home    I    about us     I     staff     I     news     I     publications     I     projects     I     donors and partners     I     contact us      I     albanian
Media Watch
>> Alerts and Statements
>> Briefing Papers
>> Reports
>> Research and Studies
>> Press Review
Media Research
>> Media Legislation
>> Media Ethics
>> Media Development and      Indipendence
Media Monitoring

Monitoring children coverage in albanian newspapers...
Crime and court reporting...
Education and training
    of journalists...

Corruption reporting...
Reporting and privacy...
Reporting on social issues...
                                                ... more

   Media links

National media
Albanian Telegraphic Agency
Balkaweb News Portal
Klan TV
Panorama Newspaper
Shekulli Newspaper
Shqip Newspaper
Top Channel TV
Vizion Plus TV                ... more

Foreign media
BBC
Deutche Welle
Voice of America            ... more

Albanian
media legislation
Albanian media code of ethics
Newsletters Archive
AMI Newsletters             2004

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

AMI NEWSLETTER - January 2004


REPORTING ON ART AND CULTURE TRAINING

A five-day training course on reporting on culture and art took place at the Albanian Media Institute on 20-24 January, with the participation of 16 culture reporters from both print and electronic media from the countries of South-East Europe. Trainer was Erik Farmann, Associate Professor at the Danish School of Journalism. Through participation in cultural events, discussions on them, and reporting on them, the course aimed at improving the already existing skills on cultural and art reporting, and introducing the participants to new ways of reporting on arts and culture. The main lines addressed in the course of the training consisted of learning how to write on arts and culture, the manners of describing fine arts, main elements to consider when reporting on architecture and city design, reporting on classical music, and writing a movie review.
The participants experienced how culture and art are practiced in Tirana after more than a decade of transition. They attended several cultural events in the course of the training, such as an exhibition of socialistic paintings, a chamber music concert, the projection of a movie, and went through a sightseeing experience through Tirana and the contrasts in its architecture. These cases were broadly discussed in the training and provided the material for reporting on arts with new and improved skills, but above all, in a manner understandable, interesting, and enjoyable to the public. The course was carried out within the framework of activities of South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media (SEENPM), as part of the network’s calendar for the courses of further professionalization of the media.

PRIVATE BROADCASTERS MEET WITH NCRT AND PCM

A meeting of National Council of Radio and Televisions (NCRT), the Parliamentary Committee on the Media (PCM), and the representatives of the private electronic media, took place on January 28 in Tirana. The main aim of the meeting was the discussion on the latest complaints of private media representatives against their discrimination in favor of the public broadcaster. According to the law the public broadcaster can charge the private media a fee for the use of the territory where the antennas of the transmitters are installed, which they consider to be too high a fee. The private broadcasters argued that they suffer heavy financial obligations towards the state, including license fees and other taxes. Such obligations do not apply to the public broadcaster; on the contrary it receives part of the funding from the state budget.
The NCRT representatives and the members of PCM agreed on the fact that the Albanian private media has to afford high financial obligations, but added that every change in this regard can solely be achieved through legislative amendments. Moreover, NCRT stated that the payments to NCRT from the private broadcasters are needed to maintain this regulatory body, and preserve its independence from state. The PCM respected their views and declared that the Albanian Law on Electronic Media needed substantial amendments. However, nothing specific was agreed upon.

LEGITIMAY OF PUBLIC BROADCASTER DIRECTOR QUESTIONED

On 12 January 2004 the Steering Committee (SC) of the Albanian Radio and Television (ART) discussed once again the issue of Artur Zheji’s election as General Director (GD). According to the law the SC appoints the GD of ART for a five years term. The previous SC elected Zheji in 2002 with less than the required 2/3 majority, since at that time a number of members were boycotting the SC. While in previous discussions on this topic, the SC considered re-proceeding with the election of GD because of this fact, this time a new approach was followed.
The question raised during the meeting was whether, considering the circumstances, SC’s members may present a motion of no confidence on the GD. Zheji, supported by a number of SC’s members argued that according to the law the SC is authorized to dismiss him from office, but has no power to present a motion of no confidence. SC voted on whether it has the power to present a vote of no confidence. A majority of 13 members found that they do not have such power. No other arguments were brought challenging Zheji’s election.

FOURTH MODULE OF PR TRAINING CONCLUDED

The fourth and last week of the fourth module of PR training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on January 26-30, with the participation of public relations representatives from the main Albanian NGOs. 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.

LOCAL TV COMPLAINS FOR INTERFERENCE

TV Shijak, a Tirana-based TV station, has complained against National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) for allowing TV News 24 to power up its transmitter, thus ruining the signal of TV Shijak. NCRT ordered TV News 24 to adjust the power of the transmitter in accordance with the license terms on January 13. The transmitter was strengthened on December 31, and NCRT, upon notification of TV Shijak, allowed for a five-day notice for TV News 24 to power down its transmitter. In a protest made by TV Shijak, they regard this as an assault by NCRT, which they claim to be politically dependent.

PUBLICATION ON LOCAL MEDIA

“Local Media: Landscape and Guide” is the title of the latest publication from the Albanian Media Institute, focused entirely on local media. The first part is a survey of local media, its landscape, situation, and future needs. It is the result of a survey completed in 2003, with questionnaires filled in by the local media owners. It represents general data on the local media outlets and their preferences and training needs. The second part of the publication is devoted to the use of local media representatives during their work. It contains selections from relevant laws related to media, the journalist’s code of ethics, as well as parts from the “Manual for Central and Eastern Europe journalists.” The publication was supported by the EU.

FIRST PLURALIST NEWSPAPER COMMEMORATES ITS ANNIVERSARY

The first newspaper that emerged after the dictatorship celebrated its 13th anniversary on January 5, marking thus the beginning of pluralist media in the country. “Rilindja Demokratike” in its beginning served as a tribune of ideas and revision of values of the then socialist regime, and as a communicator of these ideas to the readers. In its early life the paper has had many well-known intellectuals as its editors and journalists.


AMI NEWSLETTER - February 2004


PUBLIC BROADCASTING EMPLOYEES PROTEST AGAINST MANAGEMENT

The Union of Employees of the Albanian Radio and Television (ART) expressed its concern on the present situation of ART, addressing their complaints to the management in a press conference that took place on 11 February. The Union complained of the existing poor professional and technical level of the ART, attributing this failure to bad management from the current director and the lack of involvement of the Steering Committee. It also charged the ART director with misuse of ART funding. According to the representatives of the Union, the ART director continued to remain in office not because of his professionalism, but because of his political connections.
There also was reaction from the Steering Committee, which declared that it understands the concerns of the Union and that is going to negotiate with them for possible solutions. One of the members of the Steering Committee participated (in personal capacity, without representing the Committee) at the press conference at the side of Union’s representatives.

NCRT WARNS ON THE HOT LINES

The Council of Complaints of the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT) has drafted the annual bulletin “The Ethics in the Electronic Media”. According to this bulletin, which will soon be available to the public, one of the main concerns at present is the broadcasting of advertisement and programs on the so-called “0900 lines,” which charge high prices and their authenticity is not checked. There are also complains of a financial character. The costs of calling these numbers are too high and very often, even though connected you are unable to speak to the host of the program. The Albanian public also seems disturbed by the language and views used in these programs.
NCRT has urged the operators to be fair towards the public, financially as well as from an ethical and moral point of view. According to NCRT, the operators should at least broadcast the call tariffs for these numbers. However, NCRT can only issue recommendations in this respect, which are of a non- legally binding character. In order to take concrete legal steps in this direction, NCRT has requested the legislator to amend the present Albanian Law on Electronic Media.

MEDIA TRENDS IN 2003 U.S. REPORT

The US State Department released its 2003 annual report on Albania, including its anlems with the use of the media for political purposes. Political interference in the media remained a problem. Publishers and newspaper owners often edited news stories to serve their own political and economic interests. Television was highly influential and programming included some responsible journalism; however, political affiliation was pervasive in programming. The majority of stations were one-sided in their political coverage.
Occasionally physical violence was used against journalists; politicians dissatisfied with media coverage sometimes assaulted or threatened members of the media. Some human rights organizations and journalists' associations, expressed concern about the increased level of pressure exerted by politicians on the media, particularly in the form of lawsuits. In May, the Albanian Helsinki Committee noted that while all citizens are entitled to seek redress in the court system, politicians--as public figures--should expect scrutiny and attacks from the media and should refrain from misusing libel suits. alysis on media trends and behavior. According to this report in 2003 the media was active and largely unrestrained; however, there were serious, fundamental prob

EXHIBITION ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF ALBANIAN PRESS

An exhibition that attempted to mirror the development of the Albanian press opened in Tirana on February 11, by an experienced journalist covering the military issues. The exhibition featured hundreds of newspaper pages cut out from different periods, including mainly the front pages. The aim of the exhibition was to convey an idea on the editorial policies of the newspapers just judging from the front page of the newspaper.

PUBLICATION ON ARCHIVES OF ALBANIAN PRESS

The latest publication on the Albanian media is a book recently published titled “Albanian press during WWII: 1939-1944.” Luan Zelka, the author, has researched the press of the National Liberation War, including items published by the then existing political faction. The book attempts to shed light on a somewhat dark period of history. The research of publications is strongly linked with the organizations that issued the publications, their mottos, slogans, in the whole context of the ongoing events and trends at the time. An analysis of writing style, composition of articles, and other details is also present.

HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS CALL FOR MEDIA ETHICS

The Albanian Committee of Helsinki has recently expressed its concern relating media coverage of persons infected with the HIV virus. According to this organization, even though the media does not provide the full name of the persons infected, it gives too many details on these persons, making therefore possible their identification. The organization has also addressed the medical staff, requiring from them not to provide the media with such information. Such an act is ethical from both sides, as well as constitutes a criminal offense according to the Albanian legislation, concludes the statement of this organization.

