.RADIO ADVERTISING AWARDS
The first competition of the best radio advertisements was held in April, in five shows aired by Tirana-based Radio RASH. Five different awards were distributed in the end of the competition, where 15 local radios from all over Albania participated. Awards were given for the best ad, best text, best interpreter, and best technical realization, and they were in the 250-500 USD range. Each of the radios submitted three ads, which were aired in twice-a-week shows starting from April 10 to April 24, day of the distribution of awards. This competition was supported by the Albanian Media Institute.IN-HOUSE RADIO TRAINING
An in-house radio training project took place in April 15-20 at radio stations in Shkodra and Korca. This is a follow-up of a major previous project called “Swiss Radio Training” Project, which resulted in the creation of a core group of six local trainers. The workshops held by these local trainers will train the local radio journalists as well as test the knowledge and experience gained by the trainers during the previous project. At the starting phase of this in-house radio training project two evaluators were also present: Gabriel Partos, former BBC analyst, and Boro Kontic, director of the Media Center in Sarajevo. This project will continue with workshops in other districts in Albania, and it is part of an extensive project called “Open Media, Open Government,” supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.“MEDIA AND ETHICS” WORKSHOPS
The series of workshops which started in March on “Media and Ethics” in different districts of Albania was concluded in April with three last workshops. These were held in Elbasan, Central Albania, Korca, Southeastern Albania, and Vlora, Southwestern Albania, with the participation of journalists from electronic and print media, spokespersons from the local government, and NGO representatives. The lectures combined theoretical discussions on ethics in general and especially ethical behavior in media with discussions on the Albanian journalists’ code of ethics and its real life implementation, the need and manners of realizing this. The lecturers were Caterina Artelli, the OSCE spokesperson, and Albanian Media Institute staff members. This series of workshops was organized by OSCE in cooperation with AMI.SECOND WEEK OF PR TRAINING
The second week of the first step of the training project for PR took place at the Albanian Media Institute on April 8-12. During the first three days the lecturer from the Higher School of Tourism and Hotels in Lugano, Switzerland, addressed the basics of public relations, their instruments and deontology. The participants became acquainted with the organizing manners, the tools and ways to be used for a more efficient job. The other two days the BBC correspondent in Rome covered the media, news, newsroom and their requests, kinds of interview and ways to handle them. Also, PR relations with media, and interviewing techniques with all kinds of media were discussed in this part of the course. The course was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM TRAINING
A course on investigative journalism is taking place at the Albanian Media Institute since April 16, involving 20 TV journalists, producers, editors, and anchors. The main aim of this course is to prepare TV reporters to deal with the investigative stories, especially the ones regarding corruption. Some of the facets addressed by this training so far have been the journalists vis-a-vis the different sides they deal with, such as the owner, editor, PR representatives, politicians, etc, and potential ways to deal with problems on their way. The course is a constant combination of theoretical lectures with practical tasks, including divisions in teams in order to produce accurate, balanced TV reporting to uncover the endemic problems of corruption. The trainers have been experienced, working journalists from American TV stations. This course has been organized and supported by MSI, IREX, and World Learning.
Web Editing Training
An Internet training course took place in April 19-21 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of 17 journalists from Tirana-based and local print media. The main aim of this course was to address the basic topics of online journalism, as well as provide working journalists with the fundamental skills needed in online journalism or Internet usage on the job. Some of the main topics discussed were the characteristics of online journalism, ways of information design, headlines and teasers, structure of online texts and their improvement, hypertext and links, navigation and usability, and online search strategies. Trainer was Melanie Wieland, and this course was supported by the European Institute for the Media in Dusseldorf.
The third and last stage of the NGO PR Training Project took place 22-24 April at the Albanian Media Institute. The ten participants are spokespersons and PR officials at NGOs dealing with refugee issues in Kosovo and Albania. The concluding phase of this project addressed the achievements of the project, its evaluation, feedback from the participants, potential future plans, as well as exchange of relevant materials, such as posters, videotapes, media kits, etc. The project kicked off in Tirana in December, whereas the second stage consisted of in-house training in Prishtina, Shkoder, and Tirana in early March. The project was supported by FRESTA.PUBLICATION OF ANNUAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE
The 2001 annual report of “Monitoring Albanian Media Landscape” was published in mid-April, thus completing the third stage of this project. The last publication includes information on an expanding media landscape, taking the total of monitored media outlets to 243. This increase in number points at a higher participation rate from the media themselves, since the return of questionnaires was 96% this year, compared to 69% of the 2000 annual report. The whole information contained in this publication results from data provided by the owners, publishers and editors in these media, and attempts to keep track of the ever-changing Albanian media landscape. The research was carried out by the Albanian Media Institute’s Media Researcher under the supervision of a professor at the Danish School of Journalism. This project is supported by the Danish International Development Agency.
LOCAL PAPER’S TENSE RELATIONS WITH CITY HALL
“Gazeta Tomori,” a regional paper based in Berat, issued a press release that explained the latest incident with the City Hall in a long row of tense situations between the two. This paper’s newsroom claimed that the City Hall went ahead and held a meeting with generations of journalists in full disagreement with the requests made by “Gazeta Tomori” to postpone the meeting to a later, more favorable date. The newsroom claimed that the refusal was malicious and intentional, and so was the decision to hold the meeting without the participation of the most important press outlet in the area. The paper has gone to court with the City Hall twice in the four years of its history due to allegedly offensive and libelous stories published, and it has won both cases.Publication on free and independent media
One of the latest publication related to media development translated in Albanian is “The Appropriate Environment for Free and Independent Media,” a Samizdat B92 edition. The book, written by Monroe E. Price and Peter Krug, deals with the necessary and favorable conditions for the development of a free and independent media, addressing such issues as democratic institutions, media organizations’ structure, media law and rights, journalists’ contracts, as well as the impact of new technology on media development. This publication offers novel views on the appropriate grounds for media development, focusing mainly on print and electronic media, but also on Internet as the newest kind of media outlet. The book is published in cooperation with the European Institute for the Media, in the framework of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe.Advanced Course for Cameramen
A seven-days advanced course for cameramen started at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on May 27, with the participation of 12 cameramen from local TVs operating in different districts of Albania. This course is the follow-up of a previous one and addressed more advanced issues of a cameraman’s duties, such as composition and its rules, the kinds of plans and their appropriate use, the role of the light and portraits, background, camera positions in a broadcasting studio, sound effects and superposition, etc. In this course the theoretical part was constantly combined with practical on-field shooting for a better testing of the knowledge gained. Stefan Gajo, Artist of Merit, was the trainer. The course was organized and supported by AMI.In-House Debate on Media and Language Problems
Considering the problems with Albanian language noticed in most of the print media, the Albanian Media Institute organized a discussion with journalists and editors of “Shekulli,” the daily with the highest circulation in the country, on May 28. The debate was moderated by Kristina Jorgaqi, scientific researcher at the Institute of Linguistics and Literature.
First the debate took place with the editors and the copy editors with regard to the existing mistakes and shortcomings, as well as the appropriate way of addressing problematic language use. Then the debate involved journalists, dealing with certain aspects of lexicon, style and syntax used in different articles, thus specifically pointing out problems. This debate will continue in the future in other daily papers’ newsrooms.
