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Newsletters Archive
AMI Newsletters             2003

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

AMI NEWSLETTER- January 2003 


DECISION MAKERS’ CONFERENCE

The annual “Media Decision Makers’” conference took place in Tirana in January 17-18, with the participation of about 20 decision makers from several countries in the region. The main topic of the conference was reporting on diversity and the main issues to consider on the process. Some of the issues discussed in the course of the workshop were the notion of diversity, its importance for cultural integration, diversity in public broadcasting, the role of media in integrating society, diversity for a greater audience, etc. The editors, directors, and analysts also engaged in a practical simulation, which evolved around the topic of diversity and how it affects media and society. The conference was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and the London-based Media Diversity Institute.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COPYRIGHTS

“Copyrights in Albania: objectives and tools for achievement,” was the title of the first national conference of this kind organized in Tirana in January 30. The main issues discussed were the situation of copyrights in the country, especially regarding music and audiovisual works, existing legislation and implementation, electronic media piracy, copyright observation by publishing houses, legal cases on this topic, etc. The keynote speakers were representatives of Albanian organizations dealing with copyrights, monitoring state organizations, media law experts, lawyers, etc. They brought their experience both from the legal or state viewpoint, as well as from the private or artists’ angle. The conference was organized by the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports, in cooperation with “Albautor,” an agency dealing with copyright.

SECOND STAGE OF MULTIMEDIA TRAINING

The second stage of multimedia training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on January 14-18, with the participation of 12 people working in this field from the Balkan countries. This course followed the first stage of the training, completed in Skopje. After discussing the materials and knowledge gained during the first stage, the training proceeded with the presentation and practice of the web publishing tools and programs. The main issues tackled were linear and non-linear storytelling on the web and designing for the web. The participants constantly applied their knowledge in practice, and the course resulted in the final production of web stories. The course was organized in the framework of SEENPM activities.

SECOND STAGE OF PR TRAINING FINISHES

The fourth week of PR training for the spokespersons of government ministries took place at the Albanian Media Institute on December 13–17. During the first three days the main topics addressed were the drafting of press releases, its formulation, composition details, and preparing media kits. One issue of a more theoretical nature was the deontology and ethics of PR. Lecturer was Sergio Gessi, PR expert and spokesman of Ferrara municipality.
In the other two days the lecturer focused on several aspects and strategies of communication, be it interpersonal or mediated one, notion of image, different PR target groups, basic elements of PR planning. A review of all topics addressed during the whole training took place at the end. Lecturer was Roberto Carlo Borioli, communication expert in Lugano. Theoretical lectures were combined with practical exercises during the whole training. The end of this week marked the completion of the second stage of PR training. The course was supported by the Swiss Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”

ANNUAL AUDIENCE RESEARCH

The Institute of Surveys and Opinions published the second audience research, following last year’s survey. According to this survey the most watched TV station is Klan TV, one of the private national TVs, with 21,5% of the overall audience. TVSH, the public station, which was first in the last survey, ranked second, followed by Top Channel, which emerged just a year ago. The survey included samples of families picked at random from several districts of Albania, covered by different TV signals. This project was carried out from September till October, and it was supported by USAID and IFES.

PUBLICATION ON LOCAL RADIO

“Information on local radio” is the latest book on radio journalism published by the Albanian Media Institute. Intended as a manual for reporters and editors working at the local radios, this book addresses some of the main issues and problems local radios have been facing from the 90-s and on. For example, important issues discussed in the book are the competition local radios face, their tradition and transition, journalists’ motivation, informative problems on local radios and their specific features, such as sources, in-depth news, interviewing, vox-populi, etc. The other part of the book is more focused on the legal practices, financial obligations, and contact information of local radios. Author is Arben Muka, one of the trainers that make up the core of six local journalists who have received training on radio reporting and management.

“HOW TO ESTABLISH A PRESS OFFICE”

The book “How to establish a press office” by Francesco Pira, translated by Agim Doksani, addresses the basic elements and problems of establishing a press office. The book deals with theoretical aspects of communication and later passes on to practical aspects of working at a press office. Some of the issues tackled in the course of the book are the press release, its kinds and techniques, the press conference, press review, confutations, and other elements of a PR officer’s job. The new technologies used in this area occupy an important role.
Having a great practical experience in the field of communication and press offices, the author has tried to be very clear on the ideas and elements of the topics he addresses. Even though the book is in a way for beginners, it serves the PR officers in improving their job and communication with the media and the public. The publication was supported by SDC in the framework of the “PR Training Project,” and was distributed free to PR officers and to several governmental and non-governmental organizations.

REPORTING ON DIVERSITY

“Reporting Diversity Manual” was the latest publication of the Media Diversity Institute, in cooperation with Samizdat B92. This book, with a manual on diversity on the media by David Tuller, focuses on how to report on diversity issues, bringing specific examples published in the regional press in order to discuss the advantages and disadvantages, as well as the good and bad ways to report about it. Some of the main sections in the publication are ethnicity, religion, gender, disabled people, elderly people, refugees, sexual orientation, etc. Apart from the main issues that come out of the selected stories, the manual contains practical tips on reporting diversity, as well as ways to teach this specific trait of reporting. The manual is published in English, Albanian and Serbo-Croatian versions, aimed at working reporters in the region. The publication is supported by the European Commission.

NEW BOOK ON HUMAN SOCIETY

One of the latest publications supported by the Albanian Media Institute is “The Plough, the Sword, and the Book,” by Ernest Gellner, translated by Ardian Klosi. The book presents the reader with the philosophy of human history from the Neolithic period to the present days. By describing the social changes that took place Gellner refutes the genetic and teleological explanations and stresses the role of particular combinations, circumstances, and knowledge, instead. The author claims that although we cannot predict the future, we can better estimate our options by a right understanding of the past.


AMI NEWSLETTER - February 2003


ROUND TABLE ON MEDIA IMAGE

A round table on the image of media among the public took place in Tirana on February 25, with the participation of representatives from the main electronic media outlets, academics, media experts, researchers, civil society, etc. According to the annual survey made by the National council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) the image of the media in the eyes of the public has experienced a decline, with growing demand for more responsibility from the media outlets. The survey resulted in growing sensitivity from the public vis-à-vis violence and sex scenes, bad translation of the movies, lack of proper signals for most of the time, and consequently in a great question mark on the ethical behavior of the media outlets. So, more than 80 per cent of the people surveyed reacted strongly against violence and sex on the TV screen, among other features. The round table focused on the thin line dividing freedom of expression and ethical behavior, the situation in the country, and comparisons with similar cases in the region and in Western European countries. The round table was organized by NCRT and the Albanian Media Institute.

JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION CLAIM PM PRESSURE ON MEDIA

The Association of Albanian Electronic Media (AAEM) claims that Prime Minister Nano is pressuring the media in order to gain their support. The latest event was the suspension of the lottery “Gates of Fortune,” run by the national TV Klan for more than two years now, after a flash action to confiscate illegal lottery tickets. The owners of the television claim that the PM is behind this affair, in an effort to pressure them and receive their support. The lottery was suspended and the investigation is on for the validity of the license for this operation. According to the declaration issued by the AAEM, this is the latest incident that marks Nano’s pressure on the development of free media, following other pressures they claim the PM exerted on other media outlets, such as TV Koha, Top Channel, Gjeli Vizion, etc.

LOCAL JOURNALISTS EXPERIENCE PROBLEMS

Two incidents occurred with journalists outside Tirana this month, one in Shkodra, Northern Albania, and another in Korca, in the Southeastern part. A reporter for the public television and a correspondent for one of the main dailies were physically assaulted in each of the cities. The journalist in the North was beaten up in the City Hall by two employees after interviewing the Mayor. The correspondent in Korca was assaulted by relatives of persons arrested by the police, after he published the information confirmed by the city police in the daily paper. The reporters have filed suits against their assailants.

IN-HOUSE RADIO TRAINING

Another in-house radio training took place on February 17-19, at “Radio Perla” in Durres with the participation of eight 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.

ETHICS OF ALBANIAN MEDIA DISCUSSED

According to a recent monitoring the main Albanian dailies violated most of the rules of the Albanian code of ethics in the October-December period. This monitoring was carried out by the Albanian Group in the Media, and the results were presented to fellow journalists in February 21 at the Albanian Media Institute. The monitoring concluded that the most frequent violations were the discrepancy of headlines with the content, inaccuracy, publication of names and photos of minors. The Albanian code of ethics was discussed at length, along with the need for its revision, as well as compared to foreign codes of ethics. The participants proposed that this series of meetings continues.

SEMINAR ON RADIO SOAP OPERAS

A regional seminar on radio soap operas as a way of communication took place in Tirana on February 24, with the participation of NGO representatives, media experts, editors, and experts on this area from the BBC World Service. The main focus of the seminar was the role of radio soap operas in the strengthening of democracy in countries of transition. The discussion included the comparison of propaganda, the current broadcasts by electronic media, and finally radio soap operas as a way of informing the public. One of the main hosts and organizers was the “Rruga me pisha” foundation, which has been broadcasting a soap opera with the same title for a long period now, under the auspices of the BBC World Service.

WELL-KNOWN ANALYST CLAIMS CENSURE AND PRESSURE

Fatos Lubonja, a well-known analyst, claims his article was unnecessarily censored by the “Shekulli” newsroom. His piece on the war in Iraq contained unnecessary irony for the situation of Albania and Albanians, the “Shekulli” newsroom claimed, and thus the article was edited, despite containing a note at the end of the article, which claimed that the opinion expressed was the author’s and not the newsroom’s. A few days later Lubonja published the full piece at two other dailies as well as a letter at “Shekulli.”
Another incident took place when the Prime Minister’s wife stated she would sue the analyst on charges of giving inaccurate information. Lubonja said he had quoted information from another article, which stated that the PM’s spouse had bought 25% of the shares of TVA, a private national TV, which she confuted immediately.

ESTABLISHMENT OF NGO AGAINST PIRACY

The Albanian Media Institute provided the setting this month for a group of Albanian program producers and screenwriters so that they could inaugurate an NGO that would work to eliminate the piracy that dominates the airwaves. The Forum for the Protection of Producers and Authors (FMPA), was agreed upon unanimously by the nineteen attendees who represent a majority of those working in the field.
Among the goals of the new organization is to replace the pirated foreign programming by pooling their own productions from their archives, putting them into a catalog and making them available for sale to the TV broadcasters. This will involve setting up a distribution company that will serve the territory of Albanian speaking areas including Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia. The association will also include programming purchased from the West under license agreements. The programs will be distributed to broadcasters using a syndication license developed in conjunction with Albanian law. IREX is providing the initial funding for the FMPA.

“TEMA” EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CLAIMS PHONE THREATS

The editor-in-chief of “Tema,” one of the Albanian daily papers, claims he received threatening phone calls on February 15. According to the newsroom the person who called said that the paper had published his name and phone number on charges of trafficking and murder. The alleged threat followed articles on the groups that operated during the 1997 crisis. The paper has gone to the General Prosecutor for further investigation into this matter.

