Investigative reporting to boost reforms 2016-2019

 

Situation:
Media in the country today fail to play a pivotal watching role, i.e. expose and analyse issues of public interests and hold public officials to accountability. In such circumstances of deteriorating situation in the media combined with understaffed news teams and limited resources there is an apparent lack of investigative journalism, one of the most powerful tools for holding government accountable.

Goal:
The action will create a core of well skilled investigative journalists, as well as a network of grass – root effective CSOs from all over the country which should contribute towards improved investigative journalism both through their work and through the cooperation with journalists.

Expected Results:

Increased quality and credibility of investigative journalism by improving journalists’ skills, capacities, tools and information for in-depth and fact-based reports; Built operational and efficient partnerships between CSOs and the media to provide greater availability of information based on thorough and replicable investigative journalism; CSO’s introduced open data bases to fortify their activities and create resource for investigative journalism and their own further actions and public provided with better and more substantial information to make informed decisions.

Activities:

A series of media monitoring on qualitative and quantitative assessment of the investigative journalism in media reporting which will serve as a base for tailoring training programs and workshops; A series of intensive, modules based, training program on investigative journalism on government’s accountability; Regular mentorship and coaching of investigative journalists; Award competition for investigative stories – winners will be sent to participate in regional recognized conferences or schools to share experiences and to network; Public debates on the role of investigative journalism; Sub-granting, training and mentoring of local CSOs in preparation of open data bases for important issues on local level; Preparation of additional open data bases on important social processes and issues on national level; A series of workshops to increase cooperation of journalists and CSOs for benefiting investigative journalism; Establishing a poll of CSOs and journalists who will advocate for greater transparency, accountability and responsibility of authorities.

 

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The project has been implemented by the Center for Civil Communications, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and NGO Info-centre for the period of February 2016 to January 2019.  Total budget of the project is 294,812 EUR, while the EU contribution is 265,331 EUR.

Project contact details: center@ccc.org.mk, tel: +389 (2) 3213 513, bul.Koco Racin br.26-1/2, 1000 Skopje

 

About the Project: Access to information- source for better informing 2011-2013

 

What we would like to achieve?

Given that the right to know is the fundamental right of journalists and all citizens should have access to information held by public bodies, the project activities, based on the positive experience of NGOs and journalists from the EU member states, will ensure greater access for journalists to public information in order to increase the quality of public information and to promote freedom of expression and independent media. Working with the journalists on strengthening their role as public watchdogs through exercise of their right to free access to public information will directly contribute for achieving the overall objective of the project – strengthening the role of media in democratization of the country by pursuing fact-based and substantiated reporting instead of dominant use of unverified information.

 

Results

By the end, the project should result in the following:

  • Increased journalists’ awareness for the importance and possibilities of the powerful tool of independent media – Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which is currently under-used by the media.
  • Enhanced journalists’ skills for greater use of the FOIA
  • More fact-based and substantiated news reporting through greater use of FOIA
  • Proposed legal changes to FOIA toward shortening the deadline for answering to the requests for information in alignment to other European countries

 

How can we accomplish the desired results?

  • In depth analysis of the current use of the FOIA by the media
  • Debates with journalists on analysis results and further steps.
  • Adaptation, translation and distribution of a Handbook for journalists on requesting information under FOIA (Legal Leaks Toolkit)
  • Trainings for journalists for greater use of FOIA. The trainings will improve the capacities of at least 20 of the Macedonian media.
  • Study visit of Macedonian investigative journalists to Bulgaria
  • Coaching and assisting journalists in requesting information
  • Designing a web site for facilitating the free access
  • Public debate with all stakeholders on current weaknesses in the access to public information system
  • Issuing a policy brief for initiating legal changes for the FOIA
  • Lobbying and promoting the initiative for legal changes for the FOIA

 

The project is being implemented by the Center for Civil Communications in partnership with Access Info Europe and Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) – Macedonia.