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Newsletters Archive
AMI Newsletters             2010

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

AMI NEWSLETTER - January 2010


TRAINING COURSE ON WEB DESIGNING PRINCIPLES

A training course on web designing principles was organized on January 11-15 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of journalists from both print and electronic media. The main aim of this course was to introduce the journalists to the essential elements that make for a well-designed webpage. The lecturer covered during the course such elements as layout of the webpage, use of colour and animation elements, understanding navigation, accessibility to the public, archive building, use of visually attractive elements, reader-friendly methods in navigation, etc.

The main topics of the course included: critique of different sites from the navigator’s point of view; identifying the strengths and limitations of the web medium; explaining the difference between style and design in a webpage; defining the target audience and tailoring content and presentation to the audience needs, polling the audience on the website progress, etc.  The lecturer and journalists also analyzed several media websites and blogs from the technical point of view. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of European Union.

DAILY “TEMA” NEWSPAPER CEASES ITS PUBLICATION

Daily newspaper “Tema” ceased its publication on January 26, claiming that it can no longer withstand government pressure and economic hardship that derives from the newspaper’s criticism against the government. This act prompted a statement from the four main journalists’ associations in the country, which expressed their sorrow and concern for the closure of one of the main newspapers in the country. These associations regarded the closure of this newspaper as a clear sign of diminishing press freedom, expressing their concern over the situations.

The staff of daily Tema newspaper was evicted from their newsroom last January, after a decision by the Ministry of Economical Affairs to cancel the newspaper's 20-year-old contract for the premises. A lawsuit issued by TemA followed and the Court of Tirana decided in favor of the newspaper. However, the court decision was not executed until this point.

TRAINING COURSES ON REPORTING GENDER AND ETHICAL MEDIA ASPECTS

In the framework of a project aiming to train journalists on reporting on gender and various ethical aspects of reporting, three other training courses were organized in Burrel, Gjirokaster, and Vlora on January 13-14, 21-22, and 28-29, respectively. Participants were local journalists and editors. The main aim of the courses was to raise awareness on the main issues related to gender and the ways media should report on them, as well as to discuss the main ethical aspects to be considered in media reporting. The lecturer discussed with the participants aspects such as the definition of gender equality, the Albanian legal framework on gender equality, the Electoral Code on gender aspects, the law on gender equality, the law on domestic violence, etc. Specific attention was paid to gender representation in the media at all levels, as well as to the gender stereotypes and their role in the media coverage.

With regard to ethical aspects of media coverage, the lecturer introduced the participants to the basic professional and ethical standards in reporting, discussing with them the main factors that affect implementation of ethics in the newsroom. Professional standards such as accuracy, objectivity, verification of facts, language used, and accountability, were used and discussed in examples from everyday work of journalists. These courses were organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of One UN.

ALBANIAN TV HOST RECEIVES CO-PLAN AWARD

Rezar Xhaxhiu, TV journalist and host of a daily program in Vizion Plus TV, received the “Albanian Leadership” Award for 2009 in the field of media and press. This award was given by Co-PLAN, Institute for Habitat Development, for the sixth year in a row. This award aims at the recognition of professional values and achievements of different individuals, who through their work have served as positive models for the society at large and have brought innovation in governance and have continuously displayed great professional and ethical standards. The event of distribution of awards was organized on 15th January, with the participation of state officials and other personalities of Albanian society.


AMI NEWSLETTER - February 2010


TRAINING COURSE ON ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR DIGITAL JOURNALIST

A training course aiming to provide reporters with the basic skills needed in the digital era was organized on February 1-5 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of reporters and photojournalists, from the main news agency in the country and other print and electronic media. This course focused on introducing the participants to the essential skills needed in journalism's digital age, such as mastering the basics of audio, video and other multimedia tools. Apart from these key skills and usage of basic equipment, journalists also discussed the ethical dilemmas and problems that emerged with the increasing use of technology in the media. Significant attention was also paid to the way that storytelling changes and should be adapted with the acquisition of new skills and use of new equipment for reporters. The main aspects addressed during the course included multimedia skills, including audio and video; how to recognize and negotiate the ethical issues specific to multimedia; what it takes to survive and thrive in a constantly changing landscape; how and why you need to build your brand as a journalist; adopting the skills learned to the overall vision and philosophy of the media outlet, etc. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the European Union.

ROUNDTABLE ON COVERAGE OF SOCIAL ISSUES

A roundtable on coverage of social issues in print media was organized on February 26, with the participation of reporters and editors from mainstream media and civil society representatives. This roundtable marked the completion of a project that consisted in the monitoring of several social issues in mainstream print media, such as poverty, education, and health. Based on conclusions from these monitoring reports, as well as on complimentary research, the participants were introduced to the findings and suggestions of a policy paper on improving social issues coverage in the media. The roundtable discussion tackled such aspects as the lack of priority to social issues in the media, the occasional politicization of these topics, the absence of alternative sources of information apart from official sources, the practice of sufficient coverage of news and insufficient analysis of the phenomena, etc. The participants also discussed their own challenges within the newsrooms or in communication with other actors when reporting on these important topics. This roundtabled marked the completion of a project on improving social issues in the media, implemented by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Open Society Foundation, Albania.

TRAINING COURSE ON REPORTING GENDER AND ETHICAL MEDIA ASPECTS

In the framework of a project aiming to train journalists on reporting on gender and various ethical aspects of reporting, the final training course was organized in Korca on February 3-4. Participants were local journalists and editors. The main aim of the course was to raise awareness on the main issues related to gender and the ways media should report on them, as well as to discuss the main ethical aspects to be considered in media reporting. The lecturer discussed with the participants aspects such as the definition of gender equality, the Albanian legal framework on gender equality, the Electoral Code on gender aspects, the law on gender equality, the law on domestic violence, etc. Specific attention was paid to gender representation in the media at all levels, as well as to the gender stereotypes and their role in the media coverage.

With regard to ethical aspects of media coverage, the lecturer introduced the participants to the basic professional and ethical standards in reporting, discussing with them the main factors that affect implementation of ethics in the newsroom. Professional standards such as accuracy, objectivity, verification of facts, language used, and accountability, were used and discussed in examples from everyday work of journalists. This course was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of One UN.

TRAINING COURSE ON INTERNET ETHICS

A training course on Internet ethics was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on February 15-18, with the participation of 15 journalists from both print and electronic media. The course addressed elements such as accuracy, diversity, taste, decency, privacy, etc., and specific cases that addressed ethical dilemmas when writing for the web. Copyright infringmenet seen in the ethical prism was also addressed during the course, along with plagiarism and piracy. Specific attention was also paid to verval violence and hate speech in online communication, along with ways to curb them. The lecturer devoted one of the days to the topic of ethics in photography in digital age, discussing with participants several cases of digital photo manipulation, the ethical dilemmas and ramifications, as well as the problems with this aspect with the widespread use of technology, available not just to journalists, but to everyone. This course was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.

ROUNDTABLE ON QUESTIONNAIRE ON EU INTEGRATION

A roundtable on Albanian questionnaire on EU integration was organized on February 19, with the participation of journalists and editors from mainstream media. Key speakers were Ilda Zhulali, Director of European Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, and Gjergji Vurmo, of the Institute for Democracy and Mediation. The main aim of this roundtable was to brief journalists on the main issues involved in the completion of the questionnaire on EU integration from the Albanian government. The journalists were introduced to the main chapters of the questionnaire, the actors responsible for filling the questionnaire, the coordination efforts, the next steps that needed to be taken once the questionnaire was filled, the potential scenarios, their ramification for Albanian integration, etc. This roundtable was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. 

BRIEFING ALBANIAN MEDIA ON STATUS OF EU INTEGRATION

A briefing that aimed to introduce Albanian media representatives on the status of Albania’s EU integration was organized in Tirana on February 8, with the participation of journalists from both print and electronic media. Key speakers informed the journalists on the status of the Albanian integration to EU from the government’s perspective, on the economic and financial consequences and economic “dreams” of the EU integration, the challenges and opportunities this proces represents from an EU founding member’s perspective, the impact and role of EU representation in Albania, the role of EU-funded projects in fighting corruption, and the way media deals with EU related issues. This briefing session was organized by DW Akademie, with the support of EU.


AMI NEWSLETTER - March 2010


US STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT ADDRESSES MEDIA FREEDOM

The annual Human Rights Report of the US State Department on Albania concluded that while the government generally respected the freedom of speech and the press, there were reports that the government and businesses exerted covert pressure on the media. Stating that the media were active and largely unrestrained, the report pointed out that there were serious problems with the misuse of the media for political purposes. These problems worsened during and after the election campaign, with most media outlets showing clear bias towards the two largest political parties. The public Albanian Radio and Television remained under strict government control in its editorial line, according to the report.

There were cases of direct and indirect government pressure on the media, including direct threats against journalists. Journalists reported that they practiced extensive self-censorship. However, the report states that the investigative role of the media continued to increase.

The report points out that although the law punishes libel with a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine, there were no libel suits against reporters. However, various forms of media intimidation continued. Journalists continued to complain that publishers and editors censored their work, either directly or indirectly in response to political and commercial pressures. Many journalists complained that their lack of employment contracts frequently hindered their ability to report objectively.

TRAINING COURSE ON BLOGGING

A training course on blogging as a new way of doing journalism was organized at the Albanian Media Instituteon March 8-12, with the participation of fifteen journalists from mainstream media. The course focused on topics such as blogs, the media and society, specific features of blogging, blogging as a way of doing journalism, and ways of establishing a blog. More specifically, the participants became familiar with the history of blogging, the search engines for blogs, the specific elements of a media blog, the role of commentaries in blogging, etc. The lecturer discussed in detail blogging as a new space in political communication, the role of blogging in democracy and in authoritarian societies, etc. The participants were presented to the different formats in blogging, by analyzing different examples. Specific attention in this regard was paid to media-related blogging, focusing on the question whether blogging can qualify as journalism. Finally, the participants pracised ways and tools of creating a blog of their own. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the European Union.