Radio Management Training
A workshop on radio management training took place at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on May 27-29, with the participation of 13 radio managers from local and national radios from different Albanian cities. The main aim of the workshop was to discuss about the role, responsibilities, and importance of the manager in a radio station. Some of the topics addressed by the workshop were the definition of a radio manager, self-evaluation, the drafting of a station mission, benchmarking and its kinds, marketing strategies and methods, effective running of meetings, staff supervision, radio and audience promotion, SWOT analysis, and programming strategies. The workshop constantly combined lecturing with discussion and teamwork in order to test the theoretical principles. The instructor was a local trainer, who tested the knowledge gained after several courses by the Training of Trainers scheme enabled by SEENPM. The course was organized by AMI in the framework of SEENPM activities.Publication of “Karvani” magazine
The fifth issue of “Karvani” magazine was published and distributed with “Shekulli,” the daily paper with the highest circulation in Albania on May 20. The topic of the present issue was on the changes that the introduction of Euro brought about in the Balkans. Several authors from the Balkans and international experts living in the area published their articles in this periodical. Apart from Albania, this magazine is distributed along with daily papers in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia. This publication is in the framework of a regional media project called “Balkan Bridges: Search for Common Ground,” supported by the European Union, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.Local Media Meet Local Judiciary
A group of 25 local journalists from print and electronic media participated in a seminar organized in Gjirokastra on May 16-17. The seminar aimed at an exchange of opinions and common problems that local media and the local judicial power face in reporting to the community on legal matters. Some of the main topics addressed during the seminar were the right to information, protection of confidential sources, unbiased reporting, the judges’ right to secrecy, and the importance of the role of the spokesperson at the court. The debate evolved around the ways to establish a mutual trust among the local media, the local judiciary, and the community. The seminar was organized and supported by the Albanian Media Institute and the Royal Danish Embassy in Tirana.Third Week of PR Training
The third week of the training project for PR took place at the Albanian Media Institute on May 13-17. During the first three days, Tomas Miglierina, journalist at Radio Televisione della Svizzera Internazionale, lectured on the organization of a press office, databases and practical details relevant to the job of a PR officer. The last two days were dedicated to public speaking, and Adele Caprio, director and actress at Civita Castellana, was the lecturer. She focused her lectures mainly on the real-life aspect of public speaking, more specifically on the rules to keep in mind while being in contact with different persons. The course was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”Police and Mass Media Conference
“Crime Prevention” was a conference that took place in Tirana on May 13-15, including a seminar on mass media. The main aim of this conference was to discuss on the interdependence of crime prevention as the chief function of the police and the necessity of the community to be informed on this important issue. Some of the main topics addressed in this conference were the goals of mass media in Albania, advice regarding cooperation with the press, collaboration with the press, drafting a press release, and applying theoretical principles in practice. Representatives from the central and local government, people involved in previous and current DANIDA projects, representatives from the civil society, and international experts were the participants in this conference.Radio Training Workshop
A three-days workshop took place at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on May 13-15, with 12 radio journalists from several local radios as well as the national ones. The main topics addressed by this workshop were news identification, in-depth reporting, follow-ups of breaking news, interviewing, vox populi usage, etc. Another important issue in the course was the different formats available to use in radio, such as radio magazine, bulletins, special reporting, along with the specifics and appropriateness in each case.
The course was more of a practical nature, involving the participants in discussion and in the production of specific reports relevant to the course topic. The instructor was a local trainer, who tested the knowledge gained after several courses by the Training of Trainers scheme enabled by SEENPM. The course was organized by AMI in the framework of SEENPM activities.Investigative Journalism Training
A course on investigative journalism that started April 16 ended on May 10 at the Albanian Media Institute. The main aim of this course was to prepare TV reporters to deal with the investigative stories, especially the ones regarding corruption. Some of the topics addressed were the journalists vis-à-vis the different sides they deal with, such as the owner, editor, PR representatives, politicians, etc, and potential ways to deal with problems on their way. The course was a constant combination of theoretical lectures with practical tasks, including divisions in teams in order to produce accurate, balanced TV reporting to uncover the endemic problems of corruption. The trainers have been experienced, working journalists from American TV stations. Finally six TV stories were produced by the 20 TV journalists, producers, editors, and anchors. This course has been organized and supported by MSI, IREX, and World Learning.Counseling Sessions for Local Papers
Chris Braithwaite, a Knight Press Fellow, held some in-house counseling sessions at two Southern regional papers, “Dita Jug” in Gjirokaster and “Nositi” in Pogradec in early May. These sessions resembled to an assessment process for the papers, in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and possibly recommend improvements for the future. In this time several facets of newspaper production were considered, such as layout, editorial policy, covered topics and subjects, photos and illustration, advertising and marketing, etc.
Human Rights Watch Report on Media Freedom
According to a new report released by Human Rights Watch on June 13, the Albanian press is still far from free. In spite of all the improvements achieved since the early 90s, Human Rights Watch declared that journalists are still victims of threats, violent attacks, and libel suits, especially when critical of state officials’ activities.
The report covers mostly 2000 and 2001 events and is focused on three particular areas of concern: intimidation of journalists, defamation trials against the press, and political interference with the allocation of state advertising to media outlets. Human Rights Watch investigators found that Albanian journalists, especially those based outside Tirana, are subjected to widespread intimidation and physical attacks, often by police officers when critical of government officials.
Also, the analysis of six defamation trials exposes the gap between constitutional and international guarantees of media freedoms by Albanian courts. These trials were fraught with violations of the journalist defendants’ rights to a fair trial and resulted in verdicts undermining the right to free expression, according to the report.
Finally, the allocation by the government of state advertising is a persistently controversial issue. The report found that in the absence of effective control mechanisms, unchecked financial power is abused for purposes of political and personal profit. The report is based on three weeks of research conducted in Albania in late 2001, mainly through interviews with Albanian journalists, editors, media managers, media experts, government officials, and lawyers.ALBANIAN COMMITTEE OF HELSINKI WORRIED OVER MEDIA BEHAVIOR
According to the Albanian Committee of Helsinki (ACH) the Albanian media often violate human rights by abusing freedom of expression. This statement derives from the increasing number of complaints that ACH has received lately regarding the distortion of information related to serious events, often seriously affecting the lives of the involved persons. One of the most frequent violations Albanian media commits in this context is the non-compliance with the “presumption of innocence” rule, directly infringing upon one of the constitutional principles.
Also, grave instances of violations of media ethics have been noticed during coverage of human trafficking issues, especially under aged persons, by often revealing their full identity. In this context, ACH strongly recommends that journalists be more careful, accurate, professional, and considerate in reporting sensitive issues for people affected by their stories.EJTA Annual General Meeting in Tirana
The European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) held its annual general meeting in Tirana on June 22-24. EJTA was established in Brussels in 1990 with the aim to enable different training centers in all of Europe to collaborate and to broaden the European dimension. This year’s meeting aimed at reporting for EJTA’s last year’s activities, evaluating them, and setting the priorities for next year.