CONFERENCE ON SECURITY ISSUES

A conference on the topic “Security Sector Transformation in SEE: The case of Albania’ took place in Tirana on February 27-28. For most European countries, security today is primarily measured in non-military terms and threats to security are mainly non-military in nature. Thus, the participants in this conference discussed salient topics such as incompetent government, corruption, organized crime, insecure borders, smuggling [weapons, drugs, contraband, people], illegal migration, ethnic and religious conflict, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, shortage of natural resources [e.g., water] and; of course, terrorism. Representatives of different concerned ministries participated, along with the respective parliamentary commissions’ members from Albania, and representatives from the NATO HQ, several academic institutions, think-tanks and research centers. The conference was supported by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Athens, and organized by the Institute of Contemporary Studies and the Albanian Media Institute, Tirana.


AMI NEWSLETTER - March 2004


NCRT ANNUAL REPORT POINTS AT NEED FOR TRANSPARENCE

The National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT), the regulatory body for electronic media, released its annual report this month, which the Parliament approved. According to this report most of the existing electronic media cover the cost of their media through other businesses they operate, and 50 % of the media outlets are not profitable. According to the annual report of NCRT only 46% of the income of the TV stations are from the ads’ revenue, and 49% is covered by other sources. The report states that the market is underdeveloped and deformed, and is unable to sustain the large number of existing media outlets.
According to the same report, none of the private national TV stations covers more than 50% of the country’s territory, while the situation is slightly better for the national private radios. The situation is better for the public broadcaster, although it does not reach the 90% range of territory that needs to be covered according to the law. NCRT announced that the third national license for private TV station will be granted after July.

CONFERENCE ON MEDIA AND GLOBALIZATION

“The dilemmas of globalization and the media” was the topic of the regional conference organized in Tirana on March 26-27, with the participation of many well-known journalists, officials, and representatives of media centers from the whole region and some countries of Western Europe. The conference tried to address such issues as the globalization in the Balkans, its pros and cons, global village versus global image, and globalization of different areas in the Balkan countries, along with the blurring of national boundaries. Reporting on the era of globalization and the different experiences so far were other questions addressed by the participants that had first-hand experiences in this field.
Another important trend that the participants discussed was the shifting of Balkan countries from transitional issues to those of globalization, such as investigative journalism and Internet, organized crime and globalization, etc. along with the trends of globalization, its attractive and threatening sides were also discussed with regard to media policy, such as the ethics in Internet, cyberspace legislation issues, and media policy in the Balkan countries and the future development of these countries. This conference was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and was part of the calendar of activities of the South East Network for the Professionalization of the Media.

LOCAL JOURNALISTS PROTEST AGAINST ALLEGED ARBITRARY DECISIONS

The Association of Southern Journalists and the Association of Professional Journalists of Gjirokastra protested in a statement issued on March 27 against decisions they deemed unjust against their colleague Kristaq Xhai. Xhai is editor-in-chief of “Romiosini,” a weekly published in Gjirokastra, in Greek language. Vangjel Dule, Head of Union of Human Rights, sued him for libel in 2002 after an article published in his paper, and both the District Court and the Court of Appeal found Xhai guilty and ruled he should pay a fine of 500,000 Lek. Although the case was taken to the Supreme Court, which has not ruled yet, Xhai was ordered to leave his house, that would be confiscated and then sold at auction, and his newspaper car was confiscated the same day. The joint statement of associations links these episodes to the publication in Xhai’s newspaper a few days ago of excerpts from the US Department of State on media freedom, where Dule’s case against Xhai was mentioned, too.

FIFTH MODULE OF PR TRAINING BEGINS

The first week of the fifth module of PR training took place on March 15–19 at the Albanian Media Institute. The spokespersons and public relation officials from the courts of different levels in Tirana will participate in this module. In the first week the participants were introduced to the basic principles of marketing, held by lecturer Daniel Burkhardt, director of SSAT, Bellinzona, Switzerland.
This week witnessed the combination of practical elements with the theoretical support. The course was of a rather interactive nature and addressed mainly these topics: introduction to marketing, the concepts of communication, the strategies and tools of public relations, the glossary of internal communication, etc. At the end of the course the participants drafted a communication plan that tested the knowledge gained during the whole week. This course is part of an extensive project called “Open Media, Open Government,” supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

TRAINING SEMINAR WITH LOCAL MEDIA JOURNALISTS

In the framework of the project “Training Journalists from Local Newspapers” the conclusive seminar focusing on the main issues concerning local print media took place on March 29-30, at the Albanian Media Institute. The five participants came from the main weekly newspapers published outside Tirana, and they had published two articles per month in their publications in the period October-March, focusing on social issues of concern to the community.
During this seminar the lecturers, who were well-known journalists, addressed different topics of journalism, such as media ethics, news reporting, coverage of social issues by local media, the different manners of newspaper layout, usage of photos in a publication, etc. The participants were also introduced to the basic skills of Internet usage. This project was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Swedish Helsinki Committee.

EC REPORT STATES MEDIA SITUATION NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

In late March the European Commission published the annual report on Albania, addressing the media situation among others. According to this report, despite the large quantity of media outlets in the country, none of them is immune to political and financial pressure. A greater transparence with regard to media ownership is recommended as a vital step in this regard. There have also been continuous, though refined, efforts from the government to influence information, through financial and fiscal pressure or through libel lawsuits. The report recommended that a special order be issued to guarantee the independence of the regulatory body of electronic media and that the process of transformation of public broadcaster be completed. The report also paid attention to the journalists’ working conditions, indicating that in case urgent measures are not taken in this regard, professional journalism will be extremely hard to produce in the country.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT FOR GORY IMAGES

The Parliamentary Commission of Laws accepted the proposal made by Ben Blushi, Member of Parliament and ex-journalist, to add an amendment to the law on electronic media that would prevent broadcasting gory images. According to Blushi presently the Albanian TV stations often broadcast disturbing images that violate human dignity. Such an amendment would discipline the TV images in this regard, forbidding the broadcasting of images that infringe upon the personality of the victims or their families, as well as of images that are shocking to the viewers. The Parliamentary Commission on Media has to discuss the amendment, too, before the Parliament votes the amendment. However, the directors of some TV stations have considered this amendment as a potential restriction of media freedom.

TEAM REPORTING ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on March 15-19, with the participation of eight journalists from the main Albanian dailies. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in “Shekulli,” Albania’s largest circulation paper. The supplement focused on environmental issues, a highly sensitive topic at the moment, more specifically on the alarming level of pollution in the capital and other big cities, and in some holiday resorts. The participants worked in teams and traveled to the affected areas to be able to report on them. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project is a cooperation of Albanian Media Institute with the Guardian Foundation and the United Nations Environment Program. A similar course took place last June, and other steps will follow.

TRAINING IN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS

Training workshops took place in two local newspapers in early March, the monthly “Lissalba” published in Lezhe, and the weekly “Dita Jug,” published in Gjirokaster. The training aimed mainly at improving and strengthening the quality of local publications. The main topics involved news collecting and reporting, the most adequate ways of a good layout, designing a new logo for the newspaper. Trainers were Robert Slaght, freelancer and journalism professor, and Koen Geurts, designer for “Metro” newspaper. The training was supported by Press Now.

ALBANIAN VIEWERS CONCERNED WITH TV IMAGES

The Council of Complaints attached to the National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) issued its periodical “Antena,” which contains, among others, the public’s opinion on TV depiction of violence and sex. The survey was carried out in November and December in some cities in the country. It found that Albanians watch more TV than they did last year, although NCRT has succeeded in implementing the anti-piracy law for electronic media. About 67% of the surveyed people watched at least three hours of TV each day, and some even longer. Most of the people found that the TV stations overdid it with graphic images of violence and sex.
Another disturbing trend was an increasing popularity of VAT phone calls, a service that most of the TV stations have introduced extensively. Both viewers and NCRT are disturbed due to some TV stations not respecting the showing of pictures that are considered sexually explicit of these services before the midnight, as regulated by NCRT. Also, there is no mechanism to guarantee the authenticity of these services and sometimes people feel they are a fraud.

ON-LINE JOURNALISM IN A NEW PUBLICATION

The latest publication on the journalism area focuses on a mixture of journalism and technology, namely the on-line journalism. “Journalism 2.0: Dealing with information at the time of Internet” is a book that attempts to address some important issues in this relatively unexplored area in Albania. Some of the questions it poses are: What is an on-line publication and how does it differ from the traditional ones? What is the importance of multimedia and how does it change the concepts of periodicity, archive, and personalization? Which is the right kind of writing for electronic media?
Although the quantity of information flow has increased dramatically, the challenge for a professional filter remains. Riccardo Stagliano, journalist of “La Repubblica” and author of this book, attempts to tackle this challenge. By considering the technological development a new stage in journalism career and an opportunity for improvement, the author also considers this as the preamble to a more scrupulous and democratic journalism. The book was published by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the SDC, in the framework of the extensive project “Open Media, Open Government.”


AMI NEWSLETTER -Aprill 2004


DISCUSSION WITH LAWMAKERS ON DEFAMATION AND SLANDER ARTICLES

A round table took place in Tirana on April 23 on the potential improvement of Albanian legislation on defamation, with the participation of 25 Members of Parliament. Both the Penal Code and the Civil Code contain articles on defamation and slander that are considered regressive in the framework of the freedom of expression. While neighboring countries have improved this aspect of their legislation, Albania is lagging behind, as underlined in the recent annual report issued by the European Commission. To this effect, the Albanian Media Institute and the Justice Initiative in New York cooperated to organize a round table to examine the amendment of the codes, and particularly these articles. The participants discussed the establishment of a working group and drafting a work calendar on this issue. This round table was supported by the Open Society Justice Initiative.