TRAINING COURSE ON OPINION POLLS REPORTING

A training course on reporting of opinion polls was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on March 16-19, with the participation of journalists from print and electronic media. Given the recently introduced practice of conducting opinion polls, especially related to elections, the aim of the course was to train journalists on how to improve their reporting skills on opinion polls. For this purpose, the journalists were introduced to the main principles of conducting opinion polls, the different methodologies employed for these polls, reporting on polls having in mind the sample and margin of error, continuous polls as opposed to special polls, interviewing methods and their respective advantages and disadvantages, etc. In addition, participants were introduced to the main aspects to have in mind when reporting on polls, such as full coverage of opinion polls as compared to partial, only-results coverage, conveying the results in a public-friendly manner, safeguarding objectivity and professionalism vis-à-vis political interference and interests, debates on opinion polls reporting, etc. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.

ROUNDTABLE ON GLOBALIZATION AND DIGITALIZATION

A roundtable on globalization and digitalization was organized at the European University of Tirana on March 30, with the participation of about 45 students. The main aim of the roundtable was to introduce the main trends and current debate on globalization, as well as to raise awareness on the efforts and main points in the process of digital switchover in broadcasting. Adrian Civici, the dean of the university, introduced the students to the main characteristics of globalization as a phenomenon, to the notion of the global village, and its relation to democracy and economy in developing countries. Specific attention was paid to the conflict between national values and global ones, both in economy and culture, outlining the pro and cons of globalization in the current debate. Ilda Londo, research coordinator at the Albanian Media Institute, introduced the participants to the main steps of digital switchover in broadcasting, paying attention to such topics as the fair distribution of licenses, the social dimension of this process, the need for efficiency and fairness from the regulator, the role of the public broadcaster, and the need for a strong public awareness campaign for a smooth switchover. The roundtable went on with discussions and questions by the students on the main trends and problems both in globalization and digitalization and the way they are changing society, media, and communication. This roundtable was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the European Union.

SEMINAR ON THE DEBATE ON EU ENLARGEMENT

A seminar on the ongoing debate on EU enlargement was organized at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of journalists and editors from mainstream media. The main aim of the seminar was to brief the participants on the main topics and positions in EU public opinion in relation to EU enlargement. Speakers were Odeta Barbullushi from European University of Tirana and Gledis Gjipali from European Movement of Albania. The several rounds of enlargement and the finality of this process constituted the main topic, analyzing the different trends and reactions in each case. The changing nature of the EU, the identity crisis and financial crisis that lead to public opinion insecurity, the situation after the Lisbon Treaty, and the difficulties of the Western Balkans countries in state formation were the main aspects discussed by the lecturers. The role of Europe as a gravitation center, as a normative force, and as a transforming force, were also analyzed and discussed with the participants. Finally, the specifics of each Balkan state and their perspective and stance regarding EU integration were also tackled during the seminar. This seminar was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER THREATENED

Ervin Dushi, Shkodra-based investigative reporter of Top Channel TV, was allegedly threatened, when a pack of explosives was left in front of his parents’ house. The police is still investigating the issue, while Dushi said that he had been receiving threatening calls related to his work as a journalist. The local branch of the union of journalists reacted immediately, pointing out at the difficult work conditions in the region of Shkodra. Their statement underlined the lack of protection for journalists, who are targeted because of their work.

MEDIA AWARDED ON THEIR SERVICE TO THE PUBLIC

In the event of a forum organized on the occasion of the international Consumers’ Day on March 15, several awards were distributed to media outlets and representatives for their service to the public in this respect. Klan TV’s newsroom received the prize for the best newsroom attentive to consumers, while this prize for newspapers went to daily “Sot.” TV Scan was proclaimed the TV station closer to consumers, while TVSH, the public broadcaster, was considered the most educating medium vis-à-vis consumers. Top Channel’s “Fiks fare” was awarded the prize of the best investigative program, while the most active radio in the area of consumer protection was Radio Ora. Lorina Mixha from daily “Shqip” was considered the most active journalist in social issues, while the best investigative reporters was proclaimed Denisa Xhoga from TV Scan. The most active talkshow on consumer-related topics was “Puls” of Alsat TV, and “Zone e lire” of Vizion Plus TV was considered to be the show that has mostly contributed to cultural tourism in the country. These awards were distributed by the Office for Consumer Protection, the Ministry of Economy, and the Tirana Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


AMI NEWSLETTER - April 2010


FORUM ON MEDIA AND ECONOMIC CRISIS

A joint Albanian-Italian forum on media in times of economic crisis was organized in Tirana on April 23, with the participation of prominent members of Italian and Albanian media. Key speakers included Giulio Anselmi, President of ANSA, Francesco Angelo Siddi, National Secretary of Italian Press Federation, Domenico Ciancio Sanfilippo, National Advisor to Italian Federation of Publishers and Newspapers, Remzi Lani, director of Albanian Media Institute, Nikolle Lesi, publisher, and Lutfi Dervishi, director of Transparency International Albania. The meeting was opened by greetings of Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Tirana Mayor and opposition leader Edi Rama, and Italian Ambassador Saba D’Elia.

The main aim of the forum was an exchange of experiences and thoughts on media quality and professionalism in both countries and the way this is tested in times of economic crisis. The key topics discussed by the speakers and other persons present included the role of the media in a democracy, professional principles that should always be preserved, the balance between what public wants and what public needs against a commercial background, etc. The Albanian speakers focused on the evolution of Albanian media in the last two decades, pointing out the difficult periods it had experienced, the difficulty of having a career as a journalist, the relations owners-journalists-government, and the arguably upper hand and progress media has over other powers and institutions in the country, such as political parties, courts, etc. This Forum was organized by Italian Embassy in Tirana and La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno.

FREEDOM HOUSE REPORTS ON PRESS FREEDOM

According to annual Freedom of the Press Index, Albania scores 50 points and is a partly-free country for the fourth year in a row. In terms of ranking, the country is 102nd as compared to 101st for 2008. The report states that the general legal climate is not hostile to media development and the media in the country were active and fairly diverse. However, the report points out that there were issues of self-censorship and political or economic pressures placed on journalists. In addition, the report states that the current government continued to put selective pressure, including administrative sanctions and verbal attacks, on opposition-oriented media. In this index, Albania ranks 16th in the region of Central and East Europe and Former Soviet Union out of 28 countries, and is among the last in the Balkans region. 

TRAINING COURSE ON INTERNET ETHICS

A training course on Internet and online journalism ethics was organized on April 7-9 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of journalists from print, electronic and online media. Some of the main topics addressed during this course included the need to apply professional and ethical rules to online content, the difference in ethical violations and filters applied in traditional media as compared to new media, potential abuses with technology and the ramifications for ethics, Internet and invasion of privacy, etc. Specific attention in this regard was also paid to issues related copyright and intellectual property as a separate area that has specific ethical problems. Plagiarism, piracy of computer programs, ethics in e-commerce, deceptive advertising, manipulations in marketing, were other topics that the lecturer addressed. In addition, the participants and lecturer also addressed ethics in online communication, hate speech and verbal violence in online communication, online pornography and violent images, etc. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Civil Rights Defenders.

PUBLIC BROADCASTER CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Albanian public television Televizioni Shqiptar (TVSH) turned 50 on April 29. This day was marked by several celebration events, including a festive meeting, attended by TVSH employees and contributors through the years, as well as other media personalities. This meeting was greeted by current general director Petrit Beci, the deputy chairman of Parliamentary Media Commission Mark Marku, the chairwoman of regulatory authority Endira Bushati, the technical director of RTSH Agron Aranitasi, ex-coordinator of Stability Pact for SEE at RTSH Laslo Kasza, director of daily Agon Frrok Cupi, and Mirela Oktrova, director of TVSH. Some of the topics the speakers addressed included the evolution of audiovisual legislation in the current market, the challenges of public broadcaster in the digitalization era, the importance of the mission of the public broadcaster, and the general evolution of the public broadcaster through the years. RTSH was also awarded a medal by the President of the Republic.

TRAINING COURSE ON ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR DIGITAL JOURNALIST

A training course on essential skills for digital journalist was organized on April 19-23 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of 15 journalists from print, electronic, and online media. The main aim of this course was to introduce the participants to the main skills a journalists need to perform in the current digital era. For this purpose, journalists were introduced to the basic practices and tools in digital journalism, the notion of backpack journalist, mobile journalist, citizen journalism, and the potential trends for the future of journalism. Specific attention was paid to the traits of digital news, its immediate nature, interactivity scale, duplication and refreshing of news, flexibility offered in this format, advantages of digitalization in search archives, etc.

Journalists were also guided through the main steps needed to build and maintain an interactive website, paying specific attention to all elements that make up such a site. In addition, the lecturer paid attention to the main skills and notions to have in mind when dealing with photography, slide show, and multimedia effects, photojournalism, creation of animated slideshows to illustrate a news story, using video in the website, etc. This training course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of European Union.

Conference on Strategy on Digital Broadcasting

Transition to digital broadcasting in Albania was the topic of the conference organized by National Council of Radio and Television and OSCE on April 27. Participants included representatives of the regulatory authority, national and local media outlets, civil society representatives, etc. The main aim of the conference was to gather the final feedback of stakeholders before the strategy on digital switchover is adopted and implemented by the ad hoc commission established for this purpose. Key speakers included Endira Bushati, chairwoman of NCRT, Genc Pollo, Minister of Innovation and Information and Communication Technologies, Mark Marku, deputy chairman of Parliamentary Media Commission, Pirro Koci, director of Technical Department at NCRT, and Katrin Nyman-Metcalf, OSCE expert.