The association intends to make this year a much more active one compared to the relatively quiet last one. Some of EJTA’s intentions that were passed into resolutions are the organization of workshops and conferences that will help develop the curricula of member schools through exchange of experience, the establishment of a visiting faculty exchange program, and the improvement of the association’s website for a better communication.New Periodical on media analysis
“Indexmedia,” a new periodical on the media situation in Albania came out on June 8, published by the Albanian Forum for Free Media. The main focus of concern for this new publication is press freedom, and the kinds of threats that endanger it. Also, the bulletin will address media ethics issues, as a complimentary part to press freedom. “Indexmedia” aims at becoming a forum for debates on the media role in society, its relations with politics and democracy. The new periodical was introduced during a round table on the topic “Dysfunctions with Albanian media: new dangers to press freedom” with the participation of editors and journalists. The bulletin is both in Albanian and in English, with counseling from Research Institute on Democracy and Development, and supported by the Albanian Media Institute.Publication of Award-Winning Essay
A new publication was launched this month: “Europe: Destination X,” the winning essay of the competition launched by the Soros Foundation, Tirana. The competition took place last year, calling for long essays that would address an issue related to the integration of Albania into the European Union. The winner was Mustafa Nano, a well-known columnist and news analyst. In this essay, the author maintains that politics and politicians cannot take Albania any closer to Europe. Nor can Europe and all its Brussels-based institutions make the way any easier for this country. He claims that what is needed instead is an intellectual, cultural, civil and self-educating mission, which will be the Albanians’ great and common challenge in the modern world. The publication was supported by the Albanian Media Institute.On-line journalism training
A training course on on-line journalism took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 24-28, with the participation of 12 journalists from the main daily papers as well as from some local weeklies. The main aim of the course was to polish basic journalistic skills and practice use of Internet as an investigative reporting tool. During the whole course theory was combined with exercises for a better grasp of the discussed topics. Some of the issues addressed during the training were conducting research on Internet in accordance with the various story angles, evaluation of Internet sources, reporting aspects of stories from Internet and through local sources, writing strategies, use of quotations and attribution, along with basic skills such as lead writing, nut graphs, transitions, etc. Trainer was Sherry Ricchiardi, from Indiana University’s School of Journalism. The course was supported by the American Embassy.International news reporting course
A training course on international news reporting took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 17-21, with the participation of 15 journalists from both print and electronic media. The main aim of the course was to facilitate coverage of international events and affairs for reporters who have a low supply of financial or technical means and know-how in this field. In this context the various ways of conveying an accurate, well-informed, and unbiased report were explored, such as the most appropriate persons, groups, or associations for contact information, making use of domestic ethnic minorities’ information and experience, etc. The course was a mixture of theoretical lectures and practical exercises. Trainer was Paul Miller, from Feature Network Service. The course was supported by the American Embassy.Basic TV Journalism Training
A training for TV reporters took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 17-18, with 12 TV journalists from TV stations based in Tirana and in other cities. The main aim of the course was introducing the reporters to the necessary basic professional skills for news reporting and editing. The main topics discussed were making the difference between writing news for print and news for TV, the basic elements needed for a TV story, writing for the eye, news editing, targeting the news to a particular audience, etc. Trainer was Kent Collins, from Columbia School of Journalism, University of Missouri. The course was supported by the American Embassy.Fourth Week of PR Training
The fourth week of the first step of the training project for PR took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 10-15. During the first three days Sergio Gessi, the lecturer from the University of Bologna, addressed the basic needs for preparing a media kit, the main elements of writing a press release, organizing a successful press conference, administering press briefing, managing and nurturing debate during a press conference. The last two days Deborah Gianettoni, independent marketing counselor from Lugano, dealt with the main elements necessary for PR planning. This was the last training week for the first step of the PR training project, aimed at people working for the local government. The course was supported by the Swiss Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”In-House Training for Young Reporters
An in-house training took place at “Vizion Rinor,” a local weekly targeted at and made primarily by young people in Berat on June 10-12. An experienced journalist and a designer worked with 15 young reporters in order to improve the quality of the newspaper. The training was a constant combination of the theoretical elements of news writing and editing and elements to keep in mind for a successful layout with the actual application of these theoretical skills in practice. The results were more tangible in the production of that week’s issue, which this time involved not just the high-school reporters, but also the more experienced trainers. This training was supported by the Albanian Media Institute.Journalism Students Experience Kosovo
A group made of juniors and sophomores from the Department of Journalism at the University of Tirana went to Kosovo on June 2-7, aiming at establishing contacts with the private journalism school in Prishtina. The stay in Kosovo combined the purpose of exchanging experience with the colleagues in Kosovo with that of producing a special supplement to the students’ paper “Reporteri,” in order to mirror the Kosovo experience.
The final issue of “Reporteri” resulted from a close collaboration of the students from Albania with the ones from Kosovo, involving the Kosovo students not only in establishing contacts with the local persons, but also as reporters for the students’ paper. The articles included topics on KFOR activities, orphanage establishment, observing the situation of the Serb minority in Kosovo, interviews with prominent politicians, etc. This trip was supported by the Albanian Media Institute.
IN-HOUSE RADIO TRAINING
An in-house radio training project took place on June 3-5 at Radio Fier in Fier, with the participation of eight local radio journalists. This is a follow-up of a major previous project called “Swiss Radio Training” Project, which resulted in the creation of a core group of six local trainers. The workshops held by these local trainers will train the local radio journalists as well as test the knowledge and experience gained by the trainers during the previous project. Representatives of the Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC) were also present at the first day of training in order to evaluate the project. This project will continue with workshops in other districts in Albania, and it is part of an extensive project called “Open Media, Open Government,” supported by the SDC.
Computer Assisted Reporting Training
A course on computer assisted reporting was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on July 21-24, with the participation of 11 journalists from mainly print media. The main aim of the course was to introduce the participants to the basic skills of computer and Internet using, in order to assist them in their everyday reporting tasks. Some of the main topics addressed during the course were research on Internet, the different search engines and their specifics, useful and reliable sources of information, Outlook Express usage, advanced MS Word usage, MS Excel and use of graphics. The participants spent the last day of the course doing group exercises, such as Internet-based story writing, discussion on copyright, the right to electronic access and the overall Internet role in journalism nowadays. The instructor was a local trainer, who tested the knowledge gained after several courses by the Training of Trainers scheme enabled by SEENPM. The course was organized by AMI in the framework of SEENPM activities.Investigative Journalism Training
An investigative journalism training took place at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on July 15-17, with the participation of ten working journalists from several main dailies and some local newspapers. The course aimed at introducing the participants to the basic features and skills of investigative journalism compared to the other journalistic genres, as well as spark an interest and debate on the possibilities for its future development in Albania. Some of the topics addressed were the difference between investigative journalism and breaking news reporting, the different steps to a final story, research methods, the several writing skills, editing, investigative reporters’relations with their editors, etc.
In the course of this training the participants were active in discussions on the need to practice such a genre in Albania, its chances and methods. They also tested their knowledge and opinions through several exercises and newsroom simulation, in the framework of investigative journalism. The instructor was a local trainer, who tested the knowledge gained after several courses by the Training of Trainers scheme enabled by SEENPM. The course was organized by AMI in the framework of SEENPM activities.Digital Editing Training
A five-days advanced course for TV editors took place at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on July 8-12, with the participation of seven editors from Tirana-based TV stations. The main topics addressed in the course of the training were basic knowledge on TV editing, the difference between analog and digital signals and editing, and the basic operation rules of video machine, the device that carries out digital editing. In this course the theoretical part was constantly combined with practical on-field shooting for a better testing of the knowledge gained. At the end of the training each participant produced a TV story or advertisement by making use of digital editing. The participants also visited the Albanian National Television’s editing studios, in order to become familiar with the appliances used there. The course was organized and supported by AMI.In-house Radio Training
An in-house radio training took place on July 10-12, at “Val e Kalter” radio in Vlora, with the participation of seven local radio journalists. This is a follow-up of a major previous project called “Swiss Radio Training” Project, which resulted in the creation of a core group of six local trainers. The workshops held by these local trainers train the local radio journalists as well as test the knowledge and experience gained by the trainers during the previous project. This project will continue with workshops in other districts in Albania, and it is part of an extensive project called “Open Media, Open Government,” supported by the SDC.
Regional Periodical Analyses Balkan Stability
Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, a regional periodical, devoted its last volume to the analyses of stability in the Balkans, with contributions coming from experts in each country in the peninsula. The media situation was assessed by an article written by Remzi Lani, director of the Albanian Media Institute, and Frrok Cupi, director of Albanian Telegraphic Agency. This article addresses the difficult road to independent media in the area, pondering whether the post-communist transition is yet over. The article analyzes the media situation, press freedom, and especially its relations to political leaders during the last decade of transition, concluding that partisan politics has penetrated the media, affected by economic difficulties and corruption. Although the emergence of a free press is a victory, its image in society is rather negative, pointing to the need for media economic independence, journalism training, and support for media reform and adoption of code of ethics.