SECOND WEEK OF PR TRAINING

The second week of the fifth module of PR training took place on April 19-23 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of PR officials from courts of different level. The topics addressed in the course of the week included media, news, newsroom and their requirements, managing interviews, the kinds of interviews, such as face-to-face, radio, TV, phone, etc, as well as interpersonal communication and mediated one.
In the first three days lecturer Massimiliano Panarari, journalist of “Il Messaggero” focused significantly on the work in the Italian newsrooms, combining the theoretical display with practical sides of these matters. The last two days lecturer Adele Caprio, spokeswoman of one of the counselors of the Municipality of Florence, expanded on the psychological elements, which are essential in doing a PR job, as well as on the form and content, two key aspects of this profession. This course is part of an extensive project called “Open Media, Open Government,” supported by SDC.

ROUND TABLE ON MEDIA SELF-REGULATION

A round table on the topic of media self-regulation in Albania took place in Tirana on April 16, with the participation of 50 journalists from print and electronic media, including media in the capital and beyond. The round table focused on issues related to this topic, such as the good side of self-regulation, the relation between regulation and self-regulation, the law on defamation and journalism ethics, the Albanian Code of Ethics, etc. The contributors also brought good and bad examples from Albania and other countries related to self-regulation and its practice. The participants held a lively discussion, focusing on possible ways to implement self-regulation in the country. The round table was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Council of Europe and the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.

IN-HOUSE RADIO TRAINING

An in-house radio training course took place on March 30- April 3, at “Radio Alpo” and the branch of the public radio in Gjirokastra, with the participation of ten journalists from these radios. 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 discussed radio magazines, which tested the knowledge and skills gained during the course. 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.

ANNUAL REPORT ON MEDIA DEVELOPMENT

The Albanian Center of Media Monitoring published “Albanian Media Monitor-2003,” which tends to provide a view of the media situation and developments for the last year. The publication included reports issued on the media in the country and occasionally in the region and media events or incidents according to a monthly basis. The book also contained several documents related to media, and the main laws regulating media behavior in the country nowadays. The publication was supported by Press Now.


AMI NEWSLETTER - May 2004


JOURNALISTS’ ASSOCIATION PROTEST AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT

The three main journalists organizations in Albania staged a protest in front of the Prime Minister’s office in defense of the freedom of speech. Albanian League of Journalists, Association of Professional Journalists, and Free Media Albanian Forum gathered a hundred journalists, who protested for about an hour. The protest stemmed from the Tirana Court’s rule to penalize one of the main daily papers in the country “Koha Jone,” with a fine of approximately 20,000 USD. Prime Minister Nano and members of his staff had sued the newspaper for libel.
The protesters placed TV sets and piles of newspaper and chained them together symbolizing the government’s efforts to control media. The International Federation of Journalists and Article XIX supported the protest and called on the Prime Minister’s office “to cease all the actions that undermine journalism critical to government.”

GOVERNMENT PRESS CENTER ESTABLISHED

A press center was established in the government’s headquarters, aiming at better communication with the media outlets and the public. According to Prime Minister Nano the function of this press center would be to increase transparency on the work of Council of Ministers, not only for the journalists, but also for citizens who are interested in the matter. The new center consisted in a new room for press conferences and also provided facilities for following the work of the Council of Ministers. Nano said that similar centers would be established in other governmental organizations in the future

JOURNALIST NOT NOTIFIED ON THE TRIAL

Mero Baze, publisher of daily “Tema” claims that he was notified of a court ruling that found his newspaper guilty of libel one month after the trial of April 22. Since he was not notified on the date of the trial, either, the defendant was not present in the courtroom. The court ruling had to be appealed in the Court of Appeal ten days after the first ruling, which the newspaper did not do, as it was not notified. “Tema” was sued for libel by Skender Gjinushi, Head of the Social-Democrat Party, and ordered to pay approximately 1,000 USD as a fine. Baze has requested the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Council of Justice to examine this case due to the irregular procedure he claims have taken place.

COURSE ON EU REPORTING

The first week of a series of seminars on issues of foreign policy took place at the Albanian Media Institute on May 18-19, with the participation of journalists from print and electronic media. This course focused on issues that evolved around EU and a more informed reporting on it. The first lecturer, Ledio Bianku, Director of the Center for European Studies, focused on the detailed description of EU institutions, their functioning, and the historical background of the EU. The EU expansion and the advantages of disadvantages of EU membership were also tackled along the lecture.
The second lecturer was Sokol Nako, ex-Minister of Integration. He focused his lecture on the process of Stabilization-Association, the necessary steps to be taken for membership, and the structures that need to be established to achieve a successful process. Considering that there is no deep knowledge on EU-related issues, the participants were rather interested and posed many questions to the lecturers. These seminars will continue with other issues, such as Iraq coverage, covering the region, etc. this series of courses is supported by the U.S. Embassy.

INTERNET TRAINING FOR LOCAL JOURNALISTS

An Internet training course took place at the Albanian Media Institute on May 24-26, with the participation of 11 journalists from newspapers and TV stations outside Tirana. 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 course was supported by the Swedish Helsinki Committee.

IN-HOUSE RADIO TRAINING

Another in-house radio training course took place on May 19-21, at “Radio Tirana” the headquarters of the public broadcaster, with the participation of five journalists from the department of information. 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.

WORKSHOP ON MEDIA COVERAGE OF YOUTH PROBLEMS

The basic problems of the young generation and their coverage by the media outlets was the main topic of a workshop that took place at the Albanian Media Institute on May 13-14. Journalists covering social issues from the main media attended the workshop. The lecturers included representatives from youth organizations, experts of youth problems, media experts, and representatives from government institutions related to the youth. They addressed sensitive topics such as the struggle against drugs, abortion and its social consequences, the integration of services for the youth, youth policies by the Youth Council and the government, and the media coverage of all problems related to the young generation. The course was supported by UNFPA.

ROUND TABLE ON RELIGIONS IN THE BALKANS

A round table on the issue of religions in the Balkan Peninsula took place at the Books and Communications House on May 22, with the participation of well-known researchers and analysts from Albania, the Balkans, France, and Spain. The round table focused on the notions of religion, nation, and globalization, the links between them and their interdependence. The relation between the public sphere and the religions in the Balkans was also addressed, its implications for the forging of national identity and the situation among religions in the Balkans, as well as the respective legislation. The last aspect that the participants discussed was whether the Balkans was a combination of cultures or a clash of civilizations, with the respective ramifications on the integration into EU. This round table was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and the Center of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona.

MINORITIES INFORMATION CENTER INAUGURATED

The newsroom of the Roma magazine “Te barabarte” and the Minorities Information Center were inaugurated on May 19. In this occasion, the photographic exhibition “Roma of Albania” took place in the newsroom of the magazine. The newsroom and center were supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Albania.


AMI NEWSLETTER - June 2004


ONGOING DEBATES ON PRESS BILL

Recently the media community has been involved in a debate on the new press bill proposed by two members of the Parliamentary Commission on Media. The bill aims to regulate the market of the daily newspapers, alluding that some newspapers are sold under their production cost. The bill also contains articles on restriction of publishers that apply a certain price to the newspaper to participate in public tenders. A vivid debate is taking place both in print and electronic media on these issues. To this effect the New Democratic Party organized a round table with editors to discuss the press bill and the media situation. Currently Albania has a press law that only states the freedom of press and that this freedom is guaranteed by the state.

LAST MODULE OF PR TRAINING CONCLUDES

The third week of PR training module for court spokespersons took place on May 31-June 4, at the Albanian Media Institute. The first three days Roberto Borioli, PR expert, addressed both theoretical and practical experts of the PR profession. He focused on the form and content of the work, the basis of interpersonal communication, the main role the PR officer has in the relations between the institutions and the public. The concept of image was addressed and then the participants discussed specifically on the role they had in the overall structure of the institution.
In the last two days lecturer Arben Muka, Deutche Welle correspondent, explained in detail how to write a press release, how to manage debate in a press conference and other aspects of the practical work. The participants also drafted some press releases based on the topics the lecturer provided.
The fourth and last week of PR training took place on June 21-25, focusing extensively on press conference and all its elements. Lecturer was Tomas Miglierina, correspondent of the Swiss Radio in Brussels. In the four days he lectured he addressed theoretical aspects of the press conference, combining them with his work experience as a radio correspondent near the EU, commenting also some media coverage of court processes. The participants tested their knowledge in two moot press conferences.
The last day was an exchange of experience between the participants and lecturer Agim Neza, spokesman at the General Prosecutor Office in Tirana. The participants discussed special cases and problems they face in their everyday work. This training week concluded the fifth and last module of the PR training project. The past modules have focused on PR training for spokespersons of the political parties, government, NGOs, and local government. The project was implemented in the framework of an extensive project called “Open Media, Open Government,” supported by SDC.

EDUCATION REPORTING TRAINING

A training course on educational reporting took place on 8-12 June at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of 11 journalists from all the countries in the region. The main goal of the course was to introduce journalists to the main ways and tools used in reporting on education issues in the countries of the reporters, as well as in the region as a whole. Through various lectures, discussions, and visits the course attempted to enhance the participants’ understanding of the education problems as well as their professional skills. Trainer was Kim Albaek from The Danish School of Journalism.
The main lines addressed in the course of the training consisted of the need for educational reforms and the need for reporting on such issues, the introduction of the education systems in the respective countries, and hence the reforms, and finally reporting on these issues having in mind the interested target. The training aimed at journalists from both print and electronic media. The participants visited a high school, an elementary school, and held talks with the Albanian Minister of Education and with the Mayor of Tirana. They also attended a lecture by a local expert on education, who introduced them to the Albanian education system and the reforms under way. Finally, the participants chose a topic of their interest related to education and developed a story based on the information gathered. The course was carried out within the framework of activities of South East European Network for Professionalization of the Media (SEENPM.)