Topics discussed during the conference by participants included the number of national frequencies public broadcaster should have, the manner of transition to digital broadcasting, the concern of already existing digital platforms and how their licensing will be carried out, the role of NCRT as the regulator, etc. In addition, participants gave their opinions of the number of free-to-air channels, must-carry obligations, the prospects of handheld broadcasting in the country, licensing procedures, encrypting manners, degree of regulation needed versus market, free regulation, etc. Specific concerns were raised by the representatives of local TV stations, who claimed that they find it difficult to build and maintain platforms of digital broadcasting, due to high costs and disagreement among competing stations. 

TRAINING COURSE ON COURT REPORTING

A training course on court reporting was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on April 13-16, with the participation of journalists from both print and electronic media. In order to assist their reporting, key speakers from judicial system and relevant NGOs were invited to address these topics: organization of judicial system and all relevant processes and steps, the significant specifics of each court level, including Constitutional Court and the manner of functioning of European Court of Human Rights, etc. Other more specific information was related to access to information rights as prescribed in the law, its manner and degree of implementation, the way it could be used by journalists, and the pending proposals for amending the law. Another topic was related to presumption of innocence as a key principle of the court system and as a key guideline in media reporting on courts. Specific attention was paid to the way that crime and court happenings are reported in the media, identifying the main weaknesses and discussing potential solutions, as well as the different reporting techniques. This project was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of US Embassy.

SEMINAR ON REGIONAL INTEGRATION

A seminar titled “Regional integration in the context of EU integration” was organized on April 26 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of journalists and editors from print and electronic media. Key speakers were Roland Bimo, expert at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Albert Rakipi, director of Albanian Institute of International Studies. Having in mind that EU intergration is the key priority in the country’s foreign policy, the main aim of the seminar was to brief the participants on the country’s policy and positions vis-à-vis other countries in the region and how this affects the EU integration priority. Economic cooperation, commercial exchange, free trade agreements, transport and energy agreements and networks, relations with the state of Kosova, role of Albanian government in other countries with Albanian population, were some of the topics addressed in terms of regional cooperation by the speakers. Specific attention was paid also to the role of the EU in stabilization of the Balkans region, briefing the participants on the main moments, events, and agreements of EU cooperation with and assistance to Balkan countries and Albania in particular. This seminar was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.


AMI NEWSLETTER - May 2010


ALBANIAN PRESIDENT MEETS JOURNALISTS ON PRESS FREEDOM DAY

A meeting with media directors, editors, analysts, journalists, and experts was convened by Albanian president on May 3, the World’s Press Freedom Day. The Albanian President Bamir Topi expressed his thanks and appreciation to journalists and media representatives on their contribution to strengthening of Albanian democracy. In his word, the president appreciated the essential role of the media as the fourth power, but underlined that journalists should enjoy the necessary protection within the media system. At the same time, the president stressed the need for journalists to resist temptations of sensationalism and show respect for privacy. Besides ethical considerations for the media, the President also stated that society should be responsive to media investigations and the need of politicians and institutions to be aware that media freedom is freedom for the society and is an essential cornerstone of democratic development.

TRAINING COURSE ON COMPUTER ASSISTED REPORTING

A training course on computer assisted reporting was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on May 10-14, with the participation of 15 journalists from both print and electronic Tirana-based media. The main aim of the course was to introduce Albanian journalists to the main principles and skills of computer assisted reporting. In this context, the main topics addressed during the course included the main traits of computer assisted reporting, its definitions and priorities, a discussion of the news websites and their classification, while peculiar attention was paid to the characteristics of news written for online media. The lecturers focused on the sources of information when reporting for an online media, the need for accuracy, as well as the ethical aspect involved in this kind of medium. Participants focused extensively on acquiring and practicing the basic skills needed for writing and editing in online journalism. The course is part of a project implemented by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the EU.

SEMINAR ON COURT REPORTING

A seminar on court reporting was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on May 21 and 24, with the participation of crime and court reporters from the mainstream media in the capital. Lecturer was Jerrianne Hayslett, communication expert in court-media relations, author of several publications on this matter, and lecturer at the National Center Donald W. Reynolds for Courts and Media at National Court College in University of Nevada, Rheno. The main objective of the  seminar was to introduce journalists to the manner of knowing the laws and reporting on legal affairs, to know how to cultivate healthy relations with court officials, examine ethical issues in court reporting, and solicit public-interest responses from judicial bodies on media and public needs.

On the second day of the seminar, journalists became familiar with the viewpoints and opinions of a panel of distinguished speakers on court and media relations. The panel included U.S. Ambassador John L. Withers, Prosecutor General Ina Rama, High Council of Justice Deputy Chair Kreshnik Spahiu, and journalist Lutfi Dervishi, and Jerrianne Hayslett. The speakers shared their experience and opinion on challenges and ways to improve media-court relations for the public good from their own positions. They emphasized that both the media and the judiciary need to make changes: courts and prosecutors must be more responsive to the media’s needs and the media must be more professional, insisting on its rights under the law and following established codes of ethics. This seminar was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of US Embassy in Tirana.

TRAINING COURSE ON BLOG ETHICS

A training course on ethics of blogs was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on May 18-20, with the participation of journalists from mainstream media. The trainer started by discussing the role of blogs as a different way of disseminating information, as well as blogging as an additional element in promoting free speech and serving as democratic platform. The lecturer made an analysis of Albanian media websites that have their own forums and blogs. The lecturer and participants focused especially on potential cases of violation of ethics, use of hate speech, open-minded discussion vis-à-vis propaganda, accuracy vis-à-vis gossip, public interest versus sensationalism, etc. The lecturer then introduced Albanian journalists to main principles of blogging as a new form of reporting and debate. The participants became familiar with the main sites which create the best place and services for them, in the way that they can create their own web-blogs. They also focused on and discussed different kinds of blogs, their structure, and the different journalism communities making use of blogging. Participants also discussed how the traditional media, in addition to new media, should or could cope with the ethical problems that emerge from use of technologies and blogging in particular. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Civil Rights Defenders.

TRAINING COURSES ON ANTI-TRAFFICKING REPORTING

Two one-day training courses were organized at the Albanian Media Institute on May 27 and 28, with journalists from electronic and print media, respectively. The main aim of these courses was to raise awareness among journalists on their mission in accurate reporting of anti-trafficking efforts as an obligation to the public. The participants were greeted by Nicoleta Gordano, IOM Chief of Mission in Tirana, Remzi Lani, director of Albanian Media Institute, and Stephen Herbaly, USAID representative. Afterwards, Iva Zajmi, Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs and National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, introduced the journalists to Albanian government efforts in the war against human beings trafficking, while Marjana Meshi, director of the center “Different, but equal,” provided an overview from the civil society viewpoint on the role of the media in the struggle against human beings trafficking, giving specific cases of media coverage. Arben Muka, media expert, and Alban Karapici, deputy chairman of National Council of Radio and Television, provided respectively their observations for print and electronic media coverage of this issue, while Lutfi Dervishi, media expert, discussed with journalists the main provisions of the Code of Ethics and ethical principles in general that journalists should consider when covering these issues. These courses were organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of IOM, USAID, and Ministry of Interior Affairs. 

PUBLIC SHOWING OF DOCUMENTARIES ON CORRUPTION

A public showing of documentaries on corruption was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on May 25, with the participation of journalists, editors, and civil society representatives. The documentaries produced tackled key areas where corruption is felt, such as health and education sectors. The documentaries were introduced by Elvina Jusufaj, director of the Albanian Council on Foreign Relations. The documentaries were facilitated by Albanian Media Institute and the Albanian Council on Foreign Relations, with the support of EU.

BRIEFING SEMINAR ON SCHENGEN VISA LIBERALISATION

A seminar aimed to brief the media on visa liberalisation was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on May 31, with the participation of journalists and editors from mainstream media. Lecturers were Ilda Zhulali, director of the EU Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Blerta Hoxha from European Movement Albania. The speakers briefed the journalists on the whole process of negotiating liberalization of Schengen visas for Albanian citizens, including what visa liberalization means, the four blocks of this process, such as documents’ security, illegal migration, rule of law and public safety, international relations and human rights, the countries that this process covers, and the way this process has been conveyed to the public by politicians and media. The specific steps taken in this regard through the years by the government, the criteria that need to be met and the ones that have been fulfilled, as well as the expectations for the completion of the process and the respective timelines were some of the main topics addressed by lecturers and participants alike. This seminar was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

TRAINING COURSE ON PHOTOJOURNALISM

A training course on photojournalism took place at the Albanian Media Institute on May 4-7, with the participation of 15 reporters from Tirana-based media outlets. The main aim of the course was to introduce the participants to the main principles of photojournalism, the notions of reporting through images, and digital photo editing. The trainer started by reviewing the role of photos, layout, and graphics in present Albanian media scene. Then he focused on the main elements of good photographs and on the different genres in this area, such as concept, silhouette, colour and black and white, texture, etc. Special attention was paid to learning to make portraits, focusing especially on the different formats of photographing, editing for different purposes and media, cropping, etc. The training followed with an introduction to the basics of digital photography, providing examples from news photography in Albania and in the world. Other topics addressed included the concepts of photo news and photo story, illustrating the different genres with an archive of Magnum agency. The participants were able to test the knowledge gained during the course in practice, by shooting different images of a general theme titled “Urban photo.” This course was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of US Embassy.