ESTABLISHMENT OF REGIONAL JOURNALIST LEAGUE

This month witnessed the establishment of the “Northern Journalists’ Union,” comprising journalists from Shkodra, the biggest Northern city, and other areas in Northern Albania. According to the founders of the union, the present working conditions of the journalists in the country led to the necessity of establishing this organization. The pressure they experience and the necessary turn for help from state structures were the main reasons that led them to found this union.

TAR CELEBRATES ITS 5th ANNIVERSARY

Top Albania Radio celebrated its 5th anniversary on February 14. This was one of the radios who gained a national license with the wave of licensing in 1998. Boosting advanced digital technology, the signal of TAR covers all of Albania and some neighboring areas, as well.


AMI NEWSLETTER - March 2003


TV ANCHORS TRAINING COURSE

A training course on TV Anchors took place at the Albanian Media Institute on March 24-26, with the participation of 16 anchors working at the main TV stations in the capital. The main aim of this course was to introduce the anchors to the main principles and skills of presenting the news on TV. Trainer was Jamie Owen, anchor at BBC radio and TV sections. The course was more of a hands-on experience, enabling the participants to test immediately the principles discussed in theory. Each of the participants had to bring their own tapes while presenting the news, re-do them in a TV studio and at the end have a group discussion on the results. The participants also became familiar with the BBC experience in this field. The training was organized and supported by the Albanian Media Institute.

CONFERENCE ON MEDIA LEGISLATION

A two-day conference on the topic of defamation and insult in the Albanian legislation took place in Tirana on March 28-29. The conference aimed at igniting the debate on the necessity of amendments to the Albanian legislation, especially the Albanian Criminal Code. Another objective was the establishment of a working group on draft amendments to the Albanian Penal Code. Mainly the keynote speakers focused on the concepts of defamation and insult in the European and international legal framework, the presentation of the Regional Conference on Defamation and Freedom of Expression in Strasbourg, an overview of the Albanian legislation on this topic and its impact on the existing media, and finally on the journalists’ responsibility. International experts, MPs, lawyers, journalists, and representatives of civil society participated in this conference. The conference was organized by the Council of Europe and the Albanian Media Institute in the framework of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe.

THIRD MODULE OF PR TRAINING STARTS

After the completion of training for local and central government spokespersons the third module of the PR Training project started on March 17-21 at the Albanian Media Institute. The nine participants are spokespersons or employees at the press offices of the Albanian political parties that are represented in the Parliament. Some of the topics addressed during the lectures were the basics of marketing, the target public, PR deontology, and communication. Lecturer was Daniel Burkhardt, SSAT director in Lugano, Switzerland.
Considering the specific nature of the participants, the lecturer started with a brief introduction of the emergence of the political parties and their development, and later on he passed to the specifics of PR tasks for a political party. The lectures constantly combined with practical aspects of PR jobs in the context of political parties. The vivid debate among the participants on the growing role and structure of PR within the political parties and vis-à-vis the media and the public was a particular trait of this week’s PR training course. The course was supported by the Swiss Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”

NCRT PRESENTS ITS 2003 OBJECTIVES

The National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) has drafted its annual report and plan for next year to be presented to the Parliament early this month. One of the main objectives of NCRT this year will be starting the competition for the granting of licenses to the aspiring electronic media outlets. Last year this organization completed the frequency map of electronic media in Albania. In accordance with this map, NCRT will grant, extend, suspend, or withdraw licenses to the existing or emerging media outlets. A priority for this year will be covering of the whole territory with signal, expanding the territory covered by the national private TV stations, and regulating the interference of station in the neighboring countries with the Albanian media outlets in border areas.

LOCAL JOURNALISTS COMPLAIN TO OSCE

OSCE Chief Press Officer held a meeting with journalists in Kukes, Northern Albania, in March 1, in the context of OSCE field offices gaining familiarity with the media situation in the country. According to the participants the state administration and the town’s police “have raised barriers for the media” while corrupted segments and organized crime have become a serious problem for the working journalists. They demanded that OSCE intervenes in order to improve the situation, dissatisfied as the journalists were with the weak role of the journalists’ association.

PHOTO JOURNALISM EXHIBITION

“The Other Albania” was the title of the photo exhibition opened on March 14 at the National Gallery of Arts. The aim of the exhibition was to introduce and promote the successful image of Albanians that have emigrated to Italy as well as their integration in the life of the hosting country. The photos pictured successful Albanians working in Italy in the last decade, and they were works of Roland Tasho, a well-known Albanian photo reporter. The exhibition took place under the auspices of the International Organization of Migration and the Italian Institute of Culture.

BBC ALBANIAN SECTION'S 10th ANNIVERSARY

The Albanian section of BBC World Service celebrated its 10th anniversary on February 28. Presently this section airs four programs per day in Albanian, aiming at attracting as many young listeners as possible, not only in Albania, but also in Kosovo and Macedonia. The BBC programs in Albanian were first established in 1940 and went on until 1967, the year of interruption, until 1993, when they were re-established.

HUNGARIAN TV PRODUCER RECEIVES AWARD

The Albanian Media Institute and the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded a certificate of merit to the Hungarian TV producer Mr. Benda Laszlo on March 14. Mr. Laszlo has traveled frequently to Albania in the last 15 years, producing in the end a documentary on the country. This movie attempts to depict Albania, its people and developments in this period. The Hungarian embassy in Albania organized a reception for this event, where the producer was present, apart from well-known journalists, and the movie was shown, as well.

ADVANCED COURSE FOR CAMERAMEN

A five-days advanced course for cameramen started at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on March 10, with the participation of 14 cameramen from TV stations operating in the capital. 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.

LATEST PUBLICATION OF “KARVANI”

The eighth issue of the “Karvani” magazine was published in March 29 and distributed with “Shekulli,” the daily with the largest circulation in Albania. This issue focused on children issues, more specifically on the children situation in the different Balkan societies. The articles in this issue addressed relevant problems to children in these countries nowadays, such as children trafficking, post-war trauma, children exploitation, their education, child abuse, children in the ethnic minorities, 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.

INTERNET TRAINING

A course on internet training was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on March 26-28, with the participation of 16 journalists from both electronic and 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, intermediate MS Word usage, MS Excel and use of graphics. 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.

TV ANCHORS TRAINING COURSE

A training course on TV Anchors took place at the Albanian Media Institute on March 24-26, with the participation of 16 anchors working at the main TV stations in the capital. The main aim of this course was to introduce the anchors to the main principles and skills of presenting the news on TV. Trainer was Jamie Owen, anchor at BBC radio and TV sections. The course was more of a hands-on experience, enabling the participants to test immediately the principles discussed in theory. Each of the participants had to bring their own tapes while presenting the news, re-do them in a TV studio and at the end have a group discussion on the results. The participants also became familiar with the BBC experience in this field. The training was organized and supported by the Albanian Media Institute.

CONFERENCE ON MEDIA LEGISLATION

A two-day conference on the topic of defamation and insult in the Albanian legislation took place in Tirana on March 28-29. The conference aimed at igniting the debate on the necessity of amendments to the Albanian legislation, especially the Albanian Criminal Code. Another objective was the establishment of a working group on draft amendments to the Albanian Penal Code. Mainly the keynote speakers focused on the concepts of defamation and insult in the European and international legal framework, the presentation of the Regional Conference on Defamation and Freedom of Expression in Strasbourg, an overview of the Albanian legislation on this topic and its impact on the existing media, and finally on the journalists’ responsibility. International experts, MPs, lawyers, journalists, and representatives of civil society participated in this conference. The conference was organized by the Council of Europe and the Albanian Media Institute in the framework of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe.

THIRD MODULE OF PR TRAINING STARTS

After the completion of training for local and central government spokespersons the third module of the PR Training project started on March 17-21 at the Albanian Media Institute. The nine participants are spokespersons or employees at the press offices of the Albanian political parties that are represented in the Parliament. Some of the topics addressed during the lectures were the basics of marketing, the target public, PR deontology, and communication. Lecturer was Daniel Burkhardt, SSAT director in Lugano, Switzerland.
Considering the specific nature of the participants, the lecturer started with a brief introduction of the emergence of the political parties and their development, and later on he passed to the specifics of PR tasks for a political party. The lectures constantly combined with practical aspects of PR jobs in the context of political parties. The vivid debate among the participants on the growing role and structure of PR within the political parties and vis-à-vis the media and the public was a particular trait of this week’s PR training course. The course was supported by the Swiss Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”

NCRT PRESENTS ITS 2003 OBJECTIVES

The National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) has drafted its annual report and plan for next year to be presented to the Parliament early this month. One of the main objectives of NCRT this year will be starting the competition for the granting of licenses to the aspiring electronic media outlets. Last year this organization completed the frequency map of electronic media in Albania. In accordance with this map, NCRT will grant, extend, suspend, or withdraw licenses to the existing or emerging media outlets. A priority for this year will be covering of the whole territory with signal, expanding the territory covered by the national private TV stations, and regulating the interference of station in the neighboring countries with the Albanian media outlets in border areas.

LOCAL JOURNALISTS COMPLAIN TO OSCE

OSCE Chief Press Officer held a meeting with journalists in Kukes, Northern Albania, in March 1, in the context of OSCE field offices gaining familiarity with the media situation in the country. According to the participants the state administration and the town’s police “have raised barriers for the media” while corrupted segments and organized crime have become a serious problem for the working journalists. They demanded that OSCE intervenes in order to improve the situation, dissatisfied as the journalists were with the weak role of the journalists’ association.

PHOTO JOURNALISM EXHIBITION

“The Other Albania” was the title of the photo exhibition opened on March 14 at the National Gallery of Arts. The aim of the exhibition was to introduce and promote the successful image of Albanians that have emigrated to Italy as well as their integration in the life of the hosting country. The photos pictured successful Albanians working in Italy in the last decade, and they were works of Roland Tasho, a well-known Albanian photo reporter. The exhibition took place under the auspices of the International Organization of Migration and the Italian Institute of Culture.

BBC ALBANIAN SECTION'S 10th ANNIVERSARY

The Albanian section of BBC World Service celebrated its 10th anniversary on February 28. Presently this section airs four programs per day in Albanian, aiming at attracting as many young listeners as possible, not only in Albania, but also in Kosovo and Macedonia. The BBC programs in Albanian were first established in 1940 and went on until 1967, the year of interruption, until 1993, when they were re-established.

HUNGARIAN TV PRODUCER RECEIVES AWARD

The Albanian Media Institute and the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded a certificate of merit to the Hungarian TV producer Mr. Benda Laszlo on March 14. Mr. Laszlo has traveled frequently to Albania in the last 15 years, producing in the end a documentary on the country. This movie attempts to depict Albania, its people and developments in this period. The Hungarian embassy in Albania organized a reception for this event, where the producer was present, apart from well-known journalists, and the movie was shown, as well.

