The Guardian: Mentoring support for the SEE investigative journalists

The Guardian: Mentoring support for the SEE investigative journalists
Event date: 
Mon, 2015-09-28 09:00
Six out of seven investigative journalists, the SEE Media Observatory grant beneficiaries, got mentoring support from journalists of the Guardian in order to make stories that will disclose corrupt practices undermining the proper functioning of free, independent, pluralistic and viable media in the Western Balkans countries. Selected journalists from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia (a journalist from Macedonia could not take part) participated at the two-day seminar held in London (28-29 September 2015), which is going to contribute to the depth and quality of their investigative stories. Experienced journalists claim that investigative journalism, because of its multi-layered and complex process, looks like onion peeling, which should be carried out layer by layer. Seminar at the Guardian will help journalists from the SEE region to perform such peeling without tears.
PHOTO: Investigative journalists from SEE at the Guardian (London, September 2015)
Investigative journalist from Serbia, one of the grant beneficiaries, said that she decided to investigate issues relating to the media integrity because public service values in Serbian media outlets are endangered: „Working as an investigative journalist for more than six years, I have been trying to contribute to this by investigating corruptive practices in the media scene, from non-transparent media ownership to lobbying for changes in the Serbian media laws“. Her latest investigation, which is underway, would be another attempt to tackle this issue by shedding new light on the position of the journalists in Serbia.
On the other hand, an investigative journalist from Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to investigate corruption in the media sphere because she believes that the media outlets in her country are under the influence of politics, partly because they are funded and/or subsidized through the governments. „Even though media keep saying that there is not enough money on the market, yet there are more than 60 TV stations functioning there, as well as over 200 radio stations, which is a huge number, especially keeping in mind that Bosnia and Herzegovina has less than 4 million citizens. A research into this has not been done so far.“
Asked about the importance of the seminar at the Guardian, an investigative journalist from Serbia responds: „I was really honoured and pleased for getting the opportunity to have my research monitored by David Leigh and Rob Evans. They warned me on the potential risks in my further work on the topic based on their previous experience, but they also pointed out other ways of telling the story by using more comparisons both from the region and abroad, in the countries where the same media companies operate as in Serbia“. Investigative journalist from Bosnia and Herzegovina also considered the seminar at the Guardian very useful: „It helped me focus better on what we want to achieve, as in the beginning we wanted to do too much in too little time. It also gave me a new perspective on possible sources of information.“
PHOTO: David Leigh talks on the seminar for investigative journalists from SEE (London, September 2015)
In the months after the seminar, the journalists will finish their investigative stories with further assistance of Saša Leković, the SEE Media Observatory’s regional investigative journalism mentor and Ilona Moricz, sub-granting coordinator. The financial support for the grants is provided by the European Commission as part of the South East European Media Observatory project which is implementing its second phase in 2015 and 2016.