FORUM ON ALBANIA TOWARDS EU

A forum titled “Albania towards EU – the opening of the border for the free movement of people and goods,” was organized in Tirana on May 28, with the participation of journalists, editors, government and civil society representatives. Some of the topics discussed during this forum included border security and free movement of people and goods, media and European integration, education according to EU standards, media deontology in reporting EU, etc. Speakers included Lulzim Basha, Minister of Interior Affairs, Maryse Daviet, French Ambassador to Albania, Artur Zheji, head of Albanian Telegraphic Agency, Valentina Duka, Deputy Dean of the History and Philology Faculty, Mark Marku, deputy chair of the Parliamentary Media Commission, Rrapo Zguri, designer of the blog on European Integration, and Nicholas Miletitch, senior AFP journalist. The forum was organized by AFP Foundation, France Cooperation Internationale, and University of Tirana, with the support of EU.

SEMINAR ON NATIONAL CULTURE AND COSMOPOLITISM

A seminar on national culture and cosmopolitism was organized in Tirana on May 7, with the participation of culture researchers and critics, academics, government representatives, civil society, etc. This seminar aimed to approach the question of national culture and cosmopolitanism. What does “national culture” mean? How has this term been abused in the past – under dictatorships, both of communism in Albania and the Franco regime in Spain – and what are its recent uses and abuses? What are the cultural challenges for once-closed countries now faced with globalisation? What possibilities exist for a cosmopolitan culture? The opening speech was delivered by Manuel Montobbio, Spanish ambassador to Albania. Jose Maria Ridao, essayist, writer, and diplomat, Piro Misha, Director of the Tirana Institute for Dialogue and Communication, and Bashkim Shehu, writer, focused on national culture as a term and definition, and abuses that derive. Obrad Savic, Serbian philosopher and professor at University of Leeds, Besnik Mustafaj, Albanian writer, and Jordi Punti, writer and columnist for El País, tackled the topic of relations between cosmopolitism and national culture. This seminar was organized by Albanian Media Institute, Institute for Dialogue and Communication, and Center for Contemporary Culture Barcelona, Spain.

PUBLICATION ON JOURNALISM IN TRANSITION PERIOD

“33” is the title of a publication that collects 33 TV interviews conducted by Sokol Balla, a well-known journalist and TV show host. The interviews are with some of the most prominent figures in Albanian politics in the last twenty years. The publication aims to convey the atmosphere and main trends in transition during these years, as well as voice public concerns in relation to different transition issues. The book was promoted in an event that took place on May 28 at the European University of Tirana,  which is also the publisher of the book.


AMI NEWSLETTER - June 2010


TOP CHANNEL TV FINED 400,000 EURO

Top Channel TV was ordered to pay damages in the amount of 400,000 Euro on June 18 by the Court of Tirana. The television was ordered to pay damages to then-Minister of Tourism, Culture, Youth, and Sports Ylli Pango, after investigative programme Fiks-Fare broadcast footage of a young woman that was requested by Pango sexual favours in return for the possibility of employment. The footage was shot with hidden cameras. The court argued that the footage had been obtained illegally and violated Pango's right to privacy. After the program was broadcast last year, the minister resigned, but he filed a lawsuit against Top Channel in October 2009, asking the station to pay for damages to his reputation. Several journalism associations in the country and abroad have reacted against the court decision, stating that this would damage investigative journalism in the future. 

PRESS FREEDOM ORGANIZATIONS REACT AGAINST TOP CHANNEL FINE

After the Court of Tirana decision for Top Channel TV to pay damages of Euro 400,000 to ex-Minister Ylli Pango, several journalism associations in the country and international organizations have reacted. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, expressed concern, saying the fine was disproportionately high. In a letter to Albanian Foreign Minister Ilir Meta and Justice Minister Bujar Nishani, she emphasized that "moral damages awarded should be proportionate to the actual harm and the economic situation of the media or journalist concerned and should not lead to a 'chilling' effect on the media".

“We are stunned by the court’s ruling and by the unprecedented damages award,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Blatant abuse of authority by a government minister is a subject of public interest and the press must be free to cover it. Top Channel’s decision to broadcast this video was totally justified and perfectly legitimate.”

The International Federation of Journalists also criticized the court decision. "This decision is almost as scandalous as the practices the programme sought to expose and should not stand," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "This is a case where public interest outweighed the privacy of a senior public figure who was acting quite unethically."

South East Europe Media Organizations network also expressed their concern over the verdict. "SEEMO strongly condemns the court verdict, as Top Channel TV has to pay an exorbitant fine," said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. "This was a matter of public interest and we urge that the court verdict be annulled. Top Channel TV should not been charged in the first place. The media functions as an important pillar of democratic society by performing its work in the interest of the public."

JOURNALISM ASSOCIATIONS PROTEST AGAINST VIZION PLUS BOARD DECISIONS

The Association of Professional Journalists of Albania, the League of Albanian Journalists, and the Free Media Albanian Forum, protested against the decision of the Shareholder’s Board of Vizion Plus TV to interrupt without explanations the job contracts of the News Director of this station, Arban Hasani and the closure of the program “Faktori Plus,” hosted by Mero Baze. The Board of Vizion + TV terminated the work contracts of Arban Hasani, Director of Information, and Mero Baze, host of "Faktori Plus" program, in May 25. Hasani, Baze, and journalism associations claimed that this decision was made under government pressure, given the critical stance of "Faktori Plus" program and the critical editorial stance adopted by the television against the government.  Hasani and Baze claimed that no explanation was given for the termination of the contract, contrary to the principles on editorial independence that WAZ, owner of majority of shares, had signed and subscribed to. On the other hand, the media company issued a statement that “the insinuations were without arguments and insubstantial” and that while legal aspects will be fully respected, the “business interests determine the guidelines of our company, including editorial activity.”

SEMINAR ON EU INSTITUTIONS

A seminar on EU institutions was organized in Tirana on June 24-25 and then was followed by a field trip to Luxembourg on June 26-30. Participants were 15 young journalists and editors of mainstream media and some local media. The main aim of the seminar was to introduce the participants to the main EU institutions, in the context of Albanian efforts to integrate into the EU. For this purpose, the participants in Tirana were briefed on the progress of Albania towards EU integration, the structure and functioning of EU institutions, the Euroalius Project, Albanian perspective towards EU as seen from the Minister of Integration, civil society, and opposition and majority MPs, the public’s information on the process of integration, and the pros and cons of the country’s integration into the EU. The visit to Luxembourg included a visit to the European Centre of Schengen, visit and presentation on the role of the European Investment Bank in Albania, visit at ”Luxemburger Wort” newspaper, visit at the European Court of Justice, with participation in court hearings and court facilities, visit to the Eurostat, as well as a final roundtable on EU and future enlargement. This seminar and field trip was organized by the European Journalism Centre and Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the Luxemburg Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

TRAINING COURSE ON PHOTOJOURNALISM ETHICS

A training course on photojournalism ethics in the digital era was organized on June 8-10 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of journalists from mainstream media. The main aim of the course was to help develop photographic skills of photojournalists, against the backdrop of ethical concerns that emerge in the current media situation. Ethical dilemmas such as digital retouching, relation to the person being photographed, publication of sensitive images, intrusion into privacy versus public interest, etc., were the main topics addressed during the course.

The trainer started by an overview and discussion of journalists of photojournalism as representative of the truth, through specific examples in press history. Specific attention was paid to examples and ways of manipulating images in print publications, discussing their justifiability or lack thereof. Digital manipulation of photography and the boundary between professionalism and lack of professionalism in photojournalism was also discussed. The trainer focused on the general rules and ethics of photojournalism in the digital era, discussing with the participants the main dilemmas that they may face in their everyday work. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Civil Rights Defenders.

SEMINAR ON MEDIA POLICIES AND EUROPEAN STANDARDS

A seminar on media policies and regulation in the EU and the current legislation and policies in Albania was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on June 23, with the participation of print and electronic media journalists and editors. The main aim of the seminar was to introduce journalists to the main existing standards and regulation in the EU that affect media and compare them to the current laws and policies that govern media in Albania. Main speakers were Andrea Nathanaili, Director of Programming at the National Council of Radio and Television, and Ilda Londo, researcher at the Albanian Media Institute. The speakers focused on three main areas of policies that affect media: audiovisual services, access to information, and defamation and libel. After introducing the participants to the main standards and requirements that the EU legislation or norms impose on these matters, a brief review of the current Albanian legislation and policies in these areas was carried out, with special emphasis on ongoing amendments to these laws on all of the three areas. This seminar was organized by the Albanian Media Institute with the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

TRAINING COURSE ON ONLINE JOURNALISM

A training course on online journalism was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on June 14-18, with the participation of 15 journalists from both print and electronic Tirana-based media. The main aim of the course was to introduce Albanian journalists to the main principles and skills of online journalism. In this context, the main topics addressed during the course included the main traits of online journalism, its definitions and priorities, a discussion of the news websites and their classification, while peculiar attention was paid to the characteristics of news written for online media. The lecturers focused on the sources of information when reporting for an online media, the need for accuracy, as well as the ethical aspect involved in this kind of medium. Participants focused extensively on acquiring and practicing the basic skills needed for writing and editing in online journalism. The course is part of a project implemented by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the EU.

PUBLICATION ON MEDIA AND SOCIAL COHESION

The latest publication by Albanian Media Institute is the publication in Albanian of ”Living together,” a Council of Europe publication on media’s contribution to social cohesion, intercultural dialogue, and to democratic participation, understanding, and tolerance. The booklet addresses issues such as free expression versus respect for the others, media pluralism and diversity, intercultural dialogue and social cohesion, hate speech and racism, conflicts and solutions, new technologies and new challenges, media and public services, participation in democratic societies, access to information, media availability and accessibility, etc. The publication of the book was carried out by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Council of Europe.


