Belgrade, 19-22 October 2016 – A group of Macedonian journalists on a study visit in Serbia were introduces with the practices and experiences of their colleagues in order to improve the skills of investigative journalism.
The visit was organized within the project supported by the EU “Investigative reporting to boost reforms” and the group was composed of ten journalists from national TV channels, from print and online media in Macedonia.
The first day of the visit of Serbia was dedicated to the presentation of experiences of journalist newsrooms BIRN Serbia, KRIK and Insider.
At a meeting with BIRN the journalists from Macedonia discussed and exchanged experiences with Slobodan Georgiev, editor of BIRN Serbia editor Jelena Cosic editor of the regional research group within BIRN. At the meeting were discussed the difficulties and challenges in investigating corruption, the importance of adherence to professional standards as one of the pillars of the integrity of the investigative story, and the entire research team.
Georgiev talked about investigative journalism as an indicator of the level of democracy in a country. Jelena Cosic, an experienced investigative journalist and head of the BIRN summer school shared with the journalists the experience of working on the story of a secret arms exports from the Balkans to the Middle East on how to build resources and access in situations where institutions are closed.
The meeting with representatives of the Crime and Corruption Network (KRIK), Stevan Dojčinović and Jelena Kalinic was devoted to the specifics of the work of this media organization dedicated primarily on investigating organized crime and corruption.
The third meeting was organized with the production team of Insider the most watched documentary-research program in the Balkans, which since last year has grown into an online medium as well. Their team leader the famous journalist Brankica Stankovic spoke about their work, methods and standards of her team who is behind the production of research serials. In that sense, she emphasized the importance for studious and in-depth research, methods of accessing and providing sources as well as the participants in the show.
The journalists from Macedonia met with representatives of the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia – CINS founded by the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia in order to prove that independent journalism to the highest professional standards is possible in Serbia. The meeting was focused on the situation in the media in Serbia and Macedonia, of the criteria for choosing research topics and rule that the claims presented in the survey must be able to be relevant evidence in front of the Court.
After that there was a meeting with the Deputy Commissioner for Information and Personal Data Protection, Stanojla Mandic. At the meeting with journalists from Macedonia Mandic spoke about the experience of their office which initially was not recognized as a controlling institution, about changing and improving the Law on Access which is one of the most liberal in the world. She noted that journalists and NGOs have been and still are a great ally in the fight for greater accountability and transparency of the institutions.
The working part of the study tour ended at the headquarters of the NGO Cher offering free legal and technical assistance to the media that are the target of cyber attacks.