This periodical dealt with other topics related to Balkan stability, with contributions by authors such as Ivan Krastev, Veton Surroi, Ognian Minchev, Predrag Simic, Radovan Vukadinovic, Alexandros Yanis etc. The issue was edited by Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos and Thanos Veremis. Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies is a Franc Cass Journal.Introduction of “Balkan Times”
The “Balkan Times” editorial team introduced their web page in Tirana at the Albanian Media Institute on July 22, with the participation of main local dailies’ editors, foreign agencies’ correspondents, and freelancers. This website provides a source of news and information on the Balkans in five languages: Albanian, English, Greek, Russian and Serbian. The goal of the “Balkan Times” is to offer accurate, balanced and forward-looking coverage of developments in Southeast Europe. Formerly known as “Balkan Information Exchange,” the site captures news from across the region as reported in local and international media, and by groups with interests in the area. It also features original analysis and commentary by “Balkan Times” correspondents in the region.New Book on Sports Journalism
A new book on sports reporting came out this month: “Forty Years of Words.” This book is an autobiography of Sandro Ciotti, one of the well-known Italian sports journalists. The author narrates some of the most important moments in his long, successful career, sharing his experience and advice with the interested readers, as well as colleagues. He has been host of many important radio shows on football for many years in Italy, his home country. This publication was launched during a meeting organized by the Albanian National Olympic Committee on July 2, which is the International Day of Sports Journalists. The book was translated by Besnik Dizdari, a well-known sports reporter, and supported by the Albanian Media Institute.Mondo Aperto Project
The Mondo Aperto project, an agreement between AMI and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was concluded in July, under the coordination of COSPE –Firenze. The project consisted in the web publication of 12 stories, addressing topics such as civil rights, freedom of expression, Muslims’ situation, discrimination, racism and xenophobia, press situation, democracy about information and communication, economic and social effects caused by globalisation, etc. According to the agreement the stories will be published in this web address: www.mmc2000.net/mondoaperto. This would lead to an exchange of experiences, since other Balkan countries were involved in this project, as well. The reporters who contributed to the implementation of this project were young professionals, which led to the addressing of the topics from a young kind of perspective.Publication on Historical Figure
“Unknown Pages,” a new publication containing some of the unknown writings of Fan S. Noli came out this month. Noli is one of the most celebrated historical persons in Albania, with an extensive activity in politics, journalism, literature, etc. This book features a collection of Noli’s articles and stories published during 1915-1919, which has not been known to the public before. These articles have been published in USA-based “Dielli” and “The Adriatic Review,” papers, where Noli spent most of his life. The stories and notes focus on different events of the time, especially the ones taking place in or related to Albania or Albanians living abroad. The publication was supported by the “Noli” Foundation and the Albanian Media Institute.Opposition Paper Journalist Fined
Artur Bega, a journalist working for “RD,” the paper of the biggest opposition party, was fined to 5 million lek on July 11, on grounds of publishing false information and launching unfounded charges. The court ruled in favor of Arben Malaj, the plaintiff, who was chairman of the parliamentary group of the party in power. Bega claimed that Malaj had signed documents that authorized the distribution of frozen assets of the pyramidal schemes to relatives and friends of his and his wife. In the course of the three-month court sessions both sides presented many proofs, until the verdict was issued against the “RD” journalist. Malaj said he would ask for a heavier punishment, such as imprisonment. Meanwhile, the “RD” newsroom considered the latest episode as the newest attempt from the party in power to intimidate the opposition press.New Local Publication
“Delvina,” a new monthly publication came out this month. This is an independent publication targeted to readers in Delvina, a town in Southern Albania. This is the first periodical ever, aimed exclusively at readership in this area. The periodical contains information on events and issues of concern to the area. The articles cover cultural events and discussions, address environmental issues, and convey profiles of local characters as well as features on local events. The publication also provides information on specific periods of history related to the area, as well as on historical persons whose roots are in Delvina.Local Media Center Completes Training
The Regional Center of Media Studies and Training in Gjirokaster, Southern Albania, awarded the certificates to 12 young journalists who completed the nine-months training course on July 6. The training introduced aspiring and young journalists to the basic writing principles, different kinds of stories, sources of information, interviewing techniques, ethical norms, and basic editing. Theoretical lectures constantly combined with practical work, concluded in an exhibition of the articles published by the students during their training period. Trainers were experienced local journalists, as well as some foreign trainers. The certification ritual was preceded by an introduction to the center’s activities during its two-years’ history.
Artur Zheji was elected the new director of the public Albanian Radio and Television (ART) on September 30, after Edi Mazi, the incumbent, had resigned due to charges of corruption. Zheji became the new director after a long struggle and controversy over his predecessor, as well as over the General Council of Radio and Television. This Council was strongly opposed by the opposition, which claimed that the Council’s members had strong conflicts of interests and demanded the appointment of a new Council. Also, investigation started against Mazi, but the charges against him dropped for lack of sufficient evidence. Zheji, the present director, was editorialist at TVA, one of the national television stations, as well as starter of several TV shows. At present the ART seems to be in a crisis regarding its financial status as well as the managerial one. ART became a public television station in 1998 according to the law.New Albanian Mobile Frequency Control Center
The National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) presented the new mobile frequency control center on September 20 in Tirana. This center will monitor the range of frequencies in the NCRT jurisdiction, including fixed services for radio and TV operators. This center aims at locating unauthorized transmitters, controlling the quality of transmission of local operators, as well as avoiding clashes and interferences among signals. Also, the Department of Program Monitoring was inaugurated the same day, aiming at monitoring the emitted programs’ content from the legal point of view. These projects were supported by DANIDA and NCRT. Another investment NCRT presented was the computer digital map of Albania, a donation of IREX.Conference of well-known publicist
Veton Surroi, the well-known publicist from Kosovo, as well as editor-in-chief of daily “Koha ditore,” held a conference on September 16 at the Books and Communication House. The conference’s title was “European Integration and the Albanian Question,” and focused on the present situation in Kosovo in the context of the main developments in the region. Some of the main issues tackled during the lecture were Kosovo’s status, economic, social, cultural and political ties between Kosovo and Albania, the impact of foreign influence in the future, all discussed against the background of the question of integration into Europe. Afterwards the lecturer answered the questions from the audience that included well-known personalities from the field of media, culture, politics, economics, civil society, etc. This activity was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and the Books and Communications House.NCRT Forbids the Emission of Foreign Channels
The National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) decided to remove all devices that enabled the emission of foreign channels in several districts of Albania September 6, on grounds that this was an illegal practice. According to the law on radio and television, only licensed Albanian operators should be able to emit their programs in Albanian territory. This is a somewhat late move, since these foreign channels have been allowed to emit their programs for several years now, in the absence of local televisions and radios. This step has elicited the protest of “Omonia,” an association protecting the rights of Greek minority in Southern Albania. After the protest NCRT revoked its decision for this district, prompting another protest, this time by Aleksander Frangaj, chairman of the Electronic Media Association. According to Frangaj NCRT has repeatedly shown its weak nature by constantly passing laws that are later revoked, abolished, or disobeyed.Advanced Course for Cameramen
A five-days advanced course for cameramen started at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on September 23, with the participation of ten cameramen from local TVs operating in different districts of Albania. This course is the follow-up of a previous one and addressed more advanced issues of a cameraman’s duties, such as composition and its rules, the kinds of plans and their appropriate use, the role of the light and portraits, background, camera positions in a broadcasting studio, sound effects and superposition, etc. In this course the theoretical part was constantly combined with practical on-field shooting for a better testing of the knowledge gained. Stefan Gajo, Artist of Merit, was the trainer. The course was organized and supported by AMI.In-house Radio Training
Another in-house radio training took place on September 18-20, at “Radio Kukjes” in Kukes with the participation of eleven journalists from the local radio and news contributors. This is a follow-up of a major previous project called “Swiss Radio Training” Project, which resulted in the creation of a core group of six local trainers. The workshops held by these local trainers train the local radio journalists as well as test the knowledge and experience gained by the trainers during the previous project. This project will continue with workshops in other districts in Albania, and it is part of an extensive project called “Open Media, Open Government,” supported by the SDC.
Debate on Media and Terrorism
A meeting and discussion among leading Albanian journalists and editors took place at the Books and Communications House on September13, with the participation of Jay Nordlinger, managing editor of “National Review,” an opinion journal in the USA. The discussion evolved around relevant topics for the moment, such as the fight against terrorism, state policy and media coverage, objective and unbiased reporting of government policies, coverage of “The Other” in both camps, etc. This debate was supported by the American Embassy in Tirana.