AMI NEWSLETTER - July 2010


OSCE REPRESENTATIVE FOR MEDIA FREEDOM REPEATS CONCERNS ON PANGO VS. TOP CHANNEL CASE

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, presented on July 29th the annual report on media freedom, including the developments on Albania. On 28 June, Mijatovic addressed Albanian authorities regarding the so-called Pango defamation case. In a letter to Ilir Meta, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Bujar Nishani, Minister of Justice, she expressed concern about the decision of a Tirana District Court to order Top Channel TV to pay €400,000 in moral damages to former Minister of Tourism, Ylli Pango, for airing on 4 March 2009 secretly filmed footage which allegedly showed the minister requesting favours in return for a job in his ministry. This led to Pango’s dismissal from office. She reminded the authorities that the media's watchdog role in any truly democratic society demands investigative journalism and that damages awarded in any case should be proportionate to the actual harm caused and the economic situation of the media concerned and should not lead to a chilling effect on reporting.

On 16 July, during the Informal Ministerial Meeting in Almaty, Mijatovic had the opportunity to meet Minister of Foreign Affairs Meta and to bring to his attention once again the above-mentioned case. The Minister agreed to convey Mijatovic’s letter to President Bamir Topi who, according to theConstitution of Albania, chairs the High Council of Justice.

PARLIAMENT ELECTS NEW NCRT MEMBERS

The parliament elected three new members of the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT) on July 22nd. Two of them, Sami Neza, and Suela Musta, were reelected for a second term, while Zylyftar Bregu is the newest member of the Council. The election of these members came after a long period that these seats were vacant, due to the boycott of the opposition of parliamentary sessions for a long time. The absence of new members led to a failure of NCRT meetings to reach a quorum and hence, postponed council decisions on media regulation for a significant period.

TRAINING COURSE ON EUROPEAN INTEGRATION

A training course on the range of issues luinked to European integration was organized in Elbasan on July 23rd. Participants were journalists from local media and local correspondents from mainstream media. The main aim of this training was to introduce journalists to the main issues and topics they need to be aware of in the context of European integration efforts. Lecturers were Geron Kamberi, European Affairs expert near Oxfam, and Ilir Alia, director of the Institute for Strengthening of Democratic Institutions. Their lectures aimed to provide journalists with basic knowledge on European integration issues, with the purpose of guiding their future reporting on this topic. Particular attention was paid to the local angle that these journalists need to have in mind when reporting on thi topic, since local communities are highly affected by this process, but not necessarily aware of the consequences and benefits. This seminar was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

NCRT IMPOSES SEVERAL FINES ON ELECTRONIC MEDIA

NCRT decided to impose a fine of ALL 1 million and limit by five years the license of Tring TV, a digital terrestrial and satellite platform, on July 28. This decision came after noticing that this platform had broadcast programs whose rights it did not possess. NCRT has also fined cable TV stations “Tv Jug” and “TV AVN” on piracy claims, after a monitoring carried out in December last year. Six other TV stations have been warned on this matter. Other stations have been penalized because they have applied for a license that covers a larger area and have extended broadcasting to the larger area, without waiting for NCRT approval of the new license area. The NCRT was not able to make decisions of this kind for a long time, due to the failure of the parliament to elect three missing members, as a result of the parliamentary crisis.

ROUNDTABLE ON ONLINE MEDIA IN ALBANIA

A roundtable on development and future of online media in Albania was organized on July 29, with the participation of journalists and editors from mainstream media. The participants were informed on the main findings of a monitoring of current online media in the country and developments in the area of new media in general. The main topics discussed included the novelty that new media is supposed to bring about in the profession, the ability of traditional media to adapt to the changing landscape, the needed investment and Albanian media position in this regard, etc. Specific attention was also paid to the ethical questions that are raised at a time when every citizen can be a journalist, ethical issues that arise, the need to balance almost unlimited free speech with respect for others, etc. This roundtable was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the EU.

TRAINING COURSE ON CHILDREN REPORTING

A training course on reporting on minors was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on July 6-9, with the participation of journalists and reporters that cover social issues and children in mainstream media. The main aim of this course was to introduce journalists to the main topics, angles, and ethical considerations to have in mind when reporting on minors. Lecturers were professors at Department of Journalism, media experts and well-known journalists, and representatives of NGOs dealing with chidlren issues. Some of the main topics addressed during the course included discussion of new topics that have not been covered on children, legislation in place protecting children, legal issues to have in mind when reporting on children, ethical considerations when interviewing them, etc. Participants discussed with lecturers specific examples and challenges they had had during their work. This course was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of UNICEF.

TRAINING COURSE ON BUSINESS REPORTING

A training course on business reporting was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on July 13-16, with the participation of economic reporters from print and electronic media. The main aim of the course was to provide journalists with the main tools to report in a public-friendly manner, as well as introduce them to the main concepts and debates in the national economic scene in the country. Some of the topics addressed during the course by the lecturers included the global financial crisis, its impact on global and national economy, and forecast on its progress, the introduction to the Albanian banking system, its main strengths and weaknesses, the role of the Central Bank as the regulator, etc. Other topics included the social responsibility of businesses and the potential models that could be implemented in this regard, the problems of economic sustainable development in the country, and ways of reporting accurately and understandably on poverty. Finally, the journalists discussed with the trainers ways of conveying this information to the public in an informing and easy-to-understand manner. This training course was organized by Albanian Media Institute with the support of the US Embassy.

PRESENTATION OF MONITORING ON CHILDREN

A roundtable discussion on the way children are covered and portrayed in print media was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on July 9, with the participation of journalists and editors covering social, health, and crime reporting. The discussion was based on the findings of a monitoring of daily newspapers’ coverage of children issues, which were presented by representatives of the Albanian Media Institute. Some of the main findings of the monitoring were related to the space devoted to children in Albanian media, ethical aspects of their coverage, diversity of topics, plurality of sources, civic journalism vis-à-vis children’s privacy, role and portrayal of minors in reports on juvenile justice, etc. Special emphasis was put on efforts made by the newspapers to lend more space to minors, such as weekly supplements on high school students, supplements and practical advice on health problems, adolescence conduct, etc. The journalists also presented their own problems in improving coverage of children, such as lack of interest from media owners in this direction, lack of vision for the importance of following children’s issues, the tendency to sensationalism, the occasional abuse with public interest concept, etc. The roundtable was organized by Albanian Media Institute with the support of UNICEF.

COMMUNICATION DAY ORGANIZED BY JOURNALISM FACULTY

Journalism students at the University of Tirana presented their works in an event organized for Communication Day on July 1. The students presented their TV, radio, print, and online reports prepared during their practice, while the best were awarded in a ceremony. The media products included all ranges, such as photography, radio, TV, computer productions, multimedia, media critical analysis, etc. This activity was organized by Department of Journalism at University of Tirana.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS ON NEWSPAPER MARKET

Daily newspaper “Mapo,” whose first issue was published on July 5th, is the latest arrival in the daily newspapers’ market, which counts 26 daily newspapers. This new daily is published by the group that publishes a well-known weekly magazine of the same name. Meanwhile, daily “Ballkan” newspaper ceased its publication on July 20th. The journalists claim they were not warned on this and did not receive their last payment.

NEW PUBLICATION ON WAR REPORTING

“Bodrumi i Ali Babait” [Ali Baba’s Basement] is the latest publication of the Albanian Media Institute. The book’s author is Valerio Pelizzari, special correspondent of daily Il Messaggero and a long-time reporter from conflict areas all over the world. The book focuses on Iraq situation after the war, analyzing the impact of the war and what it implies for the future of the country. The author claims that the war broke loose Pandora’s vase, freeing different alliances, oil interests, propaganda scams, etc. The book is an attempt to offer a backstage ciew of what the author terms as “first colonizing endeavour of the third millenium,” offering at the same time a view on the daily life of real people. The book was translated by Aleksander Furrxhi, BBC correspondent in Tirana.


AMI NEWSLETTER, August- September 2010


TRAINING COURSE ON PHOTOJOURNALISM AND FEATURE WRITING

A training course on photojournalism was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on September 6-10, with the participation of 15 journalists from print media. Trainer was Fatos Baxhaku, well-known reporter. He focused first on the main principles of feature writing, such as the structure used, attitute vis-à-vis geography, the character, or history of the subject, giving also an overview of the current trends of feature writing in Albania at the moment. The course continued with additional elements of feature writing, such as archives on the subjects, summaries, photos, etc. Different kinds of feature writing, along with the photos that are most appropriate and the respective layout choices were another topic addressed during these courses, along with practical editing exercises. The importance of photos in feature writing, the techniques used in different situations, photo editing and caption writing, were other exercises that developed practical skills of participants in the course. The course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of EU..

TRAINING COURSES ON ANTI-TRAFFICKING REPORTING

Two one-day training courses were organized at the Albanian Media Institute on September 16 and 17, with journalists from electronic and print local media. The main aim of these courses was to raise awareness among journalists on their mission in accurate reporting of anti-trafficking efforts as an obligation to the public. The participants were greeted by Nicoleta Gordano, IOM Chief of Mission in Tirana and Remzi Lani, director of Albanian Media Institute. Afterwards, Iva Zajmi, Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs and National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, introduced the journalists to Albanian government efforts in the war against human beings trafficking, while Ilda Londo, researcher at the Albanian Media Institute, presented the main findings of press monitoring on human trafficking and domestic violence. Arben Muka, media expert, provided his own observations for print and electronic media coverage of this issue, while Lutfi Dervishi, media expert, discussed with journalists the main provisions of the Code of Ethics and ethical principles in general that journalists should consider when covering these issues. These courses were organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of IOM, Austrian Development Cooperation, and the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

TRAINING COURSE ON CITIZEN JOURNALISM AND SOCIAL MEDIA

A training course on citizen journalism and social media was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on September 27-October 1, with the participation of 15 journalists from both print and electronic Tirana-based media. The main aim of the course was to introduce Albanian journalists to the main principles, skills, and tools to use in online journalism and new media. In this context, the main topics addressed during the course included the main traits of online journalism, its definitions and priorities, a discussion of the news websites and their classification, while peculiar attention was paid to the characteristics of news written for online media. The lecturers focused on the sources of information when reporting for an online media, the need for accuray, as well as the ethical aspect involved in this kind of medium. Participants focused extensively on acquiring and practicing the basic skills needed for writing and editing in online journalism. Practical use of blogging and use of various social media illustrated the lectures during the whole course. The course is part of a project implemented by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Soros Open Society Foundation for Albania.