ADVANCED COURSE FOR CAMERAMEN

A five-days advanced course for cameramen started at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on March 10, with the participation of 14 cameramen from TV stations operating in the capital. 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.

LATEST PUBLICATION OF “KARVANI”

The eighth issue of the “Karvani” magazine was published in March 29 and distributed with “Shekulli,” the daily with the largest circulation in Albania. This issue focused on children issues, more specifically on the children situation in the different Balkan societies. The articles in this issue addressed relevant problems to children in these countries nowadays, such as children trafficking, post-war trauma, children exploitation, their education, child abuse, children in the ethnic minorities, 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.

INTERNET TRAINING

A course on internet training was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on March 26-28, with the participation of 16 journalists from both electronic and 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, intermediate MS Word usage, MS Excel and use of graphics. 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.


AMI NEWSLETTER- April 2003


REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON LOCAL MEDIA

The Albanian Media Institute organized a regional conference in Shkoder on April 15 on the topic “Local media and local government.” Representatives of the local media outlets from the Northern area of Albania took place, along with representatives of the executive and judicial power in that area. The discussions focused on the access to information law and how it is implemented in practice from the legal point of view. The obligation of the local government to release the required information and the current practice in this field was another topic of discussion in this conference, later complemented with the relation of the judicial power with the media in the access to information framework.
Representatives of the OSCE mission brought their observations regarding the media situation in this field, as well. Finally, media experts shared their impressions regarding the role of the media in an elections campaign, and the responsibility of journalists in Albania, related to the press freedom and the journalists’ code of ethics. This conference was part of an extensive project on the consolidation of the local media, that AMI implements with the support of the European Union.

NCRT ANNUAL REPORT ON PARLIAMENT

According to the report of the National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) politics occupies the crucial part of news editions in the Albanian TV stations. The report also notes that last year witnessed a better balance of the time slots allocated for the opposition vis-à-vis those devoted to the government. According to the same report, the media outlets are unable to cover their high expenses from their own revenue, and thus are vulnerable to illegal finance, or look for support in political actors in exchange of political support. NCRT declared that it will restart the competition for granting of national licenses, stating that considering the existing map of frequencies, no more than one national license can be granted.

PR TRAINING COURSE

The second week of PR training for spokespersons of the Albanian political parties took place on April 14-18 at the Albanian Media Institute. On the first two days Roberta Pedrinis, communication expert at SSAT, Lugano, addressed the basic principles of theory of communication, focusing on the communication process and the non-verbal communication. The lectures combined with practical exercises where the participants tried themselves on camera.
The rest of the week Massimiliano Panarari, with extensive experience both in journalism and PR, addressed topics related to media and news, such as newsrooms and their demands, mastering the interview, kinds of interviews, representation of the candidate during an electoral campaign, etc. The main aim of the lectures was to make the PR officers aware of the media needs and demands, so that they can adjust their work in a better manner. Having in mind the specific nature of the target group in this course, the lecturer focused on political marketing as well. This course is part of the third module of the PR training course, part of the extensive project “Open Media, Open Government,” supported by SDC.

REPORTS ON ALBANIAN MEDIA SITUATION

Two reports mentioning the Albanian media situation came out recently: the annual 2002 “Attacks on the press,” by the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the annual US State Department report on human rights. According to the first report, despite some improvements and reforms, “journalists continue to face government harassment, criminal libel lawsuits, arbitrary dismissal by politicized owners, and limited access to basic government information.” Also, some media outlets faced politically motivated financial inspections and government pressure to dismiss journalists for their critical reporting. The second report expressed similar concerns, along with that that the political alignment is present in almost every TV station and political interference with the media outlets remains a problem.

WORKSHOP ON MEDIA AND DIPLOMACY

Albanian Media Institute and the Albanian Diplomatic Academy organized a two-day workshop on April 1-2, titled “Public diplomacy and media.” The topics addressed in this workshop evolved around diplomacy and diplomatic efforts in Albania, the way they are covered in the media, and the way that this coverage influences public opinion. The main points in this regard were discussed seen from both print and electronic media coverage perspectives. Also, the role of the Albanian media in influencing or shaping public opinion with regard to the problems of democratization in the regional relations was another topic for the workshop. Apart from Ministry of Foreign Affairs representatives, persons related to diplomacy and journalism in Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia participated in this workshop.

JOURNALISM TRAINING ON GENDER ISSUES

UNICEF organized a training workshop on gender issues on April 12 with the participation of about 20 working journalists and students of journalism. The workshop included presentations on gender stereotypes, male/female power relationships, analysis of social issues from a gender perspective, domestic violence and its causes, and prevention of domestic violence. The trainers were sociology experts and they conducted the workshop in an interactive manner. The second part of the workshop focused on discussing better ways to report on this issue, such as tips on finding the story, interviewing victims and perpetrators of violence sensitively, and ethical issues.

COURSE ON EUROPEAN INTEGRATION

A two-day course on European integration took place at the Albanian Media Institute with the participation of 16 journalism students. The main aim of the course was for the participants to get acquainted with the basic knowledge on European Union, its history, institutions, and the future of the integration efforts. The first part of the course was devoted to the history of establishment of EU, the need for its establishment, WWII and its consequences, the important treaties and the main events after the fall of the Berlin wall. The knowledge on the EU institutions constituted an important part of the course, so that the working or future journalists could be able to report in a better-informed manner around the EU-related issues or events. The final part addressed the future of the EU integration, namely the economic relations between EU and the aspiring countries, the Association Stabilization Pact, economic integration and Euro introduction, their consequences, etc. The course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

IN-HOUSE RADIO TRAINING

A three-day in-house radio training took place at Radio Prespa, in Southeastern Albania, an area inhabited by the Macedonian minority. 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. Some of the main points discussed were the specific nature of a local radio, news identification in the field, development of sources, live broadcasting and reporting, kinds of programs, news order, etc. 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.

ALLEGED PRESSURE ON MEDIA

Two events this month indicate a tenser climate regarding media freedom. The publisher of “Shekulli,” the newspaper with the largest circulation in the country, has sued Fatos Lubonja, a well-known analyst in regard to the publication of an e-mail message about Lubonja’s article being censored by “Shekulli.” Lubonja stated that this is an example of the free and independent media being threatened by the business that he allegedly linked with politics. This month witnessed the verdict of the trial against newspaper “Tema” by the Parliament’s vice-chairwoman, which ruled that the paper should buy a five million lek of fine to the plaintiff, approximately equivalent to the sum of 3,700 USD. “Tema” editor-in-chief maintains that they published a simple fact in the debate within the ruling party over the ex-director of the National Intelligence Service.

REGIONAL TRAINING ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING

A five-day training for journalists on coverage of human trafficking took place in Skopje, Macedonia, with the participation of print and electronic journalists from several countries in the Balkans. The training aimed at increasing awareness on this complex and delicate issue in all the region and having a more widespread, accurate, and sensitive media coverage, without stigmatizing victims. This program will continue its series of workshops in other countries in the region, combining presentations by experts with hands-on exercises. Each workshop will be followed by a period of consultations in the participants’ respective newsrooms. This program is a joint initiative of the International Center for Journalists, the South East Europe Network for Professionalisation of the Media, and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the US Department of State.

NEW TEXTBOOK ON JOURNALISM

The second part of “Journalism” textbook came out this month, written by Hamit Borici, an experienced journalist and associate professor at the Department of Journalism at the University of Tirana. This book is targeted at journalism students and takes further the main principles of journalism addressed in the first textbook. Some of the main areas addressed in this book are journalism genres, article structuring, the ethical aspect of journalism, a panorama of the history of the Albanian journalism and its genres. The book does not convey just the historical or theoretical point of view of these journalism problems, but also practical tips and aspects of dealing with each journalism genre and problem. The book is a practical guide for students of journalism or aspiring reporters. This publication was supported by the Albanian Media Institute.

JOURNALISTS’ GUIDE ON COURT REPORTING

A manual for journalists on court reporting came out recently. This booklet aims to provide the reporters with basic knowledge of the main principles of the judicial system in Albania, and thus lead to a better and more enlightened coverage of the relevant issues. The manual contains information on the organization of courts, the status of judges and the respective procedures, and court procedures and main relevant notions. Finally, the booklet presents the reporters with the legal dispositions that are related to the media as well as with the access to information law. This publication will be distributed for free to the reporters and it was supported by the Albanian Media Institute, the Commission of Relations with the Powers, Institutions, and the other Organizations, and by the Organization of American Lawyers.

DAILY NEWSPAPER CELEBRATES 10th ANNIVERSARY

“Gazeta Shqiptare,” one of the main daily newspapers, celebrated its 10th anniversary on April 22. This paper was first published in the 20s by an Italian entrepreneur, and after being stopped it resumed publication ten years ago. Now the paper is still under Italian ownership, however, the staff is completely Albanian.


AMI NEWSLETTER - May 2003


JOURNALISTS LACK WORK CONTRACTS

Most of the working journalists lack contracts and are not paid the insurance by their employers. This was the information released by the Ministry of Work and Social Issues upon the request of the Parliamentary Commission on Media (PCM.) According to the report a great part of the media operating in the capital have not fulfilled their obligations with the insurance company of their employees for the last year, and many of them have not renovated the insurance contract for this year. The PCM called a meeting in order to discuss this issue in May 13, with the participation of representatives from the journalists’ association, the Insurance Company, the Albanian Media Institute, and the National Council of Radio and Television. The participants expressed their concern for the unsatisfactory working conditions of the journalists’ community regarding their insurance. Most of the speakers expressed the need for a collective contract in order to protect the journalists from black work.

GROUP OF JOURNALISTS WORRIED OVER ALLEGED PRESSURE

A group of ten editors-in-chief and analysts working in the main media outlets signed a statement on May 12 expressing their worry over what they referred to as “a government attempt to limit and channel the press coverage of government relations and activities.” This group of journalists claims that the government’s pressure on the media has been increasing recently as the local elections campaign draws near. According to these journalists the pressure campaign, combined with financial threats and increased trials against the journalists, questions the government’s will to respect free expression and the public’s right to know.
The Albanian Committee of Helsinki has also reacted in favor of this statement. This statement followed the start of trial sessions of “Spekter” company versus Lubonja, among other things. This company has several publications, among which “Shekulli,” the paper with the highest circulation in the country. Lubonja is a well-known analyst, who has often written for this paper in the last years. The owner of the company sued Lubonja for slander after an e-mail message he sent to his friends, where he allegedly claimed “Spekter”’s relations with politics.
Another development along these lines is the sue of Prime Minister against “Tema” editor-in-chief, Mero Baze, again for slander in an editorial against the government’s policy versus the people persecuted during the Communist regime. In the recent increasing tension in relations between government and media, the European Commission has expressed its intention to discuss this issue with the Albanian government.