TEAM REPORTING ON HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 14-18, with the participation of eight journalists from some Albanian dailies. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in “Panorama.” The supplement focused on human rights issues and the coverage of these rights in the Albanian media. The participants worked as a team and covered different stories addressing human rights issues, such as voting rights, children rights, the legal background of human rights and their development in the country, etc. the journalists also enriched their background on these issues by the lectures of different experts. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project was supported by the Swedish Helsinki Committee and organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

TEAM REPORTING ON RELIGION

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 21-25, with the participation of eight journalists from Albanian daily newspapers. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in “Korrieri.” The supplement focused on issues relevant to religion, such as tolerance among religions in Albania, the need for legal regulation on religion, property problems and conflict regarding religious objects, feature stories of persons involved with religion, the new religions that have spread in the country, etc. The participants worked as a team and each report was discussed and edited in a group, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. Different lecturers also contributed to a wider information choice for this supplement. This project was supported by Press Now and organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

AMAN’S GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING IN TIRANA

The Alliance of Mediterranean Agencies of News (AMAN) held its General Assembly’s meeting in Tirana on June 26, preceded by a workshop on management titled “Marketing for the Editorial Business” on June 25. the workshop focused on specific marketing issues related to the operation of AMAN’s member agencies. The Albanian Telegraphic Agency is the incoming president of AMAN.

IN-HOUSE RADIO TRAINING

An in-house radio training took place at Radio Saranda on June 27-29, with the participation of technicians and sound editors from that radio station. The training focused on sound techniques and equipment in the radio, including topics such as knowledge on voice, volume, professional sound card installment and their configuration, mixers, gain control, professional sound software, microphones, their classifications and usage, computer broadcasting and editing. The knowledge gained in this course was constantly tested in practice, resulting on preparing a radio broadcast through usage of the new equipment. Trainers were Mitrulla Thodhori and Piro Shkaba from the Albanian Media Institute. This training was supported by SDC and was the last in-house radio training course in framework of the extensive project “Open Media, Open Government.”

ANNUAL EDITION OF WORLD PRESS TRENDS IS PUBLISHED

The annual edition of “World Press Trends” was published by the World Association of Newspapers, including for the first time a chapter on Albania. This publication has conveyed data on the press and the main press trends in the world since 1968. This edition witnessed the expansion of country chapters to 208 countries compared to 74 last year. The edition contains a comparative chapter of overall statistics and special chapters for each country included in the survey.

CLUB OF JOURNALISTS FOR INTEGRATION ESTABLISHED

The Club of Journalists for Integration was established on June 25 in Tirana, including the editors of the main media outlets. The main aim of this club is to better inform the public on issues related to integration to the EU, raise awareness on them, help organize public events, and lobby MPs and top government officials on integration structures needs. This club was an initiative of UNDP, and followed a one-day seminar where different lecturers talked on integration issues, including a speech from the Minister of European Integration, the Director of European Center, the IREX media consultant, and UNDP PR officer and the coordinator of the project “Image of Albania.”

NEW LOCAL TV STATION ESTABLISHED

“Channel 7” is the latest TV station established in Gjirokastra, the most important city of Southern Albania. This television aims to cover all the cities in that part of the country. The inauguration ceremony took place on June 18, with the participation of important local persons and authorities.

DISTRIPRESS BOARD MEETING HELD IN TIRANA

The meeting of the Board of Directors of Distripress took place in Tirana on June 17-20. Present were important publishers and distributors of the leading world print media outlets, such as “The Economist,” “Financial Times,” “Le Monde,” etc. Distripress is an internationally active organization, aiming at the promotion of international circulation of the press, with its headquarters in Switzerland.


AMI NEWSLETTER - July 2004


PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES MEDIA SITUATION

The parliament held a session on the media situation in the country on July 5, where Prime Minister Fatos Nano had to clarify current media issues and trends, such as media independence, increase of court cases against the journalists, attempts to corrupt the media, etc. Nano stressed during his speech that half of the income of the media comes from “other sources,” which are not mentioned, thus completely lacking transparency. Other concerns he mentioned on the media situation were tax evasion by the media, lack of working contracts, etc. Members of the opposition accused Nano of attempts to buy the media outlets and their favorable coverage, non-transparent government ads allocation, etc. This debate took place against the backdrop of increasing court rulings in favor of the government and against the journalists, and amidst ongoing debates on amendments to press law.

HEAD OF NCRT RESIGNS

Sefedin Cela, head of the National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT,) announced his resignation on July 28 due to personal reasons. Cela has re-run for member of this council. On July 29 the Parliament passed four of the candidates running for office of member of the NCRT, including Cela. The Parliament failed to pass only one of the candidates, who was proposed by the President of the Republic. The voting process did not go smoothly, as two MPs, members of the Parliamentary Commission on Media, opposed the statement by the chairman of this commission that declared the discussion among members of commission agreed on the candidates. They claimed that the discussion had ended in a quarrel and the voting that took place in the parliament was a violation of the procedures. Other members of the commission contested this claim and the new members of NCRT passed, also based on the reasoning that NCRT would not be able to function until the Parliament resumes work in September. NCRT is composed of seven members, with three representatives from the ruling parties and opposition ones, respectively, and one nominated by the President.

ROUND TABLE ON MEDIA PROBLEMS

A round table on media problems and issues was organized on July 7, with the participation of the main owners and publishers of the print and electronic media, media analysts, representatives of the journalists associations, well-known journalists, etc. The main focus of the discussion was the media situation, especially related to the amendments proposed for the press law. One of the main topics and conclusions of this round table was the need for greater transparency of ownership of media companies, as well as of their sources of financing. Other issues raised in the course of discussion were the lack of working contracts for journalists, the need for a stronger journalists’ community vis-à-vis the owners and the state. One of the ideas stressed during the round table was that the interests of the owners, the politicians they support, or the big advertisers should not dictate editorial policy. Also, the participants expressed themselves in favor of self-regulation, rather than a more restrictive regulation imposed by law. The round table was organized by OSCE and the Albanian Media Institute.

DISCUSSIONS WITH LAWYERS AND JOURNALISTS ON DEFAMATION AND SLANDER ARTICLES

Two round tables took place on July 20 and 21 at the Albanian Media Institute on the potential improvement of Albanian legislation on defamation. The first round table took place with the participation of well-known lawyers, media experts, and members of the Parliamentary Commission on Media. Well-known journalists and editors-in-chief of the main media outlets discussed in the second round table. The participants focused on the draft of amendments made to the articles on defamation and slander. Both the Penal Code and the Civil Code contain articles on defamation and slander that are considered regressive in the framework of the freedom of expression. While neighboring countries have improved this aspect of their legislation, Albania is lagging behind, as underlined in the annual report issued by the European Commission. These discussions are a joint initiative of the Albanian Media Institute and the Justice Initiative in New York, with the support of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

TEAM REPORTING ON MIGRATION

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on July 12-16, with the participation of eight journalists from some Albanian dailies. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in “Gazeta Shqiptare.” The supplement focused on issues of migration and the coverage of this phenomenon in the Albanian media. The participants worked as a team and covered different stories addressing topics related to migration, such as the effects of migration on Albanian society, rural exodus, Albanian émigrés, brain drain, role of remittances in the Albanian economy, etc. The supplement also featured personal stories of migration, such as foreigners living in Albania and Albanians that have fled the country. The journalists also enriched their background on these issues by the lectures of different experts. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project was supported by Press Now and organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS CHALLENGE ANTI-PIRACY LAW

The start of Digitalb, a company that has started providing digital TV programs from July 15, has provoked a challenge to the implementation of the anti-piracy law by the Albanian TV stations. Digitalb has offered packages of TV stations that broadcast different kinds of entertainment, such as movies, sports, music, shows, etc. The National Council of Radios and Televisions stated that this service Digitalb has provided is illegal, since there is no legislation on this new technology approved yet. On the other hand, the Association of Electronic Media has condemned Digitalb, claiming that it has paved the way for TV piracy, since it is broadcasting pirate programs. Soon after, local TV stations broadcast pirate movies or programs, stating that at least they are not charging for the pirate broadcasting, like Digitalb, and pledging to continue so, if the situation remains unchanged. The anti-piracy law was passed in October 2003 and its implementation was successful until the recent events.

TEAM REPORTING ON MINORITIES

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on July 19-23, with the participation of eight journalists from some Albanian dailies. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in “Koha Jone.” The supplement addressed topics related to minorities. The reporters defined minorities not in the ethnic sense, but in that of groups that have been excluded or neglected by the society. The participants worked as a team and covered different stories, mainly related to Roma people and their problems and culture, the people with limited abilities, and the Wlach people living in Albania. Different lecturers also contributed to a wider information choice for this supplement. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project was supported by the Swedish Helsinki Committee and organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

SEMINAR ON PRESS LEGISLATION IMPROVEMENT

A seminar on the harmonization of Albanian press legislation with European standards took place in Tirana on July 12, with the participation of lawmakers, well-known media lawyers, members of the Parliamentary Commission on Media, and journalists. Topics addressed in the course of the seminar included the historic context and current developments of press in Albania, its legislative framework and the problems it has experienced, the protection of victims of press violations, the right to reply, damages in fines, European sanctions on these issues and liability of press outlets, the rights and duties of journalists, the legal studies of journalists, protection of sources, access to information, etc. In this context the participants discussed on the next steps necessary for improving the press legislation. This seminar was organized by the Council of Europe and the Albanian Parliament, in the framework of the Stability Pact.

REPORTING ON IRAQ

A seminar on coverage of Iraq took place at the Albanian Media Institute on June 30-July 1, with the participation of journalists from print and electronic media. This course focused on the latest developments in Iraq, its impact on international policy, and ways to improve coverage. The first lecturer, Roland Bimo, General Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held an overview of the war on Iraq, mentioning its most important stages and Albanian involvement in this country. He addressed also the lack of agreement among the great powers, the difficulties of the war on Iraq and the reasons of the Albanian state for sending in troops.
The second lecturer was Bardhyl Cani, Middle East expert. He focused his lecture on a general overview of the situation in the region of Middle East, briefly mentioning the specific of each country and the common characteristics of all countries in the area. His lecture also tackled the approach of the attack on Iraq as a preventive measure to some terrorist attach. These seminars will continue with other issues and are organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

ONLINE JOURNALISM TRAINING

A course on online journalism training took place on July 26-28, with the participation of 11 journalists from the main daily newspapers, a weekly, a TV station, and the state news agency. The main topics addressed in the course were the concept of online journalism and its development in the present time, the main characteristics of online journalism, searching in the Internet, search engines, catalogues, databases, and search strategies. The course was more on the practical nature, focusing on the practical uses of online journalism in nowadays media, finding useful websites for every journalist, online writing, different web formats, the expansion of the concept of online journalism, online communication forms, etc. The course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Swedish Helsinki Committee.