TRAINING COURSES ON REPORTING OF MIGRATION

Two one-day training courses were organized at the Albanian Media Institute on September 21 and 22, with journalists from capital-based electronic and print media. The main aim of these courses was to raise awareness among journalists on the proper ways of covering migration in the press, since this phenomenon has been a significantly pronounced one in the country in the last decade. The participants were greeted by Nicoleta Gordano, IOM Chief of Mission in Tirana, Remzi Lani and director of Albanian Media Institute. Afterwards, Kosta Barjaba, migration expert, briefed the journalists on the main aspects to consider when reporting migration, the specific nature of Albanian migration movements as compared to other countries, as well as varous sources, reports, and figures to refer to when reporting on this issue. Vjollca Mece, director of the Albanian Helsinki Committee, discussed with participants the aspect of migration as a human right, addressing the respective legislation, regulation, and other policies in this respect. Arben Muka, Deutsche Welle correspondent, brought case studies of media coverage of migration, analyzing the main trends and issues in this respect, focusing on features such as topics covered, language used, presence of stereotypes, etc. Finally, Lutfi Dervishi, media expert, discussed with journalists the main provisions of the Code of Ethics and ethical principles in general that journalists should consider when covering migration in their work. These courses were organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of IOM and the Austrian Development Cooperation.

PUBLICATION OF CODES OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL GUIDELINES

“Codes and guidelines on ethical journalism” is the title of the latest publication of the Albanian Media Institute. The main aim of this publication is to raise awareness on a rather rich corpus of codes and guidelines for journalists and present them in one publication, for future reference or debates on media professionalism. Apart from the main Code of Ethics, this publication is a collection of the other existing codes of conduct and guidelines for ethical reporting on various aspects, such as investigative journalism reporting, human trafficking reporting, reporting on disabled persons, reporting on elections, etc. The collection features all existing codes and guidelines created through the years. This publication was supported by Civil Rights Defenders.

TRAINING ON AUDIENCE MEASUREMENT AND TV PLANNING

A training program on audience measurement and TV planning was organized in Tirana on September 23-24, with the participation of media representatives. Trainers were Graham Mytton and Frank Schiller, experts in TV audience measurement and TV planning, respectively. During this training participants were introduced to the role of audience research from the business point of view, the different methods used, obtaining the data on audience research, etc. The training followed with ways of interpreting audience research and the role this plays in planning other programs and developing a strategy for TV programs. This training was organized and supported by OSCE Presence in Albania. 


AMI NEWSLETTER, October 2010


PRESS FREEDOM IN ALBANIA SLIGHTLY IMPROVES ACCORDING TO REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS

According to Reporters without Borders, which has recently published the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2010, Albania’s ranking went up from 88th to 80th. The main problems noticed during this period include the attack of a local businessman to a newspaper editor/director, the fine of the court for one of the national TV channels in favour of ex-minister, and the opposition’s ban on public broadcaster’s coverage of their protest. In general, the Balkan countries marked lower positions compared to previous years, while some EU members also dropped in ranking in 2010.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DEMOCRACY

“Twenty years after: Rethinking democracy and state in Albania,” was the title of the international conference that was organized in Tirana on October 22-23, with the participation of well-known academics, political figures, historians, and social scientists from Europe, the US, and Albania. The main aim of the conference was to assess and discuss the level of progress Albania has made in terms of building a democratic society, pondering whether the transition process is over or is ongoing. In this regard, some of the main topics discussed revolved around the institutionalization of democratic structures in state and society, the perception of democracy, the role of civil society, social and economic transformation, the transformation from utter isolation to a regional player, the state transformation from omnipotent to a democratic one, promises, achievements, and failures of democracy, and the country’s progress towards EU integration. This conference was organized by Albanian Institute for International Studies, Albanian Media Institute, the Association for South-eastern Europe, the Centre for the History of South-eastern Europe at Graz University, and Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

REGIONAL SEMINAR ON MEDIA LITERACY

A regional seminar on media literacy was organized in Tirana on October 28-29, with the participation of academics, civil society representatives, journalists, and educators from several Eastern European countries. The main aim of this seminar was to exchange experience among countries in the area of applying media literacy to the national curricula or other alternative methods of teaching media literacy to the public. Participants discussed what the notion of media literacy entails, its impact for the future role of educating citizens in a democratic state, the manners of introducing this subject to the national curricula, the training of teachers’ schemes in this subject, the main challenges encountered during implementation and teaching of the subject, and the role of civil society in assisting to spreading media literacy. This seminar was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Central European Initiative and Open Society Foundations.

CONFERENCE ON SELF-REGULATION AND INTERNET ETHICS

A conference on self-regulation with a focus on Internet and new media ethics was organized in Tirana on October 11, with the participation of journalists, journalism professors, editors, and civil society representatives. The Albanian speakers focused on the situation regarding ethics in the country. Aleksander Cipa, editor-in-chief of Shqip daily newspaper and chairman of trade union of journalists focused on main media development trends in the recent year, while Ilda Londo from Albanian Media Institute, gave an overview of main trends of development of online and new media in the country. Rrapo Zguri, professor at the Journalism Department of University of Tirana, focused on the main ethical problems observed in the new media. The conference went on with Yavuz Baydar, ombudsman in daily Sabah, who provided a description of the media landscape in Turkey, focusing on his job as an ombudsman at the daily newspaper. The participants showed interest in his daily duties and the way that the ombudsman institution functioned in Turkey, pointing out the existing problems and challenges Albania faces at the moment in this area. This conference was organized by Albanian Media Institute, in the framework of a UNESCO project on self-regulation mechanisms.

COMMON ROUNDTABLE OF ALBANIAN AND BOSNIAN JOURNALISTS

Albanian Media Institute and Media Centar Sarajevo organized in Tirana on October 9th the Bosnian-Albanian Journalists Roundtable. This was an event after the football game Albania-Bosnia on October 9th. The idea was to use this event as an opportunity to exchange ideas on some of the problems journalists face in the two countries.
Some of the topics discussed included media during elections, sports and nationalism, how do media report football, reporting Albania in Bosnian press and reporting Bosnia in Albanian press, images and stereotypes, and ways of improving co-operation in media between the two countries. Particularly interesting was the presentation of a survey from Media Centar Sarajevo on the first information in Bosnian press on Albania in early 20th century and later, as well as the representation of Albanians in Bosnian press in the last five years. Another equally important topic was the role of the media in the two countries after the visa liberalization process.

PUBLICATION OF INTERNET LITERACY HANDBOOK

The “Internet literacy handbook,” a publication of the Council of Europe, has been published in Albanian by the Albanian Media Institute. The aim of this handbook is to serve as a guide in using the web for parents and teachers, to identify ethical issues and educational opportunities, to take advantage of the web for media literacy subjects, and to offer practical examples that need to be considered. The handbook also identifies a series of ethical issues and risks that Internet introduces, and also points to other new sources and ways of information and communication, apart from the web. This handbook is organized in chapters that address different topics, issues, and solutions to everyday Internet use. The handbook was published with the support of Central European Initiative and East East Program of Open Society Foundations.

ALBANIAN MEDIA CLUB IS ESTABLISHED

Albanian Media Club was established on October 18, aiming to be a self-regulatory mechanism that fosters collective actions in the media field. The club notified that its work program included among others promotion of professional interest, protection of media independence, compliance with ethical rules, reduction of informality, and the drafting of an efficient legislation, in accordance with required standards. Currently the club is composed of 12 members that are media outlets from different areas in the country. The establishment of this club was made possible by the cooperation of OSCE Presence in Albania and Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Albania, with the support of EU funds.

TRAINING COURSE ON INTERNET ETHICS

A training course on Internet ethics was organized on October 18-22 at the Albanian Media Institute, with the participation of journalists from both print and electronic media. Some of the main topics addressed during this course included the need to apply professional and ethical rules to online content, the difference in ethical violations and filters applied in traditional media as compared to new media, potential abuses with technology and the ramifications for ethics, Internet and invasion of privacy, etc. Specific attention was paid to usage of photos from human tragedies, the relations of media with politics vis-à-vis the public’s right to know, the role of media owners and editors in information publication, the cases of privacy intrusion, the trend of getting information from social media such as Facebook, or blogs, etc. In addition, the participants and lecturers also addressed ethics in online communication, hate speech and verbal violence in online communication, online pornography and violent images, etc. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of EU.