PRIME MINISTER ALERTS ON PIRACY

Prime Minister Nano called a meeting with the owners and directors of the main electronic media in the country on May 15 in order to discuss the concern over piracy as exerted by most of the operating electronic media in the country. Nano stated that the government has approved a draft amendment for the law on radio and televisions to be presented to the Parliament. This amendment, if passed, will aim at improving the situation of copyrights and the enforcement of exclusive television rights of different programs. As of now, few electronic media broadcast their own programs or legally acquired programs exclusively. The participants generally agreed with the draft amendment. However, some of them preferred to allow a certain time period before enforcing the new amendment, so that the media can prepare themselves and adjust to the new rules and the respective change in the market.

ATTEMPTS FOR NEW LAW ON ADS' DISTRIBUTION

The New Democratic Party (NDP) condemned the abusive cases of distributing government ads for political or economic benefits. This party’s spokesman stated that NDP will soon present a new draft law that would regulate the distribution of advertisements by public organizations or state-owned companies to the print and electronic media. According to this party the present practice leaves a lot of room for favorable treatment of certain media at the expense of the others, thus leading to unfair competition as well as increased corruption. NDP’s spokesman stated that some of the ads are futile, as they advertise for important, state-owned monopolies. Also, the manner of selecting the media outlets is subjective, thus paving the way for political favors and corruption. The criteria for the selection of distribution are precisely the aim of the new draft law to be presented.

PR TRAINING COURSE

The third week of the third module of PR training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on May 12-16, with the participation of political parties’ spokespersons. The lecturer focused on the organization of press office and press conference, on the management of briefing and debate during the first three days. The course also addressed the importance of the database in a press office, as well as the specific duties of PR officers during the various phases of the conference. On the fourth day the simulations of three press conferences took place, where the participants acted out different roles and situations that can come up in these cases. Lecturer was Tomas Miglierina, editor-in-chief at RTSI, who has also had an extensive experience as OSCE spokesman in Bosnia, and shared with the participants specific cases he had to deal with in the course of his work, along with the respective solutions.
The fifth day was devoted to the Albanian experience of PR practices, with Dasara Dizdari, UNDP chief of press office in Tirana. She focused on the Albanian practice in this field, paying special attention to the specifics of working conditions in Albania, the difficulties that come across and the solution of delicate cases. This course is part of the third module of the PR training course, part of the extensive project “Open Media, Open Government,” supported by SDC.

HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING COURSE

A course on human rights reporting took place at the Albanian Media Institute on May 20-22, with the participation of 13 reporters from the Balkan region. The main aim of this training was to raise awareness of the human rights issues and discuss better solutions to report in a complete, but correct way. The lecturer combined the theoretical background and history of human rights, and the specific existing international laws with the practical experience of the journalists in covering the issues concerned with the human rights. The participants also interacted in discussions, role plays and in a visit to an NGO dealing with human rights in Albania. Trainer was Peter McIntyre, a UK freelance journalist, with an extensive experience in the field of human rights and media. The course was organized in the framework of SEENPM, with the cooperation of IFJ.

PR TRAINING FOR MEDICAL ORDER

AMI organized a PR training workshop for members of the Albanian Medical Order on May 15-16. The main aim of the workshop was for the participants to become familiar with the basic PR elements, since the participants were doctors and almost unfamiliar with public relations. The main lecturer was Tomas Miglierina, editor-in-chief of RTSI. He addressed the drafting of a press release, the importance of the language used and the target public. Another important element was the organization of a press conference. Dasara Dizdari, of the UNDP press office in Tirana, and Doreada Mio, spokeswoman at the Ministry of Health, were the other two lecturers, who added the Albanian experience in the PR field to that of the foreign lecturer. The workshop took place as a debate and exchange of experience among the participants and lecturers.

PRESENTATION OF MAGAZINE ON BALKANS

Austrian journalist Kristine von Kohl presented the magazine “Balkan-Sudeuropaischer Dialog” on May 6 at the Books and Communication House. This magazine, published since 1999 in Austria, focuses on the Balkans, in their regional framework and developments, as well as in the specific countries and their history. An aim of the magazine is for the West Europeans to become familiar with the Balkan countries, their people, problems, and history, especially in the recent period, when the attention of international organizations has shifted towards other regions. This magazine is published in several languages, so that the range of people that can read it is wider. Many writers, analysts, and personalities participated in this event.

PRESENTATION ON REGIONAL FUTURE

A presentation on the situation in Serbia and its near future after Djindjic’s death took place in the Books and Communication House on May 12. Dr. Dusan Janic, coordinator of the Forum for Ethnic Relations in Belgrade, addressed the presentation with the topic “Serbia after Djindjic: Regional impact of fighting organized crime.” Afterwards the distinguished lecturer presented the Forum for Ethnic Relations’ reports on the organized crime and transition in Western Balkans, as well as on terrorism and ethnic conflicts according to the experience of the Western Balkans. Well-known analysts, researchers, and other personalities attended the event. The presentation was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and the Institute for Democracy and Mediation.


AMI NEWSLETTER - June 2003


PARLIAMENT DEBATES MEDIA FREEDOM

A debate on media freedom took place on June 23 in the parliament. The opposition MPs demanded this session, claiming that the government is exercising continuous pressure over opposition and other media outlets, in the form of allocation of government ads and trials versus journalists or media outlets critical of the government. The Prime Minister Fatos Nano reacted towards these claims, stating that none of the media that was used to “fine” the government and take advantage of the weaknesses of the system for its own profit would be tolerated. Accusing the media owners or some analysts for using the media in order to protect and further their interests, and those of people close to them, Nano said that war against informality would be one of the main priorities. He also said that the journalists themselves work without contracts, while it is part of the media’s duties to denounce corruption and unlawful behavior.
Members of the opposition insisted with their claims of government pressure on the media, demanding that it stops immediately. However, the parliament did not pass the opposition’s draft resolution on government pressure on media, as the socialist majority was against it. Nikolle Lesi, publisher of daily “Koha Jone,” MP, and member of the parliamentary commission on media, proposed that the Parliament starts an investigation on the financing of the media outlets. Other issues discussed were the history of pressure on media in the last decade and the implementation of the law on fair competition, as well as state’s potential contribution to the improvement of distribution of press in the whole country.

PETITION FOR THE TRIALS AGAINST JOURNALISTS

A group of journalists and editors signed a petition on June 29 to protest against the ongoing trials of their colleagues, Lubonja and Baze. Lubonja, a well-known analyst, has been sued as he alleged relations between some media outlets, businesses, and government representatives. On the other hand, Baze, publisher and editor-in-chief of daily “Tema,” has several ongoing trials with some representatives of the government and parliament. This petition was a demonstration of solidarity vis-à-vis the two journalists, in the light of the increasing pressure these journalists and editors claim the media is facing at the moment. The petition also calls for the whole community of journalists, civil society, and parliament to join in this call for the stop of these trials.

OSCE CONCERNED ABOUT MEDIA SITUATION

In one of its latest reports OSCE, among other things, expressed its concern over the current media situation. Of particular concern were the manner the interests of media, business, and politics combined with each other, the distribution of government ads, and the ongoing trials against media representatives. According to this report the pressure on media seems to be increasing in the wake of the coming local elections. The OSCE Presence in Albania stated it would follow this issue closely.

PROJECT ON ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING

A project on environmental reporting took place in Tirana on mid June. This project, a cooperation of Albanian Media Institute with the Guardian Foundation, and the United Nations Environment Program, consisted of three phases: a monitoring phase, a round table with editors, and reporters’ training. The Regional Environmental Center carried out a monitoring of the daily press in May regarding the environmental issues’ coverage. The findings of this monitoring were presented to the round table organized with editors-in-chief of the Albanian media, in an effort to raise awareness on environmental reporting.
This project took on a more practical aspect in a three-days training of 12 journalists from print and electronic media, aiming at a better reporting on environmental issues. Trainers were Peter Preston and Paul Brown from the Guardian Foundation and John Bennett from UNEP/GRID. The training was a constant combination of lectures from the trainers with interviews with representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and that of Environment, of environmental associations, lawyers, construction firms’ representatives, and environmental journalists. Based on these interviews and knowledge, the participants built their stories, which were later edited and discussed as a team.

MODULE OF PR TRAINING CONCLUDED

The fourth and last week of the third module of PR training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 9-13, with the participation of spokespersons from the Albanian political parties. The topics addressed in the first three days were: preparing a media kit, writing a press release, organizing a press conference, and administering a press briefing. Sergio Gessi, the lecturer, and head of the press office in the Ferrara municipality, based on his experience, focused more on the technical and linguistic elements of writing a press release and managing debate during a press conference.
Roberto Borioli, who lectured the last two days, focused on the basic elements of PR planning. This was a theoretical summary of the job of a PR, offering a review of the knowledge gained in the course of the module. The next module will start in October. This training is part of an extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media,” supported by SDC.

VISIT OF BULGARIAN EDITORS

A team of Bulgarian editors-in-chief of the main print media outlets in the country visited Albania in early July. The main aim of the visit was to gain knowledge of the treatment of Bulgaria and everything relevant to it in Albanian press coverage. During their visit the editors held meetings with the Albanian President, Alfred Moisiu, with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luan Hajdaraga, with the Minister for Integration, Sokol Nako, former President and present leader of opposition, Sali Berisha, and the Mayor of Tirana, Edi Rama. They also visited “Korrieri,” one of the biggest dailies, and TV Klan, a private national TV station. They exchanged experience and established contacts with their Albanian colleagues during their stay.

LAYOUT AND DESIGN TRAINING

A training course on layout training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 25-27, with the participation of 16 print journalists and designers. The main issues addressed in this training were the basic elements of designing a paper, such as the guiding principles of layout, different text formats, good and bad pictures, dominant pictures, graphic harmony of the pages, front page layout. The training was of a practical nature, devoting little space to theory. The participants also received knowledge of the basic principles of using Pagemaker and Corel, as well as on the use of colors in a paper. The training was organized and supported by the Albanian Media Institute.

IN-HOUSE TRAINING FOR LOCAL REPORTERS

An in-house training took place at “Nositi,” a regional weekly published in Pogradec and distributed in the region, on June 18-20, with the participation of nine reporters. 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 reporters, but also the more experienced trainers. This training was supported by the Albanian Media Institute.

NEW AUDIENCE RESEARCH REPORT

The Institute of Surveys and Opinions presented its third report of audience research. This report, unlike the other two, focused only on TV, and not on print media. The survey was conducted during April 2003, in 14 different districts of the country. The persons included on the sample recorded their TV preferences on a diary for the whole month, every time they were watching TV. The audience research included both the national televisions and the local ones, in accordance with the coverage in the districts of the sample. This survey was supported by IREX.

REPORTING ON EDUCATION TRAINING

A training on reporting on education took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 23-27, with the participation of 12 journalists from both print and electronic media. The training focused on the importance of a correct and responsible reporting on education and the ongoing reform on this field. The main lecturers came from the Ministry of Education and centers concerned with the quality of education and specific projects and reforms that are happening in this field. The last part of the course was devoted to the practical aspect of reporting on education, more specifically on the ethical reporting and building a paper supplement focused on education. This training was organized and supported by the Soros Foundation.