Forum of Cross Border Journalists Established
The annual meeting among border area journalists, members of the Ionian Journalists Association, took place in Saranda, Southern Albania for the third year in a row on September 10-12, with the participation of about 30 journalists working for local Southern media, and some other journalists from Corfu, Greece. The journalists established the Forum for Cross-Border Journalists, which aims at developing new projects in the future, that are to foster exchange of ideas and experience among journalists living in these areas. Apart from this forum the usual seminar for further professionalization of journalists took place, with the participation of University of Tirana, Department of Journalism staff members. The seminar addressed topics such as writing of editorials, ethics and responsibility, minority issues coverage, etc. This seminar was supported by the Albanian Media Institute.Debate on Journalists’ Trade Unions
A discussion addressing the possibility of establishing trade unions for the journalists took place at the Albanian Media Institute on September 10, with the participation of about 20 journalists. The meeting aimed at gathering feedback from the journalists on the advantages and disadvantages of establishing organizations that should protect and promote the interests of free journalists. Albania is a country where the work contracts for journalists are extremely rare, leading to a high volatility and instability of the job market. Also, although there are two journalists’ associations, they have a very weak role and none of them exerts the pressure a trade union is supposed to have. This debate was initiated by IREX.New publication on TV Journalism
“TV Journalism” is the title of the new publication for journalists, aiming to serve as a guide for TV theory and practice. This book, by Gerhard Schult and Axel Buchholz, translated by Ardian Klosi, is supposed to assist to TV working journalists or potential journalists who desire to work in one of the most powerful media nowadays. To this effect, the book serves as a guide on professional secrets of working on television based on the experience gained through the years by German specialists. This is one of the first books of its kind published in Albania, and so far TV journalists have worked in an amateur, learning-by doing way. Some of the topics addressed by this book include showing with images, image specifics, the different formats used in TV, the planning of a TV story, carrying out a full TV show, as well as special information on TV equipment and the specifics of using them to the best. This publication was supported by the Albanian Media Institute.Conference on US-Albanian ties
A two-days conference titled “Albanian-American relations: Understanding the future through the past” took place at the Books and Communications House on September 27-28. The aim of the conference was to address the relations between the two states since the early 1900s in specific aspects. Some of the topics addressed during the conference were the history of Albanian-US relations, the economic context of these relations, the cultural ties and mutual influence, the role of American government in the Balkan crisis, the impact of the Albanian American community in bilateral relations, etc. The lecturers included distinguished professors from several American universities, political experts and directors of think-tanks and research centers, government members, well-known publicists and researchers, distinguished academicians, etc. The conference was organized by the American Embassy in Tirana, the Books and Communications House, and the Albanian Media Institute.Publication of “Karvani” magazine
The sixth issue of “Karvani” magazine was published and distributed with “Shekulli,” the daily paper with the highest circulation in Albania, on August. The topic of the present issue was on the war against the corruption, as one of the most upsetting problems in nowadays Balkans. Several authors from the Balkans and international experts living in the area published their articles in this periodical. Apart from Albania, this magazine is distributed along with daily papers in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia. This publication is in the framework of a regional media project called “Balkan Bridges: Search for Common Ground,” supported by the European Union, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
LETTER CONCERNING CARDS PROGRAM
The National Working Group of Media of the Stability Pact addressed a letter to the Prime Minister, his Deputy, the Minister of European Integration, to the Head of European Delegation in Tirana, and to the Ambassador of Denmark in Tirana. This letter expressed concern about the absence of support to the development of independent and professional media in the CARDS program for Albania. Media is not mentioned as a priority under “Democratic Stabilization,” or as an isolated priority, neither in the Country Strategy Paper 2002-2006, nor in the Multi-Annual Indicative Program.
According to this letter with the help of the CARDS program the media situation can experience a significant difference, for example press distribution can be improved to increase the readership of newspapers. Also, the journalism faculty, presently not in the best shape, can improve considerably in order to provide a better training for young journalists. As of now, the Albanian print media or electronic one is not financially viable without outside assistance, and the situation is even worse when it comes to local media outlets. Despite these problems, the media was not able to benefit from the CARDS Program of the European Commission.TWO NEW DAILIES
This month witnessed the emergence of two new dailies in Albanian media: “Panorama,” and “Sot.” The papers have both 24 pages, with the front, last, and middle pages in color. Like most of the other dailies these papers do not target any particular group from the Albanian population, thus not aiming at any specific segment of the advertisements’ market. The latest arrivals in the landscape of the Albanian press take the number of daily publications in Albania to 18, which has a disproportional relation to the country’s small population, as well as to the relatively small number of circulation for the overwhelming part of these publications, and finally to the limited number of advertisements in the market.REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON MEDIA REGULATION
A regional workshop on media laws and regulation took place in Tirana on October 25-26, with the participation of about 25 journalists, media researchers, lawyers, regulators, and academicians from several countries in Eastern Europe. The focus of discussion was the proper way to regulate media activities without restricting press freedom, nor infringing upon human rights. In order to do this the participants exchanged information and real-life cases from their own countries and work experience. The discussions took place both from the viewpoint of journalists’ organization, self-regulation and trade unions, as well as from the state’s role and especially that of the media regulatory bodies. The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the Central European Initiative project.TRAINING BY THE GUARDIAN FOUNDATION
Paul Murphy, Finance Editor of the English weekly “The Guardian” visited Albania on October 23-27. During this visit he carried out an in-house training with reporters at the daily “Korrieri.” The main aim of this training was laying the foundation to set up an investigative desk as an integral part of the newsroom’s structure. He gained familiarity with the media situation in general and the specific newsroom in particular, in order to exchange ideas and experience with several reporters. In the course of the visit he also visited other important media outlets in Albania, such as daily “Gazeta Shqiptare,” Top Channel, Klan TV, and met faculty members from the Department of Journalism at the University of Tirana.DOCUMENTARY MOVIE ON ALBANIAN MEDIA TRANSITION
The Albanian Media Institute and Tirana’s Municipality organized the premiere of “Equinox” on October 14. This movie attempts to mirror the transition that the Albanian media has experienced in the last decade as a part of the overall change that the Albanian society has undergone. The movie poses many questions and gives many answers through the eye of the Albanian media, mainly the television. Key persons operating in the media share their experience in the course of the movie, reminding the viewer of the key, although dramatic moments and events in Albanian transition. The movie was directed by Kujtim Cashku, a well-known Albanian movie director, and supported by the Albanian Media Institute.SECOND STAGE OF PR TRAINING PROJECT STARTS
Albanian Media Institute initiated the second stage of the PR Training project in the framework of the extensive “Open Media, Open Government” project on October 21-25. During this stage ten persons will receive training, including spokespersons from several ministries, as well as from the Tirana Municipality and the Central Bank of Albania. The trainer was Daniel Burkhardt, from the Higher School of Hotels and Tourism in Bellinzona, Switzerland.
The topics addressed during the first week include the basis of economics and the marketing, the target group, the basis of PR and its instruments, as well as its deontology. These topics were dealt with not only in theoretical fashion, but also in an extensive practical level, such as the drafting of a communication plan and the strategy of implementing such a plan. At the end of the course the idea of the establishment of a network or association of the ministries’ spokespersons was discussed, aiming at a better coordination of daily tasks as well as at the exchange of information. The course was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.RADIO JOURNALISM TRAINING
A radio journalism training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on October 9-12, with the participation of nine radio journalists and producers from different countries of Eastern Europe. This course was included in the third stage of the Training of Trainers scheme, implemented by the South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media (SEENPM) and South East European Network of Public Association of Broadcasters (SEENPAB). Previous training has taken place in other countries in Eastern Europe.