FORUM ON THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN INFORMATION SOCIETY

The United Nations in Albania and the Albanian Institute of Media organized on October 20 a policy forum on the use and application of social media technologies and applications as part of the development of an information society. Around 30 representatives from the media industry in Albania, including journalists, press freedom advocates, policy makers and members of parliament, professors and students attended the event.
The forum was chaired by the Director of the Albanian Media Institute, Remzi Lani and UN Communications Specialist, Ms. Nora Kushti, who outlined the UN in Albania’s use of social media tools to better communicate its impact and the wide ranging implications of social media technologies on the way people communicate with each other and share information. Ilda Londo from the Albanian Media Institute presented a statistical overview of internet usage in Albania and in the region and highlighted the characteristics of new media technology in the country. Rrapo Zguri, professor at the Journalism Department at the University of Tirana, highlighted some of the main ethical issues that exist in the Albanian blogosphere. He raised his concerns over the use of hate language and discriminatory comments with regards to gender, ethnicity, and religious background and towards vulnerable groups in blogs and other social networks. All participants discussed and agreed that new monitoring tools and policies should be adopted to organize the new media environment in the country.

TRAINING COURSE ON CIVIC JOURNALISM

A training course on civic journalism was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on October 4-8, with the participation of journalists from both print and electronic media. The course focused on the notion of civic journalism, the democratization of the media process, the new role of the public in the digital technology era, focusing on specific terms and tools that citizens use in this aspect. The lecturer discussed with participants the main features of civic journalism as an alternative news source and as a tool for a more democratic society, paying special attention to its interactivity. The pro-s and con-s of civic journalism vis-à-vis traditional professional journalism were also discussed, in the framework of quality information and freedom of speech. Finally, the participants became familiar with the main trends of media from citizens in the web in the world and especially in the country, and analyzed some of the main features of blogs as a space that can be used for civic journalism. This course was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of Open Society Foundation Albania.

ALBANIAN JOURNALISTS MEET TO DISCUSS ISSUES RELATED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION

About 20 representatives from the print and electronic media in Albania participated in a three-day meeting on the topic of consumer protection organized jointly by the General Directorate of Trade Policy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy (METE) and the United Nations Joint Programme on Economic Governance, Regulatory Reform and Pro-Poor Development. The meeting aimed to familiarize the participants with the provisions of the Albanian Consumer Protection Law and discuss how to build the awareness of citizens about their rights as consumers, better report cases of violations of these rights and thus be one of the actors in the protection of consumer rights. The discussions on consumer rights with media representatives will be extended to the 12 regions of Albania with the support of the UN programme. The Economic Governance Programme is funded by the Spanish Government through the MDG Achievement Fund and is implemented jointly by the World Bank and UNDP in partnership mainly, but not only, with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy and the Ministry of Public Work, Transport.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN MEDIA MARKET

ABC News is the latest TV station that started broadcasting on October 25th in Tirana. This is a news-only channel, adding to the already high number of news channels broadcasting in the capital. Meanwhile, Tema daily newspaper also started to public again, after an interruption of several months.

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL

The fifth International Human Rights Film Festival was organized in Tirana on October 5-10, with the participation of local and foreign cineastes, human rights activists, civil society representatives, diplomatic corpus members, international organizations, etc. The participating movies focused on human rights and their violation in different situations. These movies were preceded by several forums that were organized during the festival on the topic of human rights violations. The festival was organized at the Academy of Film and Multimedia Marubi, with the support of numerous partners, including Albanian Media Institute.


AMI NEWSLETTER, November 2010


EU REPORT ON ALBANIA TACKLES MEDIA FREEDOM

The EU Opinion on Albania’s application for being a candidate country and the respective analytical report also addressed the issue of freedom of expression, including the media. The report states that even though media freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution and relevant laws and the media in Albania is pluralistic, political influences over the media and their use as propaganda tools by political parties or influential businessmen create conditions for biased reporting and self-censorship of journalists. Political and economic pressures and occasional threats, added to the informality of work contracts, and the lack of adequate education and training, have a negative effect on professional standards and on editorial independence, the report stated.

In addition, according to the report, the courts’ application of disproportionate and sometimes selective fines against media outlets in cases involving politicians is an issue of concern. Along these lines, the report strongly suggested that provisions on libel and defamation in the Criminal Code have yet to be repealed, even though a moratorium called by the Prime Minister preventing government officials from filing lawsuits against journalists for defamation is respected. The report suggested that increased transparency regarding media ownership would clarify political and business implication in the sector. In addition, the report suggested that the independence of the public broadcaster and the regulatory authority of electronic media are insufficient.

ROUNDTABLES ON GLOBALIZATION AND DIGITALIZATION IN UNIVERSITIES

Three roundtables addressing globalization impact on media and communication and digitalization were organized this month. They took place at UFO University in Tirana on November 17 and at public university’s branches in Shkodra and Elbasan on November 12th and 23rd respectively. The main aim of the roundtables was to introduce the main trends and current debate on globalization, as well as to raise awareness on the efforts and main points in the process of digital switchover in broadcasting. The students were introduced to the impact of globalization and new technologies on the journalism profession and on media development, discussing the main skills and expectations from this influence. The students were also introduced to the main steps of digital switchover in broadcasting, paying attention to such topics as the fair distribution of licenses, the social dimension of this process, the need for efficiency and fairness from the regulator, the role of the public broadcaster, and the need for a strong public awareness campaign for a smooth switchover. The roundtable went on with discussions and questions by the students on the main trends and problems both in globalization and digitalization and the way they are changing society, media, and communication. This roundtable was organized by the Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the European Union.

LOCAL JOURNALIST ASSAULTED

Piro Nase, correspondent to national daily “Panorama,” and TV Planet, and also the head of the regional branch of the Albanian Union of Journalists in Gjirokastra, was physically and verbally assaulted by two alleged perpetrators on the evening of 14 November 2010. He was assaulted right after parking his car near his place of residence. It is alleged that two unknown persons suddenly appeared and started hitting him, punching him in the head. His face and jaw were showing signs of bruising the next morning. Nase reported that the two persons that assaulted him let him know that this was related to his duty as a reporter. This assault was condemned by the League of Southern Journalists, the Trade Union of Albanian Journalists, and other organizations.

TRAINING COURSE ON CIVIC JOURNALISM

A training course on online journalism was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on November 8-12, with the participation of journalists from both print and electronic Tirana-based media. The main aim of the course was to introduce Albanian journalists to the main principles and skills of civice journalism. In this context, the main topics addressed during the course included the main traits of online journalism, its definitions and priorities, a discussion of the news websites and their classification, while peculiar attention was paid to the characteristics of news written for online media. The lecturers focused on the sources of information when reporting for an online media, the need for accuray, as well as the ethical aspect involved in this kind of medium. Participants focused extensively on acquiring and practicing the basic skills needed for writing and editing in online journalism. The course is part of a project implemented by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the Open Society Foundation, Albania.

ROUNDTABLE ON NCRT’S ROLE ON DIGITAL SWITCHOVER IN ALBANIA

A roundtable on development and future of digital switchover in Albania, focusing on the role of the regulatory authority in this regard, was organized on November 26, with the participation of journalists and editors from mainstream media. The participants were informed on the main findings of a monitoring of the role of the regulatory authority over the years in the process of digital switchover in the country. The main topics discussed included the current law and ongoing legal amendments, the finalization of the strategy, the way regulation addressed current market players, the safeguarding of public interest, the role of the public broadcaster, etc. Specific attention was also paid to the information and awareness needs and future campaign for the public, as well as the different stages that the switchover process is supposed to go through. This roundtable was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the EU.

FORUM ON POLICIES ON MEDIA LITERACY

The United Nations in Albania and the Albanian Institute of Media organized on November 19 a policy forum on media literacy in Albania. About 30 representatives from the media industry in Albania, including journalists, press freedom advocates, policy makers and members of parliament, professors and students attended the event.
The main speakers were Bardhyl Musai, advisor to Prime Minister on education and director of Center for Democratic Education, and Jonila Godole, professor of journalism. The main aim of this forum was to introduce participants to the concept of media literacy and discuss the need and ways of applying media literacy to the national curricula or other alternative methods of teaching media literacy to the public. The speakers discussed what the notion of media literacy entails, its impact for the future role of educating citizens in a democratic state, the manners of introducing this subject to the national curricula, the training of teachers’ schemes in this subject, the main challenges that exist in this area, and the role of civil society in assisting to spreading media literacy.

CONFERENCE ON MEDIA TRENDS

A regional conference on media development trends was organized by the Department of Journalism of University of Tirana on November 18. The conference focused on numerous aspects of media development and features many journalism and communication professor, academics, or media professionals as speakers. One of the main topics addressed in the framework of the conference included the quality of information in the media, news credibility, use of language in the media, the building of an editorial line, etc. The speakers also addressed the issue of media regulation and self-regulation, focusing on topics such as self-censorship, failed attempts to self-regulate, privacy issues in the media coverage, legal framework on media, etc. The next session focused on media and its impact on the audience, where speakers dwelled on impact of digital platforms on Albanian emigrants, consumer interests vis-à-vis the media, the public influence in the mission of the public broadcaster, local print media and its role, the role of reporting on culture and the role of supplements in daily publications. The final session focused on the actors of media communication, discussing issues such as media market actors, the role of technology in media professionalism, foreign media influence on Albanian media, crisis in journalism, the role of analysts in Albanian media, and media between business and politics. This conference also featured interventions from experience of other countries in the region and from China.

FORUM ON DIGITAL SWITCHOVER IN ALBANIA

The United Nations in Albania and the Albanian Institute of Media organized on November 2 a policy forum on the digital switchover in Albania. About 30 representatives from the media industry in Albania, including journalists, press freedom advocates, policy makers and members of parliament, professors and students attended the event.
Ilda Londo from the Albanian Media Institute presented an overview of the process in EU and Balkan countries, the main standards and criteria that have to be considered in the switchover process, such as fair standards and license allocation, preservation and encouragement of media pluralism and diversity, public and consumers’ interest, interests of media players, etc. Afterwards, Alban Karapici, deputy chairman of the National Council of Radio and Television, the regulatory authority, explained in detail the specific steps that are expected in the switchover to digital broadcasting. More specifically, he focused on the existing regulation, the establishment of the task force, the specific steps that are needed in this regard, the public awareness campaign, etc. The discussion focused on issues of content regulation, protection of public interest, readiness of Albanian society to digital switchover, and readiness of media themselves in this regard.