REPORTING ON GLOBALIZATION

The third week of the series of reporting on foreign policy issues took place at the Albanian Media Institute on July 29-30, with the participation of journalists from print and electronic media. This course focused on the development of globalization in the world, its impact on Albania, and its future. The first lecturer was Artan Fuga, a well-known academician. He started by presenting a general overview of the phenomenon of globalization and its geopolitical component, and continued by explaining its various stages, such as universalism, globalization, etc. The lecturer addressed such essential concepts as the global village, geopolitics, and followed with the impact of globalization on Albania.
The second lecturer was Piro Misha, director of Books and Communication House and a well-known analyst. He focused his lecture mainly on the factors that brought about globalization, such as the economic aspect, free movement of people, Internet and communication, which brought to the shortage of distances. The lecture also addressed the cultural aspect of the globalization, the Huntington thesis on the clash of civilizations, etc. Other issues addressed were the thesis of the no-global movement, the preservation of the national identity. Finally, the lecturer focused on the good and bad effects of globalization on the Albanian culture. These seminars will continue with other issues and are organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

SECOND FORUM OF MEDIA AND CITIZENS

The second forum between media and citizens took place in Elbasan on July 13, with the participation of local media reporters, representatives of the civil society, and the academia. The main aim of this series of meetings is to bring the media closer to the citizen, and vice-versa. The discussions focus on local media coverage of the problems of the community and the way that it can raise awareness among and for the community. The main lecturers were well-known journalists and analysts Fatos Lubonja, Artan Fuga, Ilir Yzeiri, and Remzi Lani. The first similar forum took place in Shkodra. These meetings will go on in other cities and training courses will follow. This project is implemented by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

MEDIA SUSTAINABILITY INDEX PUBLISHED

The 2003 issue of “Media Sustainability Index” came out. This is a project that tests the development of sustainable independent media in all the countries of Southeast Europe and Eurasia. This study is carried out for the third year in a row and it aims to assess how media structures change over time and across borders. During this assessment the working teams looked at five indicators that were considered essential in shaping a successful media system: free speech, professional journalism, plurality of news sources, business management, and supporting institutions. This research study was carried out by IREX and USAID.

"HISTORY OF THE MEDIA" IS PUBLISHED

“History of the media” is the latest publication by the Albanian Media Institute in the media field. This book focuses on the history of the media from 1751 until the latest development on Internet and other kinds of information. Frederic Barbier and Catherine Bertho Lavenir, the authors of the book, have attempted to stress two aspects: the relation between media and politics in the functioning of democracy in the West on one hand, and the elements that compose the print media and the electronic media on the other hand. The book addresses different issues of media development mainly in the Western democracies. The book covers the period from 1751, the date of the publication of the encyclopedia that circulated at the eve of the revolution, to present day Internet, which contains information on world problems, censorship, information control, which are characteristic to contemporary democracy.

NEW ISSUE OF "MEDIA SHQIPTARE" MAGAZINE

The thirteenth issue of the quarterly “Media Shqiptare” came out in July, addressing several media trends and aspects in the country. The articles in the magazine focused on such topics as relations between media and politics, media and the public, language pollution in the media, coverage of international news, the role of spokespersons in media coverage, etc. A considerable part of the articles was devoted to ethics in the media, touching upon such issues as censure and ethics, self-regulation in the media, the code of ethics within the media outlets, etc. The authors that contributed to the magazine are well-known journalists and editors. The magazine was published with the support of IREX.

PUBLICATION OF "ALBANIAN MEDIA MONITOR"

“Albanian Media Monitor” was published in July, monitoring the most important trends, phenomena, and events of the Albanian media for the first half of 2004. This book contains a calendar of media events, reports on the recent debates on media situation in the Parliament and on the court cases involving media representatives. This publication features also some research on the advertising market in the country, a general landscape of the media outlets, the annual report of the National Council of Radios and Televisions, as well as the ongoing projects on the media field, such as the bill on the press law. “Albanian Media Monitor” also includes an overlook on the media in Kosovo and the world media trends. The book was published by the Albanian Center of Media Monitoring with the support of Press Now.

INTERNATIONAL SPORT JOURNALISTS DAY CELEBRATED

The Association of Albanian Sports Journalists and the National Albanian Olympic Committee organized a ceremony in the event of the international sport reporters’ day on July 2. This day commemorated the 80th birthday of the World Association of Sport Reporters. In this occasion, the International Olympic Committee awarded the trophy “Sports and Media.” Present were many sports reporters and personalities from the areas of sports and media.


AMI NEWSLETTER, August - September 2004


EFFORTS TO ABOLISH PUBLISHER’S MP IMMUNITY SPARK REACTIONS

The Supreme Court demanded that the Albanian Parliament abolish the immunity of MP and publisher Nikolle Lesi on September 25, in order to be judged with regard to a story published on Prime Minister Nano’s spouse in his daily “Koha Jone.” This court request will be examined by the Parliamentary Commissions on Immunities and will later on be voted in the Parliament. Nano has filed a lawsuit for defamation against Lesi, but he cannot be taken to court as he enjoys the immunity granted to members of parliament. Journalism community and representatives of human rights groups have reacted against the court ruling, calling it a politicized decision and an attack against a person that has contributed to press freedom in the country.

DISCUSSIONS ON DIGITAL TV LAW POSTPONED

The Parliamentary Commission on Media has postponed the discussion on the approval of the law on digital television in its meeting of September 28, since EU experts and the National Council of Televisions (NCRT) have not expressed their opinions yet. The Commission heard the opinions of the television owners, who could not concur on the approval of the law. Some representatives thought that the law was drafted in a hurry and the digital televisions that have started operating before the law is approved should broadcast based on a provisional platform. Other participants in the debate insisted that digital television is the future of television industry, and this law should pass as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the start of digital televisions has led to the broadcasting of programs without copyright from some terrestrial televisions, hence breaching the anti-piracy law. The reasoning behind these actions is that the digital televisions do not possess the rights to broadcast their programs, either, and they also charge for viewing these programs. The Chairman of Association of Electronic Media and co-owner of one of the digital operators, protested on September 29 at the NCRT against these television. His protest also targeted cable televisions, most of which are not licensed and broadcast in a pirate manner, he said.

REPORTING ON UN

The fourth week of the series of seminars of reporting on international affairs took place at the Albanian Media Institute on September 9-10, with the participation of international affairs reporters, from both print and electronic media. This seminar focused on the structure, functions, and problems of UN. The first lecturer was ex-President of Albania, Mr. Rexhep Mejdani, who addressed issues such as the hictory of UN, the evolution of international right, the role of UN and its functioning against the globalism backdrop, the role and function of the Security Council, etc.

The second lecturer was Mr. Xhezair Zaganjori, ex-Ambassador of Albania to Germany, and officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He focused on the UN role in the peacekeeping missions, their structures and funcions, bringing specific examples, such as Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Afghanistan, etc. The UN special agencies was another topic of interest to the participants. These seminars will continue with other issues and are organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

TEAM REPORTING ON GLOBALIZATION

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on September 13-17, with the participation of eight journalists from some Albanian dailies. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in daily “Metropol.” The supplement focused on globalization issues and the coverage of this phenomenon in the Albanian media. The participants worked as a team and covered different stories addressing topics related to globalization, such as the spread of globalization in Albania, its effects on Albanian culture, economy, and Albanian development in the context of an increasingly global world. The journalists also enriched their background on these issues by the lectures of different experts, including ex-President of Albania Rexhep Mejdani, director of Books and Communication House Piro Misha, and New York University in Tirana director Gramoz Pashko. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project was supported by Press Now and organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

REPORTING ON TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS

The fifth week of the series of seminars of reporting on international affairs took place at the Albanian Media Institute on September 29-30, with the participation of international affairs reporters, from both print and electronic media. This week’s seminar focused on the coverage of transatlantic relations. The first day’s lecture by Gramoz Pashko, Director of New York University in Tirana, focused on a brief description of the Transatlantic Pact, on the main aspects and reasons for this pact, such as cultural, economic, lifestyle, policies, etc. He also addressed the disagreements among allies, bringing specific examples such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and the solutions found so far to these disagreements.

The seond lecturer was Roland Bimo, officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who mainly covered the Albanian stance in the context of transatlantic relations, including the functioning of EU structures in this regard. He also mentioned the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Albania’s membership in European structures. These seminars will continue with other issues and are organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

TEAM REPORTING ON ROMA

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on September 22-October 2, with the participation of eight radio journalists, including the Roma community. The aim of this team reporting was to increase and improve media coverage of Roma community in Albania, shedding light in an otherwise neglected community. To this end the participants held meetings with several representatives of the Roma community and doing on-field reporting in order to get familiar with the concerns and traditions of Roma people in the country. Trainers were Alistair Crighton, Nancy Marshall, and Arben Muka. In their lectures they focused on the main principles of the diversity journalism, the main problems the Roma community faces in Albania, the manner of covering Roma by adopting to newsroom’s requirements, etc. The training was a combination of lectures, on-field reporting and team editing and in the end a radio show will be produced, which will be aired in one of the radios broadcasting in the capital. This training was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and the Media Diversity Institute and was supported by the European Community and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands.