IN-HOUSE TRAINING AT LOCAL PAPER

Press Now undertook an in-house training at local paper “Vizioni Rinor” in Berat, targeted at and made primarily by young people. Robert Slagt, the Dutch trainer, focused his work on building a more coherent and professional newspaper, which would increase the local youth’s interest on this publication. The training was of a hands-on experience nature, training the young reporters as they worked. Given the lack of experience of these reporters, the trainer focused on basic issues, such as basic reporting and news writing, writing good headlines and leads, shaping the stories with a local angle, increasing the quantity and quality of news stories. A sizable part of the training also dealt with the appearance of the paper, i.e. good pictures, a more appropriate layout, and a simpler looking paper.

NEW BOOK: “UNIVERSAL JOURNALIST”

“Universal Journalist,” by David Randall, is the title of the latest publication on journalism by the Albanian Media Institute. This book focuses on the duty and responsibilities of the journalist in an ever-changing world, where the media business is taking over and redefining the reporter’s role, thus lowering the credibility in this field. This book is intended as a manual for reporters who would like to preserve their role, ethics, and attitude in spite of the demands of the media industry. The author focuses on a range of issues, such as the core of skills a reporter needs, i.e. developing sources, interviewing techniques, leads. He also addresses more general topics, like the new ethics and its adoption to the general situation, staff managing, journalism against the background of new technology, etc.


AMI NEWSLETTER - July 2003


THE PRESIDENT DISCUSSES MEDIA SITUATION

The President of Albania, Alfred Moisiu, held a meeting with the heads of journalists’ associations and media experts on July 10. The aim of this meeting was Moisiu’s concerns on media situation in the country and its future, especially regarding the media legislation and the possibilities of keeping potential government pressure off the journalist community. The main topics addressed in the course of the meeting were the necessity of a press law, responsible journalism, the need to respect the code of ethics, and the possibility of the creation of an Order of Journalists. Other aspects of concern to the participants were allocation of advertisements, journalists’ work contracts, media organization and management, and press distribution. This meeting stemmed from a recently growing concern over media pressure and media situation in general.

TEAM REPORTING TRAINING

A team reporting training course took place at the Albanian Media Institute in July 7-18, with the participation of eight reporters from daily newspapers and a photographer. The reporters worked on the common topic of “Is it worthy living here?” as a team, bringing along their own perspective and examples on the issue. Each of the participants wrote an article on a specific issue or character, which they discussed with the group, the editors, and the trainer. Trainer was William Dowell, experienced journalist and professor at New York University.

In the course of the project the reporters traveled to different areas of Albania, bringing a diverse picture of Albania and its future as they saw it, and not one focused in the capital only. Team reporting is not a common practice in Albanian journalism, for different reasons. This is the second team training project supported by the Center for War, Peace, and News Media, New York, and organized by the Albanian Media Institute. The first project took place in January 2002 and focused on the issue of human trafficking.

SEMINAR ON ALBANIA'S INTEGRATION TO EUROPE

The first seminar of the series on “Albania and its European Integration,” organized by the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) and Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FEF) took place on 7-8 July 2003, with the participation of 12 journalists from both print and electronic media. The participants heard the lectures on “Albania and the Stabilization and Association Process” and later debated on them. The distinguished lecturers included Sokol Nako, State Minister on European Integration, Selami Xhepa, coordinator at the Albanian Center for International Trade, Ismail Beka, project manager at GTZ, and Besnik Baraj, Deputy Minister of Environment. The topics discussed in the course of the seminar included the role of the media in Albania’s integration, Albania’s obligations vis-à-vis WTO requirements, the obstacles and future of Albanian agriculture in light of the integration, and the environmental problems and standards necessary to facilitate Albanian integration. This seminar was supported and organized by AMI and FEF.

NEW STEERING COMMITTEE APPROVED

The Parliament passed the new Steering Committee for the Albanian Radio Television (ART,) the public broadcasting company, on July 29. This committee is comprised of 15 members, out of whom five come from the majority, five from the opposition, and five from civil society. Only half of the proposed candidates for this committee were approved, thus ending a long process of proposing and selecting the members at the Parliamentary Commission on Media. The establishment of this new committee is expected to lead to the appointment of a new director for ART.

TV LIGHTING COURSE

A training course on TV lighting took place at the Albanian Media Institute on July 21-25, with the participation of 12 cameramen and lighting technicians from the main TV stations in the capital. The main aim of the course was to introduce the participants to the basic principles and usage of light and how it should be adjusted in TV. The topics addressed ranged from light as an optical phenomenon to the lenses and mirrors, light temperature, the different kinds of light and how they should be used in different cases, studio lighting appliances, lighting of portraits in several circumstances, etc. The course was more of a hands-on nature, since the participants tested the theoretical knowledge gained at the studios of the public television for the last three days. Trainer was Stefan Gajo, Artist of Merit. The course was organized and supported by the Albanian Media Institute.

SEMINAR ON SPORTS REPORTING

A seminar on the topic “Ethics in Sports Reporting, the Olympic Movement, and Sports Reporting” took place on July 1-2, with the participation of 25 sport reporters from both print and electronic media. The lecturers were representatives from the National Olympic Committee of Albania (NOCA) and senior journalists. The topics tended to give an overview of the organizational structure of a sports organization and on the manner of reporting on sport events. Some of the issues addressed in the course of the seminar were the mission and functioning of a sports organization, Olympic movement and mass media, media partnership, the essence of a sports reporter, news reporting and writing, code of ethics in journalism, etc. The seminar was supported and organized by the Albanian Media Institute and NOCA.

IN-HOUSE RADIO TRAINING

Another in-house radio training took place on July 26-28, at “Radio Saranda” in Saranda, with the participation of eight journalists from the local radios and news contributors. The main topics addressed in this course were the specifics of a local radio, producing a radio magazine, interviewing techniques, news editing, etc. 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. The training was organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

REPORT ON 2002 MEDIA LANDSCAPE

The Albanian Media Institute published the annual report “Monitoring Albanian Media Landscape 2002.” This is the fourth report in the framework of this media monitoring project. The report aims at building a database of the existing media in the country in the last year, and comparing the data with the previous years, in order to document the changing trends of the media landscape along the years. This report was similar to the last year in structure, and it aimed at increasing the number of monitored media outlets, attempting to achieve as complete a picture of the changing landscape as possible. Special attention was devoted to the monitoring of the local media, which is relatively unexplored and unknown compared to the media outlets operating in the capital. The research project was carried out by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by DANIDA.

MEDIA MONITORING OF IRAQ COVERAGE

Albanian Media Institute carried out a media monitoring of print media coverage on Iraq, in the course of the war and its aftermath. This monitoring project tended to find the main tracks of thought and the stances voiced in the main daily newspapers and main magazines. To this purpose, the basic items monitored were the editorials, especially the ones written by columnists and well-known personalities. The crucial factors used for analysis evolved around the stances for and against war, the kind of arguments used, the depiction of US and Western Europe, and the language used in the articles. The monitoring was carried out by Artan Fuga, philosopher and social scientist.

LOCAL TV CELEBRATES 5th ANNIVERSARY

ARV TV, a television station in Pogradec, a town in Southeastern Albania, celebrated its 5th anniversary in July 20. A range of activities, such as a concert, a visit in the station’s studios, and a cocktail, were organized for the occasion, with the participation of many personalities from the town and the surrounding region.


AMI NEWSLETTER - August - September 2003


This newsletter is a selection of media news and activities from both August and September, as the Albanian Media Institute was closed for vacation during August

MEDIA MEETINGS ON ELECTIONS' COVERAGE

Three round tables took place in the first half of September on the topic of “Media role during the elections’ process.” The media owners, the editors-in-chief and capital and local journalists participated in these round tables. The main focus of discussion was the new dispositions of the Code of Elections and the role of the media outlet in the elections process. The main aim of the talks was the improvement of the media coverage of the elections in an informative and balanced manner, in accordance with the new law on campaign coverage. Representatives of the Central Elections Committee, National Council of Radios and Televisions, and OSCE experts participated in these discussions as well. These meetings took place in view of the new law on campaign coverage, which stipulates strict measures against media outlets in case of violations. The discussions were organized by OSCE and the Albanian Media Institute.

NCRT ELECTIONS' MONITORING

National Council of Radios and Televisions has set up a monitoring body of seven journalists who will monitor the coverage of the elections’ campaign made by the television stations. This body started working on September 15 and it will do so until October 12, elections’ day. According to the first results of the monitoring most of the TV stations had covered the campaign in accordance with the law, except for three of them who had favored one side more, the public television included. This monitoring body makes weekly reports to the Central Elections Commission and it was established after the amendments made to the Code of Elections. According to these amendments the TV stations have to cover the elections campaign in a very strictly balanced manner, in terms of coverage time, manner, and language. Otherwise warnings will be issued, followed by interruption of signal, and finally fees.

IREX MEETINGS FOR ELECTIONS

IREX has undertaken a series of public debates on most of the cities in the country. The debates involve the candidates for local elections in each town and city, and they are broadcast via the local TV stations. In the course of the debate the candidates present their alternatives for the improvement of life in the community, dealing with specific problems of relevance to the local population. IREX has organized such a series of debates also for the previous local and parliamentary elections, aiming at a more transparent view of the elections’ campaign by the local TV stations for the community.

RADIO TEAM REPORTING TRAINING

A radio team reporting training course took place at the Albanian Media Institute in September 15-26, with the participation of seven reporters from national and Tirana-based radio stations. The reporters worked on common social topics related to the capital and the changes it is undergoing. The final product were two radio magazines of 30 minutes each, which will be broadcasted by the national public radio and another Tirana-based radio station. Each of the reporters worked on field and later discussed their material with the whole group, the Albanian editor, and the trainer. Trainer was William Dowell, experienced journalist and professor at New York University.

In the course of the project the reporters tackled different topics of a social nature of interest to Tirana citizens. Team reporting is not a common practice in Albanian journalism, for different reasons. This is the third team training project supported by the Center for War, Peace, and News Media, New York, and organized by the Albanian Media Institute. The first project took place in January 2002 and focused on the issue of human trafficking while the second took place in July 2002 and focused on the future of the country as viewed from different perspectives.

BEGINNERS COURSE FOR CAMERAMEN

A five-days beginners course for cameramen started at the Albanian Media Institute on September 22, with the participation of 12 cameramen from local TV stations operating outside in the capital. This course addressed some 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.

TRAINING FOR MINORITY MAGAZINE

A two-days training course took place for the staff of magazine “Te barabarte,” a Roma publication. The main focus of the training was to improve this magazine, and the basic issues addressed were the target of the magazine and its improvement, as well as the crafting of a better distribution system, including NGOs and diplomatic corpus. Other points of a more technical nature were ideas on how to write better articles and the division of articles in genres and their specific features. Practice was also part of this training. Trainer was Robert Slagt, freelancer in Holland. The course was organized by Press Now.