DOCUMENTARY MOVIE PROJECTION

“Anna: Seven years later,” was the 2008 documentary movie projected on November 11 at the community center Ten. The movie, directed by Masha Novikova, focused on the work of Anna Politkovskaya, the columnist of Novaya Gazeta, who was killed on 7th of October, 2006 in the hall of her apartment building. Many people believe that this murder was connected to her professional activities. The film focused on the last seven years of Anna's life, the period that she had worked for the Novaya Gazeta. The film included archive and documentary materials from Chechnya war, excerpts of Anna's speech at the first conference of the coalition "Other Russia" in 2006, and interviews with her colleagues and friends. The movie was shown to an audience of journalists, editors, and journalism students. This was a joint event of Albanian Media Institute and Frontline Club.

WORKSHOP ON CHILDREN’S RIGHTS

A workshop with representatives of Albanian media was organized on November 3-4 at the Albanian Media Institute. The main aim of the workshop was to raise awareness among media representatives on the situation of children without any parental care that leave residential institutions. The participants were informed in detail on children’s situation in this regard by SOS Children Villages’ representative, an organization that takes care of this group of children. Afterwards, a social scientist introduced the journalists to the impact of institutionalization and preparation to an independent life, focusing on psychological and social problems. Finally, journalists discussed with a media ethics trainer the main ethical issues involved in protection of minors when reporting in print and electronic media. This workshop was jointly organized by Albanian Media Institute and SOS Children Villages.

MEDIA EVENT CONFERENCE AGAINST VIOLENCE ON WOMEN

In the framework of the annual 16 days against violence on women, a conference on this topic was organized on november 30, with the participation of human rights activists, media representatives, relatives of victims, etc. The main aim of the event was to raise awareness on this ongoing phenomenon and seek solutions. For this purpose, the conference focused on numerous aspects of fighting this problem, such as legal aspect, state and police protection, social policies, the civil society contribution, community organizations that assist in this regard, the role of counselling lines, educaiton on gender issues, and media role and performance in raising awareness in this battle. This conference was organized by the association “Useful to Albanian Woman”, in cooperation with the Albanian Media Institute, the Albanian Helsinki Committee, the Center for Civic Legal Initiatives, the Institute for Democracy and Mediation, the International Human Rights Education Consortium, etc.


AMI NEWSLETTER, December 2010


DEBATE ON THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON JOURNALISM

A debate on the impact of social media on modern journalism was organized at UFO University in Tirana on December 16 with the participation of journalists, editors, and academics, and students. Key speakers were David Hayward, Head of the Journalism Programme at the BBC College of Journalism, and Matthew Eltringham, Assistant Editor, Interactivity and Social Media Development at the BBC. The debate addressed the way that traditional media have adapted to the digital age and more specifically to social media. The main theme of the lectures and discussions was the way that journalism is affected by technology and what this means for the future of this profession.
Drawing on recent examples, including Wikileaks, lecturers discussed how social media including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Youtube are also changing the relationship of news organisations with their readers and audiences. The debate tried to explore the impact that these changes have had on the role of the journalist and examined how the core role and values of journalism can be maintained in this new landscape. This debate was organized by The Frontline Club and the Albanian Media Institute.

FORUM ON TRANSPARENCY AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Albanian Media Institute and ONE UN organized a forum focused on media, transparency, and access to information on December 15, with the participation of journalists, professors, civil society activists, journalism students, etc. The main speakers were Lutfi Dervishi, director of Transparency Albania, and Ilir Aliaj, director of the Center for Development and Democratization of Institutions.
The main aim of this forum was to discuss the impact of technology on access to information and on the media’s ability to increase transparency on government activity. The speakers addressed the way the profession of journalists had changed with the advent of Internet, new technologies, and different tools at their disposal for demanding and achieving greater transparency. The debate also evolved around the controversy that these changes bring about, such as increased sensitivity to privacy issues, personal or security concerns, potential hate speech problems, etc. A major theme discussed during the forum was the Wikileaks phenomenon and how it affects transparency in the future and consequently, the media’s traditional role in achieving transparency and reporting for the public.

DOCUMENTARY MOVIE PROJECTIONS

“An Independent Mind” was the 2007 documentary movie projected on December 1 at UFO University. The movie, directed by Rex Bloomstein, explored the right to freedom of expression. "An Independent Mind" interviews people from diverse walks of life who have faced oppression and censorship for expressing unpopular or radical opinions.
“World Cup Inshallah” was the second documentary, projected at Kristal University in Tirana on December 10. This documentary film by Maya Sarbar and Jeffey Saunders is about a soccer team like no other. Comprised of eight different nationalities, speaking five different languages, having no home field and an Austrian coach, the Palestinian National Soccer team and its players must overcome obstacles of physical, emotional, cultural and geographic nature just to exist. The film chronicles the adventures of the team as it strives to play football and overcome the barriers in its path. The team's journey is laden with obstacles, and the contradictions of representing a country that does not yet officially exist. These movies were shown to audiences of journalists, editors, and journalism students, in joint events of Albanian Media Institute and Frontline Club.

FORUM ON MEDIA POLICIES AND EUROPEAN INTEGRATION REPORTING

ONE UN and Albanian Media Institute organized a forum focused on media policies in the framework of European integration and reporting on the process on December 21, with the participation of journalists and editors from mainstream media. The main speakers were Ilir Aliaj, expert on European Union affairs and Ilda Londo, media researcher.
The main objective of the forum was to discuss the media role in reporting Albania’s process towards EU integration and the way this affects public opinion in the country vis-à-vis European integration. After becoming familiar with the historical background and main stages of EU integration process, the participants were informed on the latest public opinion polls on EU integration in Albania, analyzing the media’s role in informing the public on these issues. The participants also discussed the country’s level of preparation for this integration process, the main regional factors and background that affect this process, the media’s responsibility, role, and progress in the overall process of informing the public, etc.

TRAINING COURSE ON CHILDREN REPORTING

A training course on reporting on minors was organized at the Albanian Media Institute on December 7-9, with the participation of journalists and reporters that cover social issues and children in mainstream media. The main aim of this course was to introduce journalists to the main topics, angles, and ethical considerations to have in mind when reporting on minors. Lecturers were professors at Department of Journalism, media experts and well-known journalists, and representatives of NGOs dealing with children issues. Some of the main topics addressed during the course included discussion of new topics that have not been covered on children, legislation in place protecting children, legal issues to have in mind when reporting on children, ethical considerations when interviewing them, etc. Participants discussed with lecturers specific examples and challenges they had had during their work. This course was organized by Albanian Media Institute, with the support of the US Embassy.

CONFERENCE ON ALBANIAN DEMOCRACY TWENTY YEARS AFTER

A national conference titled “Twenty years after: People on democracy and the state” was organized in Tirana on December 7, with the participation of politicians, civil society representatives, and journalists, in view of democratic rule in Albania approaching its twentieth anniversary. The conference aimed to provide a discussion and reflection problems on the last twenty years’ achievements and problems, providing an analysis of developments and state of affairs, as well as the identification of a need for further research and intellectual debate in this regard. In this framework, the conference also presented the key findings of a national survey gauging public perceptions and expectations on Albania’s democratization and socio-economic transformation. Among other issues, the survey also addressed freedom of expression perceptions before 1990 and in 2010, comparing the two periods. According to the survey, about 74% of respondents thought that freedom of expression in 2010 is “high” or “very high,” while 17% of them qualified it as “moderate” and only 2% thought it was still “low.” This conference and survey was organized and supported by the Albanian Institute for International Studies, the Albanian Media Institute, the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, and the Balkan Trust for Democracy.

ROUNDTABLE ON VISA LIBERALIZATION AND MEDIA ROLE

A roundtable on media’s role in informing the public on the process of visa liberalization was organized on December 14 in Tirana. Key speakers were Ilda Zhulali, director of EU affairs department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Gledis Gjipali from European Movement Albania. Participants were editors and journalists from mainstream media and civil society representatives. The roundtable addressed several problems related to visa liberalization, such as proof of sufficient financial means, EU asylum policies, Roma issues, and other problems related to free movement of citizens. Moreover, the roundtable focused on media’s important role in accurately and continuously informing the public on the process itself, as well as on the pressure towards government in the overall process of EU integration. This roundtable was organized by Albanian Media Institute with the support of Konrad Adenauer Foundation Albania.

PUBLICATION ON MEDIA LITERACY

The latest publication of Albanian Media Institute is “Media literacy and civil society.” This book is a collection of essays that address the notion of media literacy, its impact, the ways of introducing it to curricula or alternative methods of teaching it, and the civil society’s role and difficulties in this context. The articles and essays selected in the book treat media literacy and media education from various theoretical, methodological and practical aspects and offer a diversity of approaches that allow the reader to gain a broad perspective into topics and issues that are related to media literacy.

NEW PUBLICATION ON HISTORY OF ALBANIAN MEDIA

“Albanian media in the period of fascist Italy occupation” is the title of one of the latest publications on Albanian media. The author is Arben Muka, Deutsche Welle correspondent and professor of journalism. The book studies media in the period 1939-1943, covering a quite shadowy period of history of Albanian media. The book studies the press of the time in three categories: fascist press, Communist anti-fascist press, and national anti-fascist press, focusing especially on the way that propaganda worked at the time and how this affected media’s role in meeting public interest. This is an effort to shed light on an otherwise little known and explored period of history of Albanian media developments. This book was published with the support of Albanian Media Institute.

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