Balkan Investigative Reporting Network
BIRN, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, is a network of local non-governmental organisations promoting freedom of speech, human rights and democratic values. Through high quality reporting and creating a pool of skilled journalists BIRN examines and scrutinises key processes, steers debates and provides the public with impartial and reliable information. BIRN Network also monitors and advocates for the transparency and accountability of public institutions and enables CSOs and citizens to influence decision-makers.
The first BIRN organisation was registered in 2004, but by 2006, BIRN had developed a network structure that included local independent organisations gathered around an umbrella organisation – the Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network (BIRN Hub), a structure that had the advantage of combining local, country-based expertise with unique regional cooperation.
BIRN has a presence across the Balkan region, with country-based organisations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. For editorial purposes it also has a network of journalists and editors in Montenegro, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece and occasionally Moldova. BIRN has a wide media presence – online, in print, on TV, and on radio. BIRN’s flagship website, www.BalkanInsight.com, one of 15 sites in different languages that BIRN runs, is read in more than 200 countries worldwide.
Key issues in the Balkans that BIRN has identified include lack of freedom of expression, loss of media independence, lack of good governance, an absence of anti-corruption efforts, poor access to justice and rights and civil society organisations’ inability to address issues of public interest.
BIRN’s leadership is made up of award-winning journalists and professionals, all of whom have experience and knowledge of the region and its main challenges: transitional justice, human rights, culture, post-conflict society-building, political and economic transitional reform, European integration and other related issues.