BRITISH MINISTER MEETS ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell MP met a group of Albanian journalists from print and broadcast media on September 24 during her visit in Albania. She held a speech focused on the relations of government and media, based on her own experience. The topic was the relation and the balance between media freedom and journalistic responsibility in a fair, balanced and professional reporting. Another topic was a comparative analysis of the media in Britain and in Albania, bringing out the common and different sides of each, as well as the prospect for its future. During this meeting the British Embassy launched its website. This activity was organized by the British Embassy and the Albanian Media Institute.

PRESENTATION OF THE ANNUAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE REPORT

The “Monitoring Albanian media landscape 2002” annual report was introduced to editors and journalists on September 19. This is the fourth report in the framework of this media monitoring project. This report was similar to the last year in structure, and it aimed at increasing the number of monitored media outlets, attempting to achieve as complete a picture of the changing landscape as possible. Special attention was devoted to the monitoring of the local media, which is relatively unexplored and unknown compared to the media outlets operating in the capital. Present was also Poul Erik Nielsen, media researcher and supervisor of the project since its beginning. The research project was carried out by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by DANIDA.

NCRT SEMINAR WITH BROADCASTERS

The National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) held a seminar with the licensed broadcasting operators on September 25. The main purpose of this seminar was to introduce the participants with the regulation of the spectrum of frequencies as an immediate goal for the development of broadcasting. The lecturers introduced the participants with the legal basis, mission, structure and competencies of NCRT, the map of frequencies of the operators, and the general characteristics of this map. Another topic was the procedure of licensing of these operators, the criteria and the organization of the licensing process. The lecturers also touched the topic of the monitoring of the frequencies, as well as the law enforcement in the activity of broadcasters.

DECREE ON COPYRIGHT LAW

Albanian President Alfred Moisiu decreed the amendment for the law on radios and televisions, which the Parliament passed in July. This amendment stipulates that the broadcasting operators respect the copyright law during their broadcasting time. They are required to buy all their programs or produce them, in the context of the enforcement of the law on copyrights and in the struggle against piracy. The deadline for the enforcement of this law by the National Council of Radios and Televisions is October 15. Until now very few broadcasters have respected this law, and no fines or other sanctions have been imposed, while piracy has thrived in the overwhelming part of the stations.

ROUNDTABLES " MEDIA IN BALKAN SOCIETIES IN THE TRANSITION PERIOD"

Munk Centre of University of Toronto and Carleton University in Ottawa organized round tables on the media development in Balkan countries during the post-communist transition period. Mr. Remzi Lani, director of the Albanian Media Institute, talked about the main trends, problems, and challenges that media face in the Balkan countries. During his stay in Canada Mr. Lani held meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Canadian Agency for International cooperation CIDA, etc.

PUBLICATION ON ALBANIAN PRESS

The bibliography of the history of Albanian press was published in late September, titled “From ‘L’Albanese d’Italia’ to ‘Jehona e Tiranes’.” This book was introduced in the framework of the National Day of Cultural Heritage on the topic “155 years of Albanian press,” in an event organized by the National Library and the Albanian Media Institute. The publication is a bibliography of all relevant publication to Albanian press as well as of its main authors and protagonists, and results from the scientific work of a researcher of the National Library. The first approach of this kind to press history, this book can serve as a guide to persons interested in the history of Albanian press in the 1848-1944 period, a relatively unexplored one. The book was published by the National Library and the Albanian Media Institute.

NEW ISSUE OF “KARVANI” MAGAZINE

The ninth issue of the “Karvani” magazine was published in august 4 and distributed with “Shekulli,” the daily with the largest circulation in Albania. This issue focused on the topic of Balkan countries’ way to Europe, more specifically the pros and cons of European integration for the states in the peninsula. The articles in this magazine dealt with the long and much-craved for way of these countries to achieving European integration, viewing the issue through economic, social, political, and feasibility viewpoints. 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.

NEW SPECIALIZED DAILY NEWSPAPER

“Biznes” is the latest arrival in the Albanian newspaper market, with the first issue marketed on September 1. This daily publication is a specialized one, focused on economic, financial, and political issues. This paper is a color 16-pages A3 publication, on the ownership of “Spekter” company, which already owns two other dailies and one weekly magazine. With the advent of “Biznes” the number of daily papers published in Albania reaches 19, with four of these being specialized newspapers.

TV ANTENNAS REMOVED BY NCRT

The antennas of Alba TV were removed from the National Council of Radio and Televisions on August 7, since NCRT claims this TV station had violated the law on radios and television. The violation is related to the non-payment of annual license taxes to NCRT and to the station’s interruption of broadcasting without any notification to NCRT. Furthermore in June Alba TV had signed an agreement with ALSAT, which only has a satellite broadcasting license, so that the latter could broadcast via Alba TV in terrestrial. According to NCRT this agreement is not valid.
On the other hand, ALSAT and Alba TV claim that this decision is purely political, since the non-payment of taxes does not pertain to the case of Alba TV only, and the government is applying double standards in its decision-making. Furthermore, they claim that NCRT had no right to remove the antenna without previous warning, and the decision should also be published in the official gazette. At the moment the case is at court and ALSAT is broadcasting only via satellite, while Alba TV is not broadcasting at all.

DAILY NEWSPAPER CLAIMS GOVERNMENT PRESSURE

Publishers of daily newspaper “Sot” claim they have been put under economic pressure and have experienced hindrance from the government. According to the newspaper staff their phone line was cut off on August 12, without any explanation or warning. Also, a few days later an employee from the Directory of Taxes presented the newspaper with a blocking order, claiming that the newspaper had not paid the VAT and its price was also under cost, thus exercising unfair competition. The publishers’ argument was that the paper was not being sold under cost, and it has had no profit so far, so they are exempted from VAT payment. Instead the paper claims that they are under pressure only because of their critical writing the government.

TV KLAN BROADCASTS VIA SATELLITE

TV Klan, one of the two national private stations operating in the country started broadcasting via satellite on September 30. After signing a contract with European company Eutelsat, this television will also be present among satellite broadcasters. TV Klan is the second Albanian television to broadcast via satellite, after ALSAT.

NEW NCRT BULLETIN

“Antena” is the new bulletin published by the National Council of Radios and Televisions. This is a publication of the Complaints Council at NCRT, and will be published twice a year. The first issue focused on the ethical code of radios and televisions, their importance, main features, and necessity of implementation in nowadays media in the country. Apart from the guidance NCRT has from its own experience, this bulletin also brought along excerpts from foreign broadcasters’ ethical codes, as well as from some in the country who have adopted such a practice. NCRT is the regulatory body of broadcasting operators and depends on and is accountable to the Parliament.


AMI NEWSLETTER - October 2003


"REPORTERS SANS FRONTIERES" PUBLISHES WORLD PRESS FREEDOM RANKING

Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF) published this month the Second World Press Freedom Ranking. RSF’s ranking for the period September 2002-September 2003 included 166 countries in the world.
In RSF’s ranking Albania is 34th with a coefficient of 6.5, along with Bulgaria and Nicaragua. Finland, Iceland, Holland, and Norway are the countries with the most positive record of freedom of expression, on top of the list with a coefficient of 0.5, whereas North Korea has the worst record of freedom of expression, with a coefficient of 99.5.
It is interesting to note that USA ranks a little bit ahead of Albania, 32nd (coefficient 6), whereas Italy ranks 53rd (coefficient 9.75). Freedom of expression organizations have been critical towards the coverage of the Iraq war by a part of American media. Also, RSF has criticized severely the Berlusconi phenomenon in Italy. Among the countries of our region, Slovenia has the highest record of freedom of expression (coefficient 3).
RSF is alarmed on the catastrophic situation of freedom of expression in Asia, where 8 of the 10 countries with the worst record are located.

ALBANIAN MINISTER DISMISSED AFTER CONFLICT WITH JOURNALIST

The Minister of Public Order, Luan Rama, confronted the editor-in-chief of the TV station “Vizion Plus”, Ilir Babaramo on 14 October, during a celebration activity organised by the Socialist Party. During the party, Rama confronted the journalist Babaramo and requested information from him regarding an editorial broadcast by “Vizion Plus” in August, which criticized the activity of the Ministry of Public Order in fighting crime in Albania. After Babaramo admitted he was the author of the editorial, Rama and thereafter his bodyguards reacted by beating the journalist.

Rama first denied the occurrence of this incident through a letter to the Office of the Prosecutor, demanding from this the investigation of the occurrence. In the mean time Babaramo has undertaken legal action against Rama. Rama was discharged by Prime Minister Nano on October 18. This incident was strongly condemned by Albanian associations of journalists, human rights groups, some political parties, and international organizations concerned with freedom of expression and human rights.

MEDIA COVERAGE OF ELECTIONS IMPROVES

According to the ODIHR report on the local elections of October 12, the media coverage of elections has improved as compared to previous elections. Almost all the media outlets strived to respect the legal norms and provide a balanced and correct coverage of elections campaign. The tone used has been neither aggressive, nor emotional. According to the report, although print media was more aggressive in its coverage, it certainly was more moderate compared to the record of previous elections coverage. This time a Monitoring Board was established in order to monitor the broadcasting activity in accordance with the new Electoral Code.

PRIME MINISTER SUED OVER SECRET ORDER

Five organizations have filed suit against Prime Minister Nano for issuing an order that prohibited the civil employees to make any statements for the press. The authors of the constitutional challenge include the Center for Development and Democratization of Institutions (CDDI), the Albanian Human Rights Group, the Association of Independent Professional Journalists, the Albanian Journalists’ Association, and the Union of Albanian Journalists. Allegedly, this order was issued in August, and the organizations claim this is unconstitutional and it is also a violation of the Access to Information Law as well as of the European Convention of Human Rights. This order hinders the freedom of expression by preventing high officials from communicating with media representatives regarding the duty they carry out. Moreover, the plaintiffs claimed that this order could set a favorable ground for corruption, in exchange of release of information.

LAW AGAINST PIRACY IMPLEMENTED

October 15 was the final deadline for the electronic media outlets in the country to start respecting the copyright of the programs they broadcast. Starting from this date the National Council of Radios and Televisions has started to fine the media outlets, which did not comply with the law. Although in general the law was observed, six TV stations were fined with the minimal fee, mainly Tirana-based ones. This law is being implemented after a long period of unregulated activity of broadcasting, which based most of its programming in piracy.

LOCAL MULTIMEDIA TRAINING

The Albanian Media Institute (AMI) has organized a three-day local training course on multimedia training at AMI’s premises, on October 15-17. The main goal of the course was to introduce to journalists the main necessary tools and skills for web writing and editing, in the context of a swiftly developing on-line journalism. The course introduced the participants to the main necessary tools and skills for web writing and editing. The training aimed at ten participants, mainly print journalists from several media outlets in the country. The local trainers were Eno Milkani and Mitrulla Thodhori. Thodhori is IT coordinator at AMI, whereas Milkani works as editing director with IREX Promedia Albania, and he has been editor and director of several documentaries broadcast on local TV stations.
The main topics addressed consisted of the introduction of the basic elements of a successful media Web page, the general status and distribution of Internet in the country, the steps to building and maintaining an interesting and useful media Web page, and the future of on-line journalism in general and particularly in Albania and the media outlets where the course participants work. More specific topics the trainers and the participants tackled in a combination of theory and exercise were writing, photos, audio, and video for the web, search engines, HTML basics, how to build a website as a concept and the practical ways to do it, the relevant programs, usage of photo, text, tables, etc. The course was carried out within the South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media (SEENPM) as a result of a three-step Training of Trainers scheme conducted by the SEENPM 2002-2003.