The trainers introduced the participants to topics such as “Café-discussion” as a pedagogical tool, reporting on professional and cultural related event, coherence between intention and outcome as an aim towards professional journalism, and constructive feedback and tools for effect measuring. The participants exchanged ideas and discussed widely on these topics, constantly combining them with practical work group.DEUTSCHE WELLE ANNUAL RADIO TRAINING
Deutsche Welle held its annual training for radio journalists at the Albanian Media Institute on October 7-11, with the participation of 11 radio journalists from several local radio stations. The focus of the training, which has taken place for eight years in a row now, was economic reporting. Trainers were Thomas Kirschning and Patrick Schmelzer. The topics addressed during the course were economic information for target audiences, doing research for economic reporting, uncommented commentaries, writing short, snappy, and clear news, presenting the news in an interesting and entertaining manner, fields and sources of economic reporting, journalism ethics, etc. These topics were later discussed and tested in practice by analyzing recorded news, preparation of clips, and visiting a radio station. In the end the participants produced a radio news magazine on economics. This course was supported by the German government.JOURNALISTS' POTENTIAL INVOLVEMENT IN SHISH SPARKS CONTROVERSY
The latest political debate in Albania dragged the journalists’ role in it as well. One of the parliamentary commissions has been interviewing the ex-director of the National Intelligence Service (SHISH) over its activities. One request made by this commission was to provide a list of journalists that had cooperated with the SHISH. So far no names have been made, and neither has the SHISH ex-director admitted that there were journalists on the SHISH lists of informers. However, a vivid debate has started in the journalists’ circles on the question of whether journalists should give out information to SHISH in the name of the national interest, or respect their own code of ethics and respect their responsibilities to the public and to their sources. The prolonged interviewing sessions have been broadcast live by many TV stations, which has prompted another discussion on whether the TV stations should mirror this event so closely and extensively.OSCE AND LOCAL JOURNALISTS AGAINST TRAFFIC
The OSCE office organized a meeting with working journalists in Durres in order to discuss the problems of human trafficking and especially the difficulties that the returnees experience upon their arrival in Albania. Durres is Albania’s largest port and the place where they are first sheltered and accommodated. Some of the key issues discussed in this meeting were the legal and emotional status of the returnees, their legal rights upon return, the absent legal protection if they decide to witness in court, etc. The absence of properly specialized centers and shelters for this group of people, as well as the ways a reporter should handle their delicate status without intruding in their life were other discussions made in the course of the meeting.WORKSHOP ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION
ARTICLE 19, in cooperation with the Albanian Group for Human Rights and the Women’s Center, organized a seminar titled “The public’s right to information and the public administration” on October 24-25. The main focus of this seminar was the discussion of the public’s right to information and the laws on access to official information. The seminar tried to combine the experience of different countries in such fields, attempting a comparative analysis of similar laws in different countries, the different cases taken to the ombudsman, as well as the public administration’s stance vis-à-vis these problems. The speakers were experts in the information access area, media experts, spokespersons, and lawyers from Albania and other countries in the region, as well as from several international bodies.DANISH JOURNALISTS VISIT ALBANIA
A group of five journalists working in the main Danish newspapers visited Albania on October 24-29. The main aim of this visit was to get acquainted with the situation of the local media and also to gain a broader view of the country in general. Their reports on the situation in the country will appear in their respective media outlets. In the course of their visit they traveled Albania extensively, starting from the capital, heading east, south and finally in Central Albania, visiting the most important cities, natural, cultural and historical resorts on their way. During their stays in these cities they met several representatives of the local government. This visit was organized by the Albanian Charges d’Affaires in Denmark and also supported by the Albanian Media Institute.WEBMASTERS' TRAINING
A training course for webmasters took place at the Albanian Media Institute on October 14-18, with the participation of 11 working or prospective webmasters from several print and electronic media outlets. The main topics addressed in this course were the main notions and elements of a web page, and the technical details of setting up, maintaining, editing, and improving a web page. More specifically the participants received training on front page and its details, test usage and formatting, font properties, kinds of images, proportions’ alteration, creating tables, spanning cells, creating links, bookmarks, using Web Wizard, style sheets, frame usage and editing. Finally the participants constantly tested what they learnt in practice, building, maintaining, and editing their websites. Creating web pages is a relatively new practice and profession in Albania, and just a part of the media outlets have their own websites. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by IREX.LOCAL TV STATIONS' ASSESSMENT
The IREX staff ventured into Northern Albania this month in an effort to develop support for its’ anticorruption/ant-trafficking television program called “Hapur.” The journey began in Lezhe and then on to visit the three stations in Shkodra, to follow with other cities, such as Bajram Curri, Kukes, Peshkopi, Maqellare, and finally on Rreshen and TV Mir Dita. After this visit the general conclusions on the media situation are that the stations in the north are, for the most part, ill equipped and understaffed. The primary fare being broadcast is videos and congratulations messages. The technology of the Tirana TV stations is far removed from the reality of the North. This trip is a follow-up of previous training completed by IREX on investigative journalism for TV journalists, with special focus on corruption stories.NEW PUBLICATION ON MEDIA AND TRAFFICKING
“Media Women Group” launched a new publication on media and human trafficking last month, called “Media and Traffic: Code for human trafficking and prostitution.” The content of this publication attempts to analyze media coverage of the female trafficking phenomenon, which is a severe plague in Albania, as well as in the region. The manual resulted from monitoring daily press in the second half of 2001, pointing at faulty coverage from the journalists regarding this particular topic. Another part of the project was the discussion of the monitoring results in a round table among important editors and journalists, as well as enabling the production of some new stories on some of the hot spots of this activity in the country. This project was supported by the American Embassy.MONITORING ELECTION COVERAGE
The Albanian Group for Human Rights published a report on media coverage of the 2001 general elections titled “Press monitoring and the elections campaign.” In order to produce this report the working group made of several journalists and editors monitored seven Albanian independent dailies as well as the papers of the two main political parties. According to this monitoring project the print media is still highly dependent on political, social and economic changes in the country. However, the report stressed the improvement compared to the coverage of the previous elections. The relatively detailed monitoring reports of media coverage during elections are made on a fortnight basis. The publication is both in English and Albanian.REPORTING ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
"International Reporting on Human Development” was the workshop organized by UNDP in early October. Editors and journalists from the main media outlets took part in the lecture and discussion that followed. The main aim of the workshop was to introduce and discuss the proper way of reporting on human development. The main point was that journalists should always consider the changing context of demographical alterations when reporting on an event or person, however isolated they might seem. The UNDP staff in Albania presented the data this organization possesses in order to make a comparative analysis of Albania with other countries and the respective reporting manners, lending thus a more specific, hands-on flavor to the workshop.NEWSPAPER DESIGN TRAINING
A course on newspaper design took place at the Albanian Media Institute on October 28-November 1, with the participation of seven newspaper designers from local newspapers from several districts, as well as one participant from Kosovo. Trainer was Eric Terlouw from an Amsterdam-based newspaper. The main topics addressed in this course were the basic elements for a newspaper, strengths and weaknesses of layout, designing logos, role of the photos, and captions. The participants discussed actively on these layout issues, bringing examples from Albanian dailies, and applying the theoretical principles in practical layout, such as designing a front page. The course was organized by Press Now.ECONOMIC REPORTING TRAINING
A workshop on economic training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on October 15-18, with the participation of 15 journalists from both national and local electronic and print media. Trainer was Margaret Kilgore, former “LA Times” reporter. The main focus of this training was how to report on economic issues, making the report understandable for everybody, obtaining statistics, interpreting economic data, having in mind the social context of the overall national situation, etc. The course was supported by the Office of the US State Department at the American Embassy, Tirana.STUDY TOUR OF ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS
Three well-known Albanian journalists and analysts participated in a study tour to the United States of America on September 30-October 18. The main aim of this activity was for the journalists to get acquainted with the US foreign policy structure, the decision-making process, and the policy change influenced by the global war against terrorism. Mustafa Nano of “Shekulli,” Lutfi Dervishi of “Albania,” and Benet Koleka of Reuters visited the newsrooms of several media outlets that serve as opinion leaders in the USA, such as: “The Washington Post,” “The New York Times,” CNN Headquarters in Atlanta, etc. Another stop was at the Department of State in Washington, DC, where the journalists received extensive information on the American foreign policy structure and on its current trends. The study tour was supported by the Office of the US State Department at the American Embassy, Tirana.SPORTS JOURNALISM AWARDS
The seventh edition of the “Anton Mazreku” awards for sports journalism took place in Tirana on October 25. Many awards were distributed to sports reporters, and not only to Albanian ones, but also to Italian and Montenegrin reporters that have been related to Albania and its sports events. The awards included such categories as best radio comment, best sports book, the national award to a sports reporter, the career award, etc. This association was established ten years ago, and it is the firs time the awards are handed out to non-Albanian citizens as well.