ROUND TABLE ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION LAW

A round table on access to information law and the right to information took place at the Albanian Media Institute on September 16, with the participation of journalists from poth print and electronic Tirana-based media. The main aim of the round table is to know and discuss on the access to information law and its implementation in Albania. The first speaker was Ilir Aliaj of the Center for the Development and Democratization of Institutions, who focused on the international standards of access to information and particularly on the Albanian law. The discussion followed with the second speaker, Henri Cili, representative of the Albanian Forum for Free Media, who focused on the practical implementation of this law in the country and especially on the relevance this law has for the journalists. The participants shared their experience and brought specific examples with regard to the implementation of this law. This activity was supported by the Swedish Helsinki Committee.

FIRST TRAINING COURSE ON LOCAL MEDIA COVERAGE

A course on the community coverage of local media took place in Shkoder on September 13-15, with the participation of journalists from the local media outlets and the spokespersons of public administration. The main aim of this series of courses is to bring the media closer to the citizen, and vice-versa. The training focused on local media coverage of the problems of the community and the way that it can raise awareness among and for the community. The lecturer was Lutfi Dervishi, freelancer and journalism professor. He focused on the relevant topics for the community and the way media should cover them, having also in mind the ethical principles to adhere to. The course followed the forum held in this city, and the same format will take place in other cities. This project is implemented by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

NEW PROJECT ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION

The project “Access to information and public administration” marked its start on September 28 in Tirana with a reception. Present were among others the State Minister Marko Bello, the representative of World Bank Nadir Mohamed, and the executive director of Article 19, Andrew Puddephat. The project aims to train about 150 employees of the public administration both in the local and central government with regard to access of information to official documents. The project will be implemented by the Institute of Public Administration Training and the Center for Development and Democratization of Institutions, with the support of World Bank.

MEETING ON AMERICAN DIPLOMACY IN THE BALKANS

Seth Cropsey, Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau in the United States, visited Albania and held a meeting on September 16. Well-known politicians, representatives of government bodies related to media, journalists and editors from the main print and electronic media attended the meeting. The discussion evolved around the trends of American diplomacy in the Balkans, especially in Albania, in the context of war against terrorism and the ongoing changes in world diplomacy. The meeting was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and ?

SECOND TRAINING COURSE ON LOCAL MEDIA COVERAGE

A course on the community coverage of local media took place in Elbasan on September 16-18, with the participation of journalists from the local media outlets and the spokespersons of public administration. The main aim of this series of courses is to bring the media closer to the citizen, and vice-versa. The training focused on local media coverage of the problems of the community and the way that it can raise awareness among and for the community. The main speakers were journalists from the area, the Mayor, environment experts, the police chief, etc. The course followed the forum held in this city, and the same format will take place in other cities. This project is implemented by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

LATEST ISSUE OF "MEDIA SHQIPTARE" MAGAZINE

The fourteenth issue of the quarterly “Media Shqiptare” came out in September, addressing several media trends and aspects in the country. The articles in the magazine focused on such topics as relations between media and politics, coverage trends in the media, public relations and the media, the informal side of the Albanian media, etc. A considerable part of the articles was devoted to ethics in the media, the emergence of digital television and its effects on media development, massive communication, role of NGOs in the media, the future of electronic communication, etc. The authors that contributed to the magazine are working journalists and editors. The magazine was published with the support of IREX.

CELEBRATION OF FOREIGN EDITION OF “TEMA”

“Tema Shqiptare” is the edition published in the U.S. from three months now of daily Tirana-based “Tema.” The representatives of these newspapers hosted a reception on September 20, in order to celebrate this new publication. This 24-pages edition is aimed at Albanian community living in the U.S. Well-known politicians, journalists, media experts, members of civil society and representatives of international bodies attended the reception.


AMI NEWSLETTER, October 2004


“REPORTERS SANS FRONTIERES” PUBLISHES WORLD PRESS FREEDOM RANKING

“Reporters sans Frontieres” (RSF) published this month the Third World Press Freedom Ranking. RSF’s ranking for the period September 2003-September 2004 included 167 countries.
In RSF’s ranking Albania is 50th, compared to 34th position it held last year. The freedom coefficient deteriorated from 6 to 11,50. This deterioration is mainly due to the incident between the ex-Minister of Public Order with a journalist and to a secret gag order that violated the consitution, issued and then revoked by the Prime Minister before the court hearing could take place.
In general the first positions are held by EU members, mainly from Northern Europe. The new EU members also have enjoyed a satisfactory degree of press freedom, with Slovakia sharing the first positions with five other old EU members and Switzerland, among others. On the other hand, Russia and Central Asia lag behind in this ranking.

PRESENTATION OF THE AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW ON DEFAMATION

The amendments to the law on defamation were presented to a group of mempers of Parliament on October 12. These amendments resulted from two previous round tables. In these discussions the media lawyers, media experts, and the Parliamentary Commision onone hand, and the journalists from the other, had the chance to give their inpout on the potential amendments needed for the law on defamation. In the final round table the members of Parliament agreed in principle on every article and the amendments made to the law. These amendments will be introduced to the Parliament as a bill. Both the Penal Code and the Civil Code contain articles on defamation and slander that are considered regressive in the framework of the freedom of expression. While neighboring countries have improved this aspect of their legislation, Albania is lagging behind, as underlined in the annual report issued by the European Commission. These discussions are a joint initiative of the Albanian Media Institute and the Justice Initiative in New York, with the support of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

DEUTSCHE WELLE ANNUAL RADIO TRAINING

Deutsche Welle held its annual training for radio journalists at the Albanian Media Institute with the participation of fourteen 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 tenth year in a row.

TEAM REPORTING ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on October 11-16, with the participation of three television crews, including the public television TVSH, the national private TVA, and Vizion +. The crews produced a 30-minute program that will be broadcast by these televisions. The program focused on environmental issues, a highly sensitive topic at the moment, more specifically on the alarming level of pollution in the capital and other big cities. The participants worked in teams and traveled to the affected areas to be able to report on them. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project is a cooperation of Albanian Media Institute with the Guardian Foundation and the United Nations Environment Program. A similar course took place in June 2003 and March 2004.

REPORTING ON NATO

The sixth week of the series of seminars of reporting on international affairs took place at the Albanian Media Institute on October 14-15, with the participation of international affairs reporters, from both print and electronic media. This seminar focused on the role and functions of NATO. The first lecturer was Spiro Koçi, director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who focused mainly on the evolution of NATO in the last fifteen years. He also addressed extensively the relations of Albania with NATO, presenting both the official position of Albanian government as well as his own personal opinion.
The second lecturer was Arjan Starova, ex- Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the Transatlantic Association. He talked on the role of NATO as an advocate of Euro-Atlantic values, on NATO expansion and the criteria to be met for membership, as well as on the growth of its military capability. After dwelling on the concepts of “defence” and “security” the lecturer focused on the distinctions between these two concepts. These seminars will continue with other issues and are organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

TEAM REPORTING ON CIVIL SOCIETY

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on October 18-22, with the participation of eight journalists from some Albanian dailies. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in daily “Panorama.” The supplement focused on issues of civil society and the coverage of this topic in the Albanian media. The participants worked as a team and covered different stories addressing topics related to civil society, such as the transition of the civil society in Albania, the philosophical notion of civil society, and the practical role of civil society in Albania. The journalists also enriched their background on these issues by the lectures of different experts, including Genc Ruli, head of the Institute of Contemporary Studies, Artan Fuga, philosopher and analyst, and Kreshnik Spahia, director of the Citizens’ Advocacy Office. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project was supported by Press Now and organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

THIRD FORUM OF MEDIA AND CITIZENS

The third forum between media and citizens took place in Vlora on October 15, with the participation of local media reporters, representatives of the civil society, and the academia. The main aim of this series of meetings is to bring the media closer to the citizen, and vice-versa. The discussions focus on local media coverage of the problems of the community and the way that it can raise awareness among and for the community. The main lecturers were well-known journalists and analysts Besnik Mustafaj, Prec Zogaj, Zamir Alushi, and Remzi Lani. The other similar fora took place in Shkodra and Elbasan. These meetings will go on in other cities and training courses will follow. This project is implemented by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

ROUND TABLE ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION LAW

A round table on access to information law and the right to information took place in Shkodra in Northern Albania on October 26, with the participation of local journalists from both print and electronic media. The main aim of the round table was to know and discuss on the access to information law and its implementation in Albania. Lecturer was Ilir Aliaj of the Center for the Development and Democratization of Institutions, who focused on the international standards of access to information and particularly on the Albanian law. His lecture followed with the practical implementation of this law in the country and especially on the relevance this law has for the journalists. The participants shared their experience and brought specific examples with regard to the implementation of this law. This activity was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Swedish Helsinki Committee.

SECOND TRAINING COURSE ON LOCAL MEDIA COVERAGE

The second course on the community coverage of local media took place in Vlora on October 18-20, with the participation of 12 journalists from the local media outlets and the spokespersons of public administration. The main aim of this series of courses is to bring the media closer to the citizen, and vice-versa. The training focused on local media coverage of the problems of the community and the way that it can raise awareness among and for the community. The lecturer was Aleksander Furrxhi, BBC correspondent. He focused on relevant topics for local media and their relation to community, such as the notion of local journalist, news accuracy, objectivity, and balance, the impact of local media on the community, etc. The course was a constant combination of theory with practical analysis and work, such as discussion of local TVs’ news editions, work division in a newsroom, journalists’ relations with the local government, etc. The course followed the forum held in this city, and the same format will take place in other cities in the country. This project is implemented by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

REPORTING ON U.S.A.