DIGITAL EDITING TRAINING

A three-days advanced course for TV editors took place at the Albanian Media Institute (AMI) on October8-10, with the participation of six editors from local 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 course was organized and supported by AMI.

FOURTH MODULE OF PR TRAINING STARTS

After the completion of training for spokespersons for local and central government and those of political parties the fourth module of the PR Training project started on September 20-October 3 at the Albanian Media Institute. The nine participants are spokespersons or employees at the press offices of the main Albanian NGOs. The topics addressed during the lectures were the basics of marketing, the target public, PR deontology, and communication. Lecturer was Daniel Burkhardt, SSAT director in Lugano, Switzerland. Considering the specific nature of the participants, the lecturer also paid attention to the specifics of PR tasks for an NGO. The lectures constantly combined with practical aspects of PR jobs in the context of NGOs. The course was supported by the Swiss Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”

IN-HOUSET TRAINING IN LOCAL PAPER

An in-house training took place at “Tomorri,” a regional weekly published in Berat and distributed in the region, on October 22-24, with the participation of five reporters. An experienced journalist and a designer worked with the 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 reporters, but also the more experienced trainers. Trainer was Armand Mero, experienced journalist, currently VOA correspondent in Albania. This training was supported by the Albanian Media Institute in the framework of the project of consolidation of local media in partnership with the EC.

FORUM ON SOCIAL ISSUES

A forum on media and social issues took place in Tirana on October 22, with the participation of about 20 journalists from both print and electronic media. The main topic of the debate was UNDP’s introduction of its “Millennium Development Goals,” the current situation in Albania in this regard and the predictions for the future. The participants, who cover the social issues at their media outlets, heard presentations by UNDP’s Resident Representative Anna Stjarnerklint, and Ylli Cabiri and Lindita Xhillari from the Center of Promotion of Human Development. Moderator was Blendi Fevziu, analyst and director of daily Korrieri. The debate evolved mainly around such topics as poverty, education, gender equality, etc. The forum was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and UNDP, with UNDP’s support.

SECOND SEMINAR ON EU INTEGRATION REPORTING

The second seminar on “Albania and its European Integration” took place on October 2-3 at the premises of the Albanian Media Institute (AMI). The subject of this seminar, which was part of a three-seminars series was “EU Institutions and EU Law.” Participants were journalists from both print and electronic media. The lecturers were Ms Una Kelly, advisor at EC in Albania, SAP Advisor, Political and Economic Section and Mr. Joaquín Tasso Vilallonga, Head of Sector, Justice and Home Affairs, representatives of Delegation of EC in Albania. The third speaker was Mr. Ilir Shqina, Expert on European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania.
The main topics addressed in the course of the seminar were EU history, its integration as an open-ended process, the mechanisms, tools and institutions involved in the integration process and the last wave of EU accession. Other topics of interest were EU complex legislation and the role of the European Court of Justice in guarding the implementation of the EU Law. Special attention was paid to the EU institutions by focusing on the institutions directly involved in the negotiations with Albania and the existing agreements, especially the Stabilization- Association Agreement, which Albania is currently negotiating. This series of seminars was organized by AMI and the Friedrich- Ebert Stiftung.

TRAINING ON PHOTOJOURNALISM

A training course on photojournalism took place at the Albanian Media Institute on October 29-31, with the participation of 14 photographers and reporters from the main dailies and news agencies, as well as from some local weeklies. The main goal of the course was to introduce the participants to the main elements of good photojournalism. During the training the main topics addressed were the current situation of photography in Albanian press, the importance of visual illustration in news writing and presenting, portraits, photo stories and its basic elements, ethics in photojournalism, etc. The course was built mainly on discussions and practice, using the participants; portfolios and the on-field work they did in the context of the training. Trainer was Albes Fusha, well-known photojournalist. The course was carried out within the South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media (SEENPM) as a result of a three-step Training of Trainers scheme conducted by the SEENPM 2002-2003

NEW ISSUE OF CULTURAL MAGAZINE

The seventeenth issue of quarterly “Perpjekja” came out, with globalization being the main issue addressed in the articles. This debate is recently being explored in the country and this magazine contributes to its development with essays and articles by world-known authors, such as Gidens, Stiglitz, Said, etc. Other topics include the problem of language as used nowadays, the impact of globalization in the country, literature of local authors, and articles that shed light on the history of the country. This magazine was published with the support of the Albanian Media Institute.

NEW BOOKS ON MEDIA LEGISLATION

The Institute of Public and Legal Studies has launched two books on media legislation: “Freedom of Expression: Law and Judicial Practice” and “Analysis to the Law on Access to Information.” The first one is an analysis of the legislation regarding media and freedom of expression, including the legal framework on this regard, the history of the cases and the court cases. The second one is a comment on the main and most relevant articles of the law on access to information. This manner of analysis and presentation of media legislation and practice are aimed at a better understanding and knowledge of these issues by the media community and beyond. These publications were supported by the Open Society Institute and Press Now.

CONFERENCE ON EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATION

A conference on the topic of “Euro-Atlantic Integration and the Western Balkans: Harmonizing speed of action and the respective agendas” took place in Tirana on October 17-18. The participants were high-ranked officials of Albanian government and Parliament, political experts at the NATO and EU headquarters, Balkan scholars concerned with these issues, and well-known analysts in the region. The main topics addressed in the course of the conference were post nationalism and the dream of Euro-Atlantic integration in the context of regional stabilization, economic and cohesion policies in the national and regional level through the reform processes and governance capacities, harmonization of European and Atlantic integration, and organized crime and regional cooperation. The conference was organized by the Books and Communication House and the Albanian Media Institute, and it was supported by NATO Press Office and Dutch Embassy in Tirana.


AMI NEWSLETTER - November 2003


SECOND WEEK OF PR TRAINING

The second week of the fourth module of PR training took place at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of spokespersons or PR officers from the main NGOs in the country. During the first three days the main topics addressed were related to the organizational aspect of media outlets, such as media, news, PR relations with journalists and work in a newsroom. The lecturer, Massimiliano Panarari, journalist in “Messaggero,” made use of his long experience in journalism in order to explain how to deal with journalists, building relations with them, the functioning of a newsroom, the deadlines and working manner, etc. All these elements are important in PR, so that their work and relations with media be as effective as possible. The theoretical aspect was combined with practical exercises, especially in drafting press releases.
The two last days, lecturer Roberta Pedrinis from SSAT addressed the main theoretical aspects of interpersonal and mediated communication. The practical work was the main focus in this regard, where the participants tested the aspects of non-verbal communication, particularly in appearing in front of cameras. All the participants tested themselves in front of the cameras and afterwards discussed their appearances. The course was supported by the Swiss Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”

DEUTSCHE WELLE ANNUAL RADIO TRAINING

Deutsche Welle held its annual training for radio journalists at the Albanian Media Institute with the participation of eleven radio reporters, both from Tirana-based radios, as well as the ones from outside Tirana. The topic of the training was: “Economic reporting- Foreign direct investment: Beauty or beast?” Trainers were Thomas Kirschning and Adelheide Feilcke-Tiemann. 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.
The participants gathered information on field and by holding meetings with representatives of organizations involved in foreign investment. 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, and it takes place for the ninth year in a row.

SECRET ALBANIAN GAG ORDER REVOKED

On November 17, 2003 the Constitutional Court convened a session to hear the case against a gag order issued by the Albanian Prime Minister. The gag order, issued in August 2002 but never publicly disclosed, banned senior civil servants from providing any official information to the media. Five media and human rights organizations petitioned the Constitutional Court in early October to strike down the ban as a blatant violation of freedom of expression and information.

During the hearings before the Constitutional Court, the representative of the government, informed that the Prime Minister had revoked the gag order before the Constitutional Court was due to consider the challenge to its legality. Faced with such a fact, the Constitutional Court, which has limited judicial review powers (can remedy a constitutional violation only by striking down the government measure at issue), argued that it could not review a decree that is no longer in force. It declared the case moot and declined to discuss it further. This was the first case of access to information brought before the Albanian courts.

SOUND EDITING TRAINING

A training course on sound editing took place at the Albanian Media Institute on November 25-27, with the participation of 13 sound technicians from Tirana-based radio and TV stations. The course focused on the main basic topics of sound in the media and its editing, such as what is a sound system, sound wave and its electric model, human sound signal and that of instruments, sound systems, etc. Special attention was paid to the proper use of sound equipment, such as microphones and amplifiers and the different types and usage. Information on mixers and cables and their appropriate application was another topic addressed during the training. The course was a practical guide for young sound technicians and included many hands-on exercises. The training was organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

VISIT OF ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS TO BULGARIA

A group of Albanian editors and journalists from the main print media outlets and the main radio stations in the country visited Bulgaria on November 19-22. During their visit the journalists held meetings with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Mr. Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, with the Chairman of the Parliamentary Group of the National Movement Simeon the Second, Mr. Stanimir Iltchev, and with Mr. Georgi Lozanov, media expert. The journalists also met with the main editors-in-chief of the main Bulgarian dailies and weeklies, and visited the newsroom of “Sega” newspaper. This visit was the follow-up of the visit of Bulgarian editors-in-chief to Albania in June. These visits were jointly organized by the ACCESS-Sofia Foundation and the Albanian Media Institute, through the financial support of the Council of Europe.

ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS VISIT EU INSTITUTIONS

A group of journalists from the main print and electronic media outlets visited Brussels in late November, in order to become familiar with the main institutions of the European Union, their structure and functioning. The main aim of the visit was to gain a better knowledge of the EU, its institutions, EU integration and thus improve their reporting on EU-related issues. Part of the meetings was also devoted to public relations employees within the EU institutions and with correspondents reporting on EU.
In the course of the visit the journalists held meetings with Mr. José Luis Sanchez, Political Desk, Albania, European Commission, Mr. Roland Bless, Spokesmen of the Stability Pact Office, Ms. Marjory Van den Broeke, EP Press Service, Mr. Jan-Marinus Wiersma MEP (SPE/ Netherlands), expert on Western Balkans, Dr. Nicholas Whyte, Director Europe, International Crisis Group, Mr. Hans-Ulrich Südbeck, expert Western Balkans, Permanent Representation of Germany to the EU, Ms. Noora Häyrinen, Desk for assistance, Albania, DG External Relations, European Commission, Mr. Alexandros Yannis, Directorate ECSFP, Western Balkans, General Secretariat of the Council, with representatives from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, and with Albanian correspondents based in Brussels.
This visit is the follow-up of two other seminars that took place in Tirana on EU integration reporting, organized by the Albanian Media Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

MANUAL FOR REPORTERS' SURVIVAL

“Live News: Manual for reporters’ survival” is one of the latest publications on journalism, written for the International Federation of Journalists by Peter McIntyre. This manual serves as a guide for reporters working in conflict areas and brings experience of journalists already involved in similar situations. The author offers guidelines starting from the very moment of departure, the danger areas, the battling difficulties, and the post-war period. Some of the main topics addressed are the expectations for conflict areas, security measures and necessary equipment, danger area, turmoil, contact with fighters, kidnapping, hostages, first aid, potential on-field dangers, post-stress trauma disorder, necessary treatment, etc. The book brings case studies from recent conflicts, as well as international programs and projects dealing with the protection or training of journalists. It also contains the main contact information, relevant statistics, and IFJ’s Code of Practice for the Safe Conduct of Journalists. The book was published by the Albanian Media Institute.