IN-HOUSE TRAINING FOR PRINT MEDIA
An in-house training project took place with seven journalists from the daily “Albania” and “Gazeta Shqiptare” in November. The final production of this in-house training were two supplements of “Albania.” The main aim of this training was to train the reporters to write having in mind a particular kind of reader, more specifically females 20-40 years old. The journalists had several warm-up meetings in order to discuss the right way to approach the particular target group, the interesting issues, the writing style, and the general presentation of the newspaper. The training took place under constant supervision of Erik Farmann, professor at the Danish School of Journalism, and trainer of several courses organized at the Albanian Media Institute. Targeting is not a common practice for daily newspapers in Albania, and neither for the media outlets in general. The project was a follow-up of the “Ideal Newspaper” project from last year, and was supported by DANIDA.FOCUS GROUPS TRAINING
In order to test the success of the training and of the supplements a focus group study was organized for the second supplement. Six students and graduates of social sciences conducted the study under the supervision of Poul Erik Nielsen, professor at the Danish School of Journalism and media researcher. The research assistants held prior meetings during the month discussing the aim of the project, what they should look for during the focus groups’ meetings, and the right way to approach the participants. They paid special attention to the analysis of the focus group results, having in mind the final report to be produced in the end of the project. In the course of their work the researchers worked closely with the journalists for better results. The whole project was a follow-up of the “Ideal Newspaper” project from last year, and was supported by DANIDA.ROUND TABLE ON LITERARY ISSUES
A round table focusing on crucial issues in the area of books, publication, and culture coverage in Albania took place at the Albanian Media Institute on November 6, with the participation of culture reporters from the main daily papers and TV stations. The lecturers included well-known experts, such as a writer, a publisher, translators, bookstore owner, etc. The main issues evolved around publishers’ choices of books, copyright laws, the ratio of translated literature to national one, the state approach to the books’ issue, and finally the media coverage of literature and culture in general. The reporters and lecturers exchanged ideas, impressions, and raised issues relevant to media coverage of culture and its role in promoting awareness of cultural events and issues. The round table followed the closing of the Fifth National Book Fair, which was considered a success for the large number of visitors and that of the sold books, which amounted to 70,000 copies. This meeting of culture reporters is a follow-up of a training in culture reporting completed a year ago.DIGITAL EDITING TRAINING
A five-days advanced course for TV editors took place at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on November 4-8, with the participation of six editors from local TV stations, outside of Tirana. The main topics addressed in the course of the training were basic knowledge on TV editing, the difference between analog and digital signals and editing, and the basic operation rules of video machine, the device that carries out digital editing. In this course the theoretical part was constantly combined with practical on-field shooting for a better testing of the knowledge gained. At the end of the training each participant produced a TV story or advertisement by making use of digital editing. The participants also visited the Albanian National Television’s editing studios, in order to become familiar with the appliances used there. The course was organized and supported by AMI.SECOND WEEK OF PR TRAINING
The second week of the second stage of PR training took place on November 11-15 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of spokespersons from the government. In the first part the addressed topics were: media and their needs, news and their angle, face-to-face, phone, and radio interviews. Lecturer was Carlo De Blasio, correspondent of Rai 24 News in the USA. Having an experience as a PR as well, he talked about the media requests and their addressing.
The last two days trainer was Roberta Pedrinis, communication expert at the School of Tourism in Lugano. She focused on interpersonal communication and the mediated one. Apart from the theoretical theses the participants had the opportunity to try themselves in front of the cameras, and later they discussed on their appearances, shortcomings and strong points. The course was supported by the Swiss Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”
The Albanian Parliament decided to freeze the process of license granting for electronic media outlets with the proposal of the Parliamentary Commission for the Media on November 5. According to the new law, there will be no new licenses for electronic media outlets till mid-2003. This period of suspension will allow for the drafting of the plan of frequencies by the National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT.) At the end of this period NCRT will re-examine the granted licenses and then start the process of granting new ones in accordance with the plan of frequencies. Also, the parliament passed the decision of removing devices that allow the broadcast of foreign channels, which are under the jurisdiction of local governments. The drafting of the frequencies’ plan will be carried out in accordance with the agreement signed by NCRT, DANIDA, and IREX, and with the cooperation of the Parliamentary Commission for the Media. The OSCE Presence in Albania welcomed the adoption of the amendments made to the broadcasting law, as well.MEDIA AWARENESS OF TRAFFICKING PROBLEMS
A seminar on the importance of the media in raising awareness against human trafficking took place in Tirana on November 14, with representatives from both print and electronic media outlets in Albania. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) stressed the impact that the media could and should have in presenting this plague of Albanian society at the moment. The main focus of discussion was the media perception and reporting of human trafficking phenomenon and the illegal emigration. In the course of the meeting three spots against this phenomenon were shown, which had been first broadcast by the national TV stations. These meetings with media representatives are supposed to continue in the future, and they will serve as a warm-up for the international workshop on human trafficking that will take place this December in Tirana.RADIO SOAP MARKS ITS 300TH EPISODE
“Rruga me Pisha” radio soap opera marked its 300th episode on November 6. This soap opera has been broadcasted for three years, a 90 minutes program every week in Radio Tirana, the national public radio station, and a 30 minutes program every week in the waves of the BBC World Service for Albania and Albanians. This soap opera features characters in the fictional neighborhood “Rruga me Pisha,” who face real life issues of particular relevance to the country at the moment. According to the producers of the show 65% of the Albanians listen to it, as this show aims to be instructive, informing and entertaining at the same time. This show is produced by the “Rruga me Pisha” Foundation.LOCAL JOURNALISTS AGAINST ALLEGED PRESSURE
The Association of Journalists of the Elbasan county sent a letter of protest to some of the highest executive authorities in the country regarding the pressure they claim is being exerted on one of their colleagues. Kujtim Borici is a correspondent working for “Shekulli,” the biggest daily in the country, and he has been sued twice by a local judge regarding two articles that he had published.
The judge claimed that these articles constituted defamation, but the court decided in favor of the defendant. Since then, according to this association, Borici is experiencing constant and purposeful psychological pressure by the authorities. According to this letter of protest Borici is a regular guest at the General Prosecutor’s office for five months now, which is causing difficulties in his doing a proper job.
In early November the National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) decided to reduce the validity of licenses for three Tirana-based TV stations: Junior TV, Neser TV, and TV Calvin. This decision was linked with these televisions’ violation of rules regarding the usage of Albanian. These stations were found not to abide by the rule that all shows should be subtitled, dubbed, or have a voice over in Albanian. The validity of their license went from five to four years. NCRT warned for temporary suspension of the license for all media outlets that do not respect this rule. Also, NCRT demanded the immediate interruption of shows that are taken directly by the satellite stations, warning that it would apply the respective fines or even withdrawal of license.GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSONS DISCUSS MEDIA ASSISTANCE
The spokespersons of the government gathered in a meeting on November 1 to discuss their role and relations with journalists and representatives of media outlets. The main focus of the discussion was the need for a broader spectrum of information and the increase of visibility for the media outlets. In this way, the media and thus the public will receive the necessary information on the government tasks and policies. The spokespersons agreed that they should be more active in fulfilling their informative duties vis-à-vis the media representatives, in order to convey the relevant information to the public as efficiently as possible.INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS REACT ON MEDIA PRESSURE
Several international organizations have complained about new signals of government pressure against the media, more specifically the daily “Koha Jone.” This newspaper has experienced several financial controls by fiscal government agencies ever since. The newspaper’s publisher claims that this is a purposeful deed, since the financial controls take place in spring. Human Rights Watch, World Association of Newspapers, and World Forum of Publishers have protested against this alleged pressure against media. They have demanded that the government guarantees that the financial controls are not being used as a tool to pressure the media outlets which convey information that puts the government in an unfavorable light. “Koha Jone,” the first independent newspaper, has a history of incidents with the government, be it right or left one.NEW PUBLICATION ON REPORTING
The latest publication on journalism is a book titled “Profession: War Reporter,” by Mimmo Candito, translated by Virgjil Muci. This book casts a historic viewpoint on the experience of war reporting, starting from Hemingway to the latest wars. Using a historical point of view, Candito tries to analyze the manner and evolution of reporting styles for these wars, raising thus the issue of new technologies, which he claims are moving journalism from the reality to a certain degree.
The book is composed of sudden chronicles and historical events, which have left their mark in history as well as in the lives of the reporters employed in following these conflicts. The author stresses that in a world ruled always more by thorough technologies, even today the reporter stays out of the battle field and narrates more on the war machine, the electronics of rockets, and the war technology in general. But this distancing of the reporter from the reality does nothing else but reinforces a tension of a moral nature. The reporters should never subject to the pre-fabricated schemas of their own work, so the reporters should never be manipulated and betray the reality. This book will be of great help in knowing war reporting, a field unknown so far in Albanian journalism. This publication was supported by the Albanian Media Institute.NEW ISSUE OF LITERARY PUBLICATION
The thirteenth edition of “Aleph,” a quarterly literary magazine, came out this month. This magazine is one of the few targeted and specifically focused ones in the Albanian media market. Some of the main sections addressed in this magazine are the interviews with literary characters on specific literary topics, prose sections from Albanian and foreign authors, essays on topics relevant to literature, etc. The magazine also contains an art section, including photos and drawings. This magazine has established a sound tradition of literary magazine and review in the Albanian market, with a staff comprised of well-known writers, translators, and critics. The magazine was supported by the Albanian Media Institute and the Soros Foundation.DIFFICULT ACCESS TO LOCAL MEDIA
The Albanian Committee of Helsinki has complained for the difficult access of media outlets to the government in local areas, specifically in Vlora. According to the statement by this group there is a significant lack of transparency of the local administration and government. The right to access to information is limited according to this statement, although it is fundamentally guaranteed by the constitutional rights of the Albanian state. According to the journalists the local authorities do not render their decisions and actions public. Special complaints pertain to the City Council, local police and court, who display a constant lack of communication and conveying of information to the journalists and thus to the public.DAILY CELEBRATES ITS 5TH ANNIVERSARY
“55,” a daily newspaper, celebrated its fifth anniversary on November 20. This newspaper is an independent publication, with pages in English and Italian, as well. Many journalists, editors, writers, and some government representatives were present at the reception. This newspaper also has a publishing house, whose latest publications were presented at the celebration party.