The seventh week of the series of seminars of reporting on international affairs took place at the Albanian Media Institute on October 28-29, with the participation of international affairs reporters, from both print and electronic media. This seminar focused on the role of U.S.A. and on how to report on it in view of the coming elections. The first lecturer was Mimoza Kondo, director of the U.S. section at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who focused mainly on the history of U.S. elections, and particularly on this elections campaign. The campaign focused mainly on topics such as Middle East, Iraq, and U.S. relations with EU and NATO. The lecturer also focused on the U.S. role in the world and its foreign policy aims.
The second lecturer was Albert Rakipi, head of the Institute of International Studies. He conveyed a brief overview of American foreign policy around the world, focusing on new angles this policy has taken after September 11. The lecturer also tackled the U.S. role in the Balkans, especially int he case of Kosovo. These seminars will continue with other issues and are organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

MANUAL ON INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

A manual on investigative journalism is the latest publication in the journalism area, titled “Investigative Journalism: The code of investigative journalism.” The aim of this booklet is to bring the perspective of investigative journalism in Albanian media, a practice that is not widespread for different reasons. The manual brings together a series of investigative articles on different topics, such as corruption, communication fraud, construction fraud, etc. The publication also contains a code of investigative journalism, a glossary, as well as a guide on knowing and implementing the law of access to information. The publication is the contribution of well-known journalists and young reporters, and was supported by the “Commission for Democracy” program of the U.S. Embassy.

TVSH SIGNAL INTERRUPTED AS A WARNING

The signal of TVSH, the public broadcaster, was interrupted for five minutes on October 22 by the management of Hotel Tirana, a recently privatized hotel. TVSH has had an office in this hotel for years, which hosted signal transmitters. Upon privatization of this hotel, the new management asked that TVSH pay a rent for the office it occupied. After several attempts to negotiate, which did not result in any agreement, the management resorted to this warning, notifying that if the situation does not change, other, longer, interruptions might follow, in spite of the TVSH protest.

TRAINING ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION

A training seminar for public servants and journalists on access to official documents took place in Tirana on October 14. The seminar included an introduction of the legal framework on this topic and then comparing it to the CE standards in this field. Afterwards the speakers passed on to more specific examples, such as the practice of access to information in Belgium, in Bulgaria, and finally in Albania. The discussions evolved around points to improve in the Albanian legislation and its implementation. The seminar was organized by the Council of Europe.

PUBLICATION OF NCRT BULLETIN

The eighth issue of “Antena,” the bulletin published by the Council of Complaints at the National Council of Radios and Televisions came out in September. The main aim of this publication is to tackle on ethical issues of relevance to the situation in the country and bring other experiences from the ethical point of view. In this context, this issue contains the complete BBC Code of Ethics in an attempt to further document the ethical and moral standards practiced in journalism all over the world. Moreover, the Council of Complaints has insisted that the drafting of a code of ethics by every electronic media should be put as a requirement for licensing.

LOCAL BRANCH OF PUBLIC BROADCASTERS CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY

Radio Kukesi, a loal branch of the public broadcaster Radio Tirana, celebrated its 45th anniversary on October 16. Local journalists and contributors, as well as representatives of the public broadcaster in the capital took place in the event, which included the introduction of a museum on this radio’s services through the years.


AMI NEWSLETTER, November 2004


PUBLISHER AND MP HOLDS ON TO HIS IMMUNITY

Nikolle Lesi, member of Parliament and publisher of daily “Koha Jone,” retained his immunity after the Parliament voted against the effort to abolish it on November 8. out of 137 members of parliament present in the session, 70 of them voted against the proposal to abolish Lesi’s immunity, 62 were in favor, and five abstained. The Supreme Court had requested the Parliament to relieve Lesi of his immunity so that he could be prosecuted for defamation in articles he published in his daily paper. Lesi was sued for defamation and libel by Prime Minister Nano’s wife, who claimed that some articles published in “Koha Jone” damaged her personality. In her May lawsuit she maintained that Lesi had engaged in a defamatory campaign against her for a year at that time, with the aim of denigrating her personality in the eyes of the public opinion.

TEAM TRAINING ON COURT REPORTING

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on November 8-12, with the participation of eight journalists from some Albanian dailies. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in daily “Ballkan.” The supplement focused on issues of court and justice reporting and the coverage of this topic in the Albanian media. The participants worked as a team and covered different stories addressing topics related to courts and judicial system, such as corruption and incompetence in the judicial, Albanian cases brought before European Court of Human Rights, cases of Albanian citizens judged abroad, etc. The journalists also enriched their background on these issues by the lectures of different experts, including Ledio Bianku, director of European Center, University of Tirana, Gent Ibrahimi, head of the Institute of Public and Policy Studies, and Xhezair Zaganjori, lecturer at the School of Magistrates. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project was supported by Swedish Helsinki Committee and organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

ROUND TABLE ON ACCESS TO INFORMATION LAW

A round table on access to information law and the right to information took place in Gjirokastra in Southern Albania on November 11, with the participation of local journalists from both print and electronic media. The main aim of the round table was to know and discuss on the access to information law and its implementation in Albania. Lecturers were Ilir Aliaj of the Center for the Development and Democratization of Institutions and Henri Cili, professor at the Department of Journalism, University of Tirana. They focused on the international standards of access to information and particularly on the Albanian law. The lecture followed with the practical implementation of this law in the country and especially on the relevance this law has for the journalists. The participants shared their experience and brought specific examples with regard to the implementation of this law. This activity was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Swedish Helsinki Committee.

REPORTING MIDDLE EAST

The eighth week of the series of seminars of reporting on international affairs took place at the Albanian Media Institute on November 4-5, with the participation of international affairs reporters, from both print and electronic media. This seminar focused on the Middle East. The first lecturer was Bardhyl Cani, expert on the Middle East, who focused on a history of Middle East and its future in view of recent events. He gave a brief historical account of Middle East, including a geopolitical review of the region, and followed with the main political issues stemming from Middle East at the moment, such as the case of Arafat, the plan of Israelian withdrawal, and the impact of American elections’ outcome for the Middle East affairs.
The second lecturer was Remzi Lani, analyst of current affairs. In his presentation he focused on the death of Arafat and the expectations for developments in the region and in the peace process, Bush’s second mandate and its potential implications for the Middle East, Sharon’s personality and his influence on Israel’s policy, etc. These seminars will continue with other issues and are organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

FOURTH FORUM OF MEDIA AND CITIZENS

The fourth forum between media and citizens took place in Tirana on November 18, with the participation of local media reporters, representatives of the civil society, and the academia. The main aim of this series of meetings is to bring the media closer to the citizen, and vice-versa. The discussions focus on local media coverage of the problems of the community and the way that it can raise awareness among and for the community. The main lecturers were well-known journalists and analysts such as Henri Cili, Alfred Peza, Robert Rakipllari, and Remzi Lani. The other similar fora took place in Shkodra, Elbasan, and Vlora. These meetings will go on in other cities and training courses will follow. This project is implemented by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

FOURTH TRAINING COURSE ON LOCAL MEDIA

The fourth course on coverage of local media took place in Tirana on November 22-24, with the participation of 16 young reporters from the local media. The main aim of this series of courses is to bring the media closer to the citizen, and vice-versa. The training focused on enabling journalists to use the latest techniques of online journalism and Internet. The lecturer was Mitrulla Thodhori, responsible for IT at the Albanian Media Institute. She focused on using internet explorer as a source for reporting, introducing several search engines and information sites of relevance to journalists’ work. The course was a constant combination of theory with practiceand it followed the forum held in this city, and the same format will take place in other cities in the country. This project is implemented by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

REPORTING ON THE BALKANS

The ninth week of the series of seminars of reporting on international affairs took place at the Albanian Media Institute on November 24-25, with the participation of international affairs reporters, from both print and electronic media. This seminar focused on the Middle East. The first lecturer was Remzi Lani, analyst of current affairs. He presented a brief historical account of Balkan history and relations between Balkan countries, focusing on the late dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the war that followed. The lecture followed with the present development in the Balkans, such as post-communism, post-conflict era and globalization, focusing as well on the important agreements that have shaped the future in the region, such as those of Dayton, Ramboullet, and Ohrid.
The second lecturer was Paskal Milo, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his presentation he addressed the current positions of each Balkan country with regard to European integration. He focused especially on two hot spots, such as Kosovo and Macedonia, addressing such issues as the elections in Kosovo and the implementation of the Ohrid agreement in Macedonia. These seminars will continue with other issues and are organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

CONFERENCE ON REPORTING MINORITIES

A conference with the topic of “Reporting on minorities and hate speech” took place in Tirana on November 19-20, with the participation of editors-in-chief, media executives and journalists of Vlachian media from South Eastern Europe. The conference brought together the experience of all countries in the region with regard to Vlachians, including such perspectives as reporting of majority media on minorities and differences in Croatia, Bulgaria, and Albania, explored the possibilities for cooperation of Vlachian media in the region and the financial situation of Vlachian media and minority media. The conference was hosted by Albanian Media Institute and organized by South East Europe Media Organization, with the support of Austrian Cooperation.

TEAM TRAINING ON REPORTING TERRORISM

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on November 16-20, with the participation of eight journalists from some Albanian dailies. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in daily “Tema.” The participants worked as a team and covered different stories addressing topics related to terrorism, such as the ethical dilemmas on terrorism, how terrorism affects Albania, the anti-terrorism coalition, coverage of terrorism by Albanian media, etc. The journalists also enriched their background on these issues by the lectures of different experts, including Roland Bimo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alfred Peza, editor-in-chief of daily “Korrieri,” and Rexhep Mejdani, ex-President of Albania. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project was supported by Press Now and organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

SEMINAR ON MEDIA POLICY AND EUROPEAN STANDARDS

“Media policy in Albania and European standards” was the topic of the round table organized on November 10 at the Albanian Media Institute with the participation of journalists from print and electronic media, as well as spokespersons of several institutions. The round table aimed to address the range of problems affecting Albanian media, especially the ones that need to be addressed in order to fulfill the standards for European integration. More precisely, the relevant standards in this aspect are related to freedom of expression, media legislation, media ownership transparency, conflicts of interests, media’s relations with politics and business, etc. The lecturers included members from the Parliamentary Media Committee, members from the Albanian Media Institute and IREX. The round table was organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

TRAINING WORKSHOP ON DEFAMATION

A training workshop on defamation for media lawyers took place in Tirana on November 24-25, with the participation of lawyers dealing with media cases. The workshop aimed to deal with the notion of defamation in the Albanian context and compare it to European and regional experience, in view of the eventual harmonization of Albanian legislation with European law. The lecturers included Remzi Lani, director of the Albanian Media Institute, who presented an overview of the relevant Albanian legislation such as defamation provisions, including the proposed amendments in this regard. Willem Korthals Altes, judge and media law expert, presented the European experience by focusing on Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and case law from the European Court. Slobodan Kremenjak, attorney at law, presented the experience of Serbia in applying the European Court of Human Rights principles in national courts. The course involved the lawyers in practical work by analyzing different articles in Albanian press through the lense of defamation and the potential implications and outcomes they might have. The workshop was organized by Article 19 and Center for Development and Democratisation of Institutions, funded by the German government in the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.