NEW BOOK ON MEDIA AND NGOs

A new publication came out this month called “Penetrating media,” which deals with the mutual relations and interdependency of media outlets and NGOs. Author is Arben Muka, DW correspondent and experienced journalist. The book emerged from the recognition of numerous NGOs and media outlets, and their interdependence and need in order to grow. This publication, apart from offering a landscape and history of development of both media and NGOs and their crossed paths, serves as a guide for NGOs in building, maintaining, and furthering their partnership with the media. Some of the main practical topics addressed include how to address the newsrooms, newsroom organization, direct communication with journalists, drafting press releases, organizing and handling press conferences.
Special attention was devoted to appearances in electronic media and how to address the public and make use of talk shows and debates, managing “difficult” media coverage and relations, confutations, media critiques, etc. The book also focuses on the NGOs’ publications and paying attention to elements that increase their efficiency and their different formats, such as leaflets, bulletins, newsletters, etc. Finally, the publication contains contact information for some of the main media outlets in the country. The book was published by the ABC Media Center.

CONFERENCE ON RELIGIONS AND CIVILIZATIONS

An international conference on the topic of “Religions and Civilizations in the new millennium: the Albanian case” took place in Tirana on November 14-15. This conference was under the auspices of the President of Republic of Albania Mr. Alfred Moisiu and of the Director General of UNESCO Mr. Koichiro Matsuura. The main goal of this conference was to promote the Albanian case as a rich and complex landscape in terms of religions, but also as one where the religions have learned to learn in harmony. The issues discussed during the panels extended beyond Albania and dealt with the ramifications of religion and civilizations nowadays as seen against the backdrop of globalization and other significant developments.

Some of the topics addressed were dialogue as a replacement of disagreement among civilizations, the relationship of religion with democracy, religion, politics, and nation in societies in transition, etc. The most important representatives of the main religious faiths in the country greeted the conference and its aim. Many important personalities from the country and world participated in the conference. The well-known writer Ismail Kadare was the chairman of the organizing committee. The conference was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania, the Albanian Center for Human Rights, the Books and Communication House, and the Albanian Media Institute.

DAILY NEWSPAPER CELEBRATES FIRST ANNIVERSARY

Daily newspaper “Panorama” celebrated its first anniversary on November 7. Many personalities from the fields of media and business, and other public figures participated in the reception for this event. This newspaper, coming out every day, was the last paper that came out last year, but not the youngest one. In Albania’s swelling market of daily newspapers the number of dailies has reached 19.

LOCAL TV CELEBRATES FIFTH ANNIVERSARY

Mat TV, a local TV station in the Northeastern area of the country, celebrated its fifth anniversary on November 22. Important local persons were present in the cocktail organized for this event. In an increasingly difficult market for the local media outlets, few local media outlets have survived for long periods.

CONFERENCE ON SECURITY CHALLENGES

A conference on the topic “Current Security Challenges” took place in Tirana on November 13. The keynote speaker was Mr. Janusz Bugajski, director of the Eastern Europe Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington D.C. Another speaker was Mr. James Jeffrey, Ambassador of the United States in Albania. Some of the main security issues for the future were discussed, in the context of regional developments as well as against the wider backdrop of war against terrorism. The conference was organized by the Albanian Institute for International Studies and the Albanian Media Institute.

NEW PUBLICATION ON PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT

“Revolt of the Mobs” is the latest publication in the area of philosophical and sociological thought, by Hose Ortega y Gasset. The author is one of the most distinguished Spanish philosophers and an important intellectual personality of the last century. This book, which used to be a bestseller at the time of publication, offers a sociological analysis of an extremely important phenomenon for the 20th century, namely the advent of the mobs. The author carries out a thorough analysis of this phenomenon, by forecasting the causes and effects it brings to moral and political life, which history suffers in the most tragic manner. The author is esteemed as one of the most brilliant essayists of his time. The book was published with the support of the Albanian Media Institute.


AMI NEWSLETTER - December 2003


THIRD WEEK OF PR TRAINING FOR NGO-s

The third week of the fourth module of PR training took place on December 15-19 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of representatives from several NGOs in the country. The main issues addressed this week were the organization of a press office, a database, and their specific administration. Lecturer was Tomas Miglierina, RTSI correspondent in Brussels. The lecturer tackled in detail the elements of a press conference and its organization. In addition such elements as press release, relevance, and distribution were also discussed with the participants. A very interestingn novelty to the participants was the lecture on the electronic database and its manner of updating.
On the last day of the week the Albanian lecturer Agim Neza, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania, talked on the PR experience from the Albanian point of view. He brought specific, real-life examples related to the difficulties of experiencing the mindset of the directors in assigning the PR the role it deserves to have in an institution. Theoretical explanation on the nature of PR were another issue addressed duriong this lecture. The course was supported by the Swiss Development and Cooperation and is part of the extensive project called “Open Government, Open Media.”

CONFERENCE ON MINORITY REPORTING

A two-days conference on the topic of minority reporting took place in Southern city of Gjirokastra on December 16-17. Representatives of main print and electronic media outlets, including minority media, in the Southern region participated. The conference addressed the difficult sustainability of local media, especially minority media, vis-à-vis the competition by national media, and ways of improvement and survival. Some of the presentations covered the problems the Greek language media faces and the lack of interest of national media in minority coverage. Other speakers stressed the need for assistance for local media’s survival, as well as the need for the acquiring of better professional skills of journalists in this field. Professionalism and ethics of Albanian media during minority coverage were also discussed. The conference was part of an extensive project on the consolidation of the local media that the Albanian Media Institute implements with the support of the EU.

KOSOVO JOURNALISTS VISIT ALBANIA

A group of female journalists from different minority groups, working in print and electronic media in Kosovo, participated in a seminar in Albania on December 3-6. The main aim was to get acquainted with the media situation and practice in Albania, especially with regard to such topics as minority media and coverage, legislation, female journalists’ community, coverage of human trafficking, etc. Lecturers were well-known persons of human rights groups, of female journalists associations, legislation experts, and well-known journalists. The main topics discussed during the lectures were the role of women in Albanian media, the human rights practice as covered by journalists, gender issues coverage, cooperation of media with civil society, and sensitive human rights issues in Albania. The participants also visited several media outlets, such as national TV stations TV Klan and TVA, national radio station Topa Albania Radio, the public broadcasting station TVSH, private stations Top Channel and TV Alsat, and weekly female-targeted Paloma.

WORKSHOP ON MEDIA AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

A workshop took place at the Albanian Media Institute on December 9-10, with the participation of journalists from print and electronic media, based in Tirana and outside it. The main topic of the workshop was on coverage of the trafficking issues and stories by the media and ways of improving on them. Briseida Mema, director of “Women in Media” organization, presented a publication on this topic as well as the challenges and future of this issue. Remzi Lani, AMI director, discussed on the professional and ethical journalism standards, the choice of words, stereotypes, etc. Sophia Arie, “The Guardian” correspondent in Rome, focused on responsible journalism, footage methods, interviewing techniques, etc. whereas Silva Mjeda, coordinator at the International Organization of Migration, talked on anti-trafficking procedures and victims’ sensitivity. Peter Bryant, IOM trainer, focused on interviewing techniques with the victims. Ardian Visha from the General Prosecution Office and Spartak Guma, Head of Tirana Anti-Trafficking Police, presented an overview of the anti-trafficking law and the cooperation between their organizations and the media. The participants visited the IOM premises and held a practical demonstration. This workshop was organized by AMI and IOM.

“THE RIGHT TO TELL” PUBLICATION

Recently the Albanian Media Institute translated and published the book “The Right to Tell: The role of mass media in Economic Development.” The book is a publication in the framework of the World Banks studies in economic development and addresses the interdependent relations between media and markets from the economic viewpoint. “The right to tell” was presented to the main editors and economic journalists in Albanian media in December 18, also with the participation of Mr. Eugen Scanteie, Country Manager of the World Bank, Albania. The book comprises three main parts: one on the media role in sustaining markets, one on what segments of the market and phenomena sustain the media, and last, media’s own experience, bringing real-life cases that exemplify the main topic of the book. Its authors include well-known journalists and economists from all over the world, such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joseph Stiglitz, Adam Michnik, etc. The book was translated by Virgjil Muci and published with the support of World Bank.

IN-HOUSE RADIO TRAINING

An in-house radio training course took place on December 10-12, at “Radio ABC” in Korca, with the participation of eight journalists from the local radios and news contributors. The main topics addressed in this course were the specifics of a local radio, producing a radio magazine, interviewing techniques, news editing, etc. Trainers were Aleksander Furrxhi, BBC correspondent, and Arben Muka, DW correspondent, part of the Albanian Media Institute pool of radio trainers. At the end of the training the participants produced a radio magazine, which tested the knowledge and skills gained during the course. The training was part of an extensive project on the consolidation of the local media that AMI implements with the support of the EU.

LATEST ISSUE OF “KARVANI” MAGAZINE

The tenth issue of the “Karvani” magazine was published in December 22 and distributed with “Shekulli,” the daily with the largest circulation in Albania. This issue focused on the topic of privatization in the Balkan countries, the peculiarities in each country of this process, and the consequences each country bears. This very important and disputed economic process has long been a controversial topic, and this issue tried to address some of the main issues in this field, such as privatization of formerly state-owned big companies, privatization of land, expropriation, 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 8TH ANNIVERSARY

Shijak TV, a Tirana-based local TV, celebrated its 8th anniversary on December 20. In the reception organized for this event many important persons from the areas of media, politics, civil society, economy, etc, were present. This was the first private TV station that started in Shijak, a town near Tirana, and then moved to the capital.

LOCAL TV CELEBRATES 5TH ANNIVERSARY

Trio Cable Television, a local cable TV in Southern city of Vlora, celebrated its 5th anniversary on December 14. 22. Important local persons were present in the cocktail organized for this event. In an increasingly difficult market for the local media outlets, few local media outlets have survived for long periods

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