TRAINING OF YOUNG TV REPORTERS
The annual UNICEF initiative of a national training workshop for young reporters took place at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on December 2-7, with the participation of about 45 young TV reporters. The main aim of this workshop was to train young TV reporters to build news stories. Some of the main issues addressed were generating story ideas, the elements of a good story, shooting news video with editing in mind, ordering and organizing the shoots, what makes a great TV interview, understanding the relationship between pictures and sound, and the elements for a good script.
During the training the theoretical lectures were constantly combined with shooting on the field. Different techniques of building a TV news story were tackled, such as ordering shots, playing with time, leaving frame, cutaways, crossing the line, the partnership of reporter and cameraperson, preparation for successful interviews, relationship between interview and “B-roll,” different types of audio and video, marrying pictures and sound, and writing for TV. In the end the participants produced their TV news stories and critiqued them. Trainers were Dale Rutstein, UNICEF Communication Officer, Polly Renton, director and producer in the UK, Kela Qinami, producer of Troc, and Adi Kamberi, assistant director/cameraman. The course was supported by UNICEF, Albanian National Television, and AMI.
The third week of the PR training for the spokespersons of government ministries took place at the Albanian Media Institute on December 9 – 14. One of the main topics addressed during this course was the press conference, more specifically: its organization, preparatory steps, the technical aspects of a press conference, its development and the manner the media mirrors it. Another topic was the preparation of an electronic agenda, which is a necessity for the PR officers who have extensive relations with the media outlets. Lecturer was Tomas Miglierina, Head of Programs from RTSI.
A novelty of this training week in the course of the project was the participation of an Albanian PR officer, Dasara Dizdari, who shared her local experience in this area, more specifically on the manner of PR functioning in the NGO-s, which are considered to be more advanced in this area compared to the public organizations. This part of the course was similar to a discussion, where the spokespersons compared and contrasted their working styles with that of the lecturer, thus exchanging valuable experience. The course was supported by the Swiss Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”
A conference on the perspectives on the Albanian public radio and TV took place in Tirana December 12. The main focus of the conference was the future of the Albanian public radio and TV stations. One of the main issues discussed during the conference was the media regulation, dealing with matter such as Albania’s need for public station, the manner of ruling and financing a public station, and the solution of political and legal matters. Other important issues tackled in the course of this conference were management and content, addressing matters such as internal structure, improving human resources management, experience from private stations, public opinion polls, public emission programs, improving journalistic standards and independence, etc. The lecturers and participants included distinct journalists, members of parliament, media lawyers, editors, managers of private stations, journalists, and media experts. Doris Pack. Member of European Parliament, attended the conference, too. The conference was organized by ZDF, the European Institute for the Media, and the Albanian Media Institute, and supported by European Commission and the German government in the framework of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe.CONFERENCE ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION
A conference titled “Access to information, a basic human right,” took place in Tirana on December 12. The main aim of this conference was to discuss the relationship of government at different levels towards the public, in the context of access to information and transparent ruling. Some of the main issues addressed by the speakers were governing vis-à-vis the citizen and the community, the lack of transparency in examining legal cases, the transparency of local government, the judicial power and access to information, having in mind the public interest, bureaucracy and the public, public administration ethics, etc.
In the course of the conference data by the monitoring of the Ombudsman were presented, as well, taken from a report from the performance of the state administration on transparency regarding the public. The issue of transparency was discussed from the viewpoint of different positions, such as the customs, the fiscal authorities, the anti-corruption unit, the National Chamber of Lawyers, members of parliament, editors, representatives of the civil society, mayors of main cities, etc. The conference was organized by the Ombudsman and the Institute of Public and Legal Studies, under the auspices of the President and it was supported by DANIDA.
A seminar on investigative journalism took place in Tirana on December 19-21, with the participation of editors, reporters, and media experts whose work is related to investigative reporting. The main aim of the seminar was the discussion of the investigative methods of Albanian journalists while addressing the problems related to human trafficking. Some of the main topics were the reality of investigative reporting in Albania, sources to be used, journalist risks, the weight of this kind of journalism in the country, editing news, corroboration of the information, and remaining objective in the course of reporting.
These issues were discussed by bringing examples of the achievements during the last decade, the impact of investigative reporting, and the circumstances in which this kind of journalism is conducted. Other issues discussed included the relevant legislation, the division between the people’s right to know and the “national” secret, state’s relations with investigative journalism, journalism freedom, etc. The speakers included well-known editors, investigative reporters, media lawyers, and faculty members from the Department of Journalism, University of Tirana. The seminar was organized by the Institute of Research on Democracy and Development, and supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The televisions have reduced the sex and violence scenes compared to two years ago, according to the latest monitoring done by the National Council of Radio and Televisions (NCRT.) Although the Department of Complaints at NCRT receives frequent complaints by the public about improper scenes broadcasted in early hours, its head stated that the televisions are obeying the respective law to a greater extent. About 80% of the complaints deal with sex scenes in improper hours, whereas only 2% of them are about violence. On the other hand, the national televisions and most of the private stations claim they comply with the law to the fullest. According to the latest decision made by NCRT the TV stations should also refrain from broadcasting ads for hot lines while broadcasting movies or other programs. Instead, they should only be aired as separate ads, after numerous complaints made by the public.LATEST PUBLICATION OF “KARVANI”
The seventh issue of the “Karvani” magazine was published in early December and distributed with “Shekulli,” the daily with the largest circulation in Albania. This issue focused on gender issues, more specifically on the female position in different Balkan societies. The articles in this issue addressed relevant problems to women in these countries nowadays, such as female role in politics, the difficult road to emancipation, females facing and challenging the mentality that rules the Balkan states, etc. Several distinct female journalists or personalities from the Balkan countries supplied most of the articles. Even though the magazine is mainly focused on gender issues, articles which deal problems of a more general nature are present as well, such as the environment, the issue of nuclear energy in the Balkans, etc. This publication is in the framework of a regional media project called “Balkan Bridges: Search for Common Ground,” supported by the European Union, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.FIRST PRIVATE TV CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY
Shijak TV celebrated its seventh anniversary on December 18 in Tirana. This is a Tirana-based TV station, covering the capital and Central Albania. This was the first private TV station that started in Shijak, a town near Tirana, and then moved to the capital. Many journalists, editors, writers, and some government representatives were present at the reception organized for the event.DEUTSCHE WELLE'S ANNIVERSARY OF ALBANIAN DEPARTMENT
Deutsche Welle celebrated its tenth anniversary of the Albanian department in Tirana on December 12. This station also opened its own frequency in Albania recently. Until now Albanians listened to Deutsche Welle thanks to the broadcast made by other Albanian stations of its news. Deutsche Welle’s Albanian programs are also broadcast in Prishtina, in the framework of this station’s aim to serve as a bridge connecting people. Many journalists, editors, writers, and some government representatives were present at the reception organized for the event.NEW LOCAL PUBLICATION
“Urat” is the new local paper that started its publication in Saranda, the southernmost city in Albania. This is a monthly publication of the Association of Ionian Professional Journalists, that was created last September, out of an annual meeting of Albanian and Greek journalists living in the cross-border area. The main focus of this newspaper is the Southern area of Albania, especially the relations between minorities, ethnic or other kind. One of the main aims of the editorial team of the newspaper is to contribute to the building and strengthening of bridges that tie different groups. Most of the Greek minority present in Albania lives in this particular area, and the relations with Greece are very frequent.