MEDIA AND GENDER PRESENTATION

A presentation on the projects and publications related to media and gender equality took place on November 16 in Tirana, with the participation of journalists, civil society representatives, etc. The two publications presented were entitled “Media and gender equality” and “Sensibility of print media towards gender issues in Albania.” These booklets addressed sensitive issues related to gender issues and especially the media coverage they receive. The publications were produced in the framework of the project “Promoting gender equality through the media,” implemented by the Gender Alliance for Development and supported by the US Embassy.


AMI NEWSLETTER, December 2004


The following is a selection of news on media events and developments until this moment. The Albanian Media Institute will be closed for holidays from December 23 and will resume work on January 5. We wish you all a nice holiday season!

NEW CHAIR OF NCRT ELECTED

The Parliament elected Halil Lalaj as the new chairman of National Council of Radios and Televisions (NCRT) on December 7. NCRt had operated without a chair since July, when the then-chairman resigned one year before his mandate terminated. Lalaj has vowed to fight piracy, which has spread again in some television stations after the emergence of digital televisions in July. The terrestrial televisions practicing piracy claimed that they were acting this way in protest to the new digital televisions which were also broadcasting programs without any copyright and moreover charged the viewers for that. The regulatory authority stated they lacked the authority to act, as there was no law on digital operators. The bill on digital television is at the moment being reviewed by the respective parliamentary commissions.

ROUND TABLE ON MEDIA OWNERSHIP AND TRANSPARENCY

A round table on media ownership and transparency, and its impact on freedom of expression and media pluralism took place in Tirana on December 10, with the participation of media owners, editors, and journalists from print and electronic media in the country, representatives from the regulatory authority, the Parliamentary Commission on Media, civil society organizations, media experts, etc. The round table focused on the issue of media ownership and its transparency comparing the legislation and practice in the EU, Balkans, and especially Albania.
David Ward, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Westminster, London, focused on the principles and standards of the Council of Europe in promoting media transparency and pluralism, with particular attention to television concentration in the EU and the regulatory approaches of the member states and the European Commission. Zrinjka Perusko, Head of the Department for Culture and Communication, Institute for International Relations, Zagreb, addressed the topic of media concentration in Southeast Europe, its trends in regulation and policy. Zef Preci, director of the Authority on Competition, Argita Shkupi from the National Council of Radios and Televisions, and Ilda Londo and Mirela Shuteriqi from the Albanian Media Institute focused on the specific situation in Albania, legislation on this issue, policy, and its implementation and trends. This round table was organized by the Albanian Media Insitute and supported by the Council of Europe in the framework of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe.

REPORTING EUROPE

The tenth week of the series of seminars of reporting on international affairs took place at the Albanian Media Institute on December 2-3, with the participation of international affairs reporters, from both print and electronic media. This seminar focused on Europe. The first lecturer was Ylljet Alickaj, expert from the Delegation of the European Commission, who focused on the main issues related to the European Union. He lectured on the philosophy of functioning of the union of European countries, on the European identity and the entertwinement of national identities. After giving a brief historical account of the EU, he addressed the main documents and events that have made its history, such as the Treaty of Mastricht, the European Constitution, the basic structures of EU, and finally focusing on Albania’s prospective integration into EU.
The second lecturer was Genc Ruli, director of the Institute of Contemporary Studies. In his presentation he focused on the reports issued by the European Union in general, the Associaion Stabilization Agreement, its clauses and the process itself. Ruli also focused on the trade agreements, touching upon the issue of regional integration, which then determines the prospect for Europan integration, as well. These seminars will continue with other issues and are organized by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

ROMA AND MEDIA-CHANGING PREJUDICES

Roma leaders and human rights activists from non-governmental organisations met from 16-18 December at the Albanian Media Institute, and looked at ways to improve the image of Roma in Albanian society through media. The twenty participants were trained in techniques meant to help effective communication with media. The aim of the event was to teach Roma leaders needed skills meant to improve the interaction between media and Roma communities with the purpose to reduce prejudices and build bridges among the majority and minority communities in Albania.
The three-day workshop offered both theoretical and practical training. Media strategies focused on Roma and deconstruction of negative stereotypes often associated with this community as well as hands-on exercises on press releases, interviews and press conferences were the main topics of the seminar. Valeriu Nicolae, director of European Roma Information Office in Brussels and advisor to the European Commission, was the main trainer. The Albanian Media Institute, together with Media Diversity Institute, London, organized the workshop. The workshop is part of the comprehensive Media Diversity Institute’s two-year project "Seeing the Roma Without Prejudice" to be implemented in five countries: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia & Montenegro.

TEAM TRAINING ON REPORTING EDUCATION

A team reporting training took place at the Albanian Media Institute on December 6-10, with the participation of eight journalists from some Albanian dailies. The reporters produced a supplement that was published in daily “Albania.” The participants worked as a team and covered different stories addressing topics related to education, such as the law on decentralization of education, the process of Bologne and its implementation in Albania, autonomy of universities, reform in the education, quality of teaching in Albanian school system, etc. The journalists also enriched their background on these issues by the lectures of different experts, including Genc Ruli from the Institute of Contemporary Studies, Gramoz Pashko from the New York University in Tirana, and Stavri Llambiri from the Pedagogical Institute. Each report was discussed and edited in team, in order to have a final product that was informing and satisfactory to many. This project was supported by Press Now and organized by the Albanian Media Institute.

REPORTING TERRORISM

The eleventh week of the series of seminars of reporting on international affairs took place at the Albanian Media Institute on December 12-13, with the participation of international affairs reporters, from both print and electronic media. This seminar focused on terrorism. The first lecturer was Rexhep Mejdani, ex-President of Albania, who focused on terrorism as a dangerous global phenomenon, analyzing the sources that feed it, like money laundering, illegal trafficking of arms, drugs, and human beings, as well as its areas of activity, like economy, politics, and culture. After addressing the elements that favour terrorism, Mejdani focused on the kinds of terrorism, like territorial, ideologic, anti-colonial, economic, etc.
The second lecturer was Ledio Bianku, director of the European Center. He gave an account of terrorism from the perspective of international law, focusing on such aspects as the instruments of international law as a struggle against terrorism and the continuous amendments made accordingly. After addressing the kinds of terrorism from the historic point of view, he provided some definitions of terrorism from the legislations of different European countries and the USA. This was the concluding seminar from the series of seminars that aimed to train journalists from both print and electronic media on better reporting skills and knowledge of international issues. This project was implemented by the Albanian Media Institute and supported by the U.S. Embassy.

REGIONAL SUMMIT ON INTER-ETHNIC DIALOGUE

The South-East European Summit on Inter-Ethnic Dialogue took place in Tirana on December 9-10. The aim of this summit was to discuss on ways to develop inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue, considering its importance for the stability and progress of South-East Europe. This summit took place under the auspices of the President of Albania, Alfred Moisiu, and the Director General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura. The summit was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Academy of Sciences, General Directory of Archives, the Albanian Media Institute, the Book and Communication House, and the Albanian Center for Human Rights.

ROUND TABLE ON THE FUTURE OF WESTERN BALKANS

“The future of Western Balkans” was the topic of a political forum that ook place in December 8 in Tirana, with the participation of representatives from the Albanian government, civil society organizations from Albania and abroad, political analysts, etc. The lecturers were Kastriot Islami, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who focused on Albania’s contribution in stability in the region, Remzi Lani, director of the Albanian Media Institute, who addressed the issue of the transition of Balkans, Wolf Preuss, advisor of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, that focused on Kosovo’s road to Europe, and Albert Rakipi, director of the Institute for International Studies, whose topic of discussion was “Democratization and Integration: Re-examining the local and international challenges.” This forum was organized by the Institute for International Studies, the Albanian Media Institute, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, supported by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

PUBLICATION ON PUBLIC RELATIONS IN ALBANIA

“Public relations” by Agim Neza, spokesman at the General Prosecutor Office, is the title of the latest publication by the Albanian Media Institute. This book is the first Albanian experience in the public relations area and deals with a series of aspects of the work of a spokesperson or public relations official, ranging from a definition of the public relations and its specific nature in Albania, the press office and manners to handle it efficiently, press releases and press conferences, activity planning, basic skills for communication, interviews, debates, crisis management, etc. Based on his extensive experience, the author has provided the view of public relations on Albania as general guidelines for persons working in the public relations area.

FIRST PRIVATE TV CELEBRATES 9TH ANNIVERSARY

Shijak TV, a Tirana-based local TV, celebrated its 9th anniversary on December 15. 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 RADIO NETWORK ESTABLISHED

Press Now has undertaken an extensive project that aims to establish a permanent network of local radios in Albania in order to further strengthen and consolidate the local media in the country. So far the network consists of seven radios that exchange information, news, and advertisement among each other. This project, started one year ago, has entered its second stage, which consists in further training of local radios on their way to self-sustainability. In this context, Jack Crowes, a consultant for Press Now, held training and advisory sessions with the advertisement and sales managers in the radios that make up the network. This project for the support of local radios and their network will continue next year, too.

2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002