I for integrity 

PANEL DISCUSSIONS:

•             Panel Discussion 1: The Future of Collaborative and Citizen Journalism in the Era of Open Source Intelligence 

While the leading catalyst of the development of investigative journalism based on open data was the war in Syria, probably the best documented conflict in history, in 2020, in efforts to preserve the integrity of information from increasing threats, the research based on open source data is a subject of an increasing investment of established media companies, organisations for human rights, research centres and academic institutions. What was once the domain of intelligence agencies, and later occasional experiments of amateur investigators, such as Eliot Higgins, a future founder of Bellingcat, today is becoming mainstream investigative practice with reasonable prospects of changing forever the journalism in the digital age.

The panel discussion will re-examine the question whether the convincingness and authenticity of open data, as well as transparency of the disclosure procedure in open source investigations, are bringing this form of journalism closer to a scientific method, opposing it to a traditional model which requires the trust in expertise. How has the concept of transparency and accountability in reporting transformed since the last decades ’revolution of transparency’ and the projects such as Wikileaks? What models of collaborative and citizen journalism (organisational and financial) will be present in the world in the age of open data and what of them will have the highest chances of success in the Balkans?

 •             Panel Discussion 2: It’s Not the Time to Be Silent: Combating Violence Against Women Journalists

While the gender-based violence is still one of the most common and most tolerated types of violation of human rights in the world, the violence against women journalists is an issue that until recently has not be confronted by the community. The report on combating violence against women journalists, published on 8 July 2020 by a UN Special Rapporteur Dubravka Šimonović, is the first report dealing with the systematic analysis of this issue and testifies to an increase of various types of violence in work environment, in the field and, especially, online, which form a part of daily life of women journalists and media workers. The last decade was also marked by an increasing number of killings of women journalists, where 70 of them has been killed since 2010.

In Mexico, a country which has long been on the list of most dangerous countries for pursuing investigative journalism, four journalists have been killed since the beginning of this year, two of whom were women journalists. Proceeding from the example of Carmen Aristegui, the main protagonist of the film Radio Silence, known as the symbol of courage, professional integrity and combat for freedom of the Mexican media, the panel discussion will present an insight into a cruel reality of investigative journalism from the women’s perspective and examine the guidelines and strategies for a more comprehensive and effective approach to resolving specific challenges that women journalists face, above all, the issue of protection of their security.

•             Panel Discussion 3: Investigative Journalism in South East Europe: Truth or Dare 

More than one third of all violations of freedom of media reported across Europe in 2018–2019 took place in South East Europe, where governments were behind the half of them, it has been claimed by observers monitoring the freedom of media in the region. The deterioration of the situation is characterised by an increasing polarisation and lack of solidarity when it comes to the media close to the government on the one hand and independent media fighting for their survival, on the other hand, while being exposed to attacks by politicians, online threats, unsubstantiated accusations of threatening national security and court actions aimed at shutting them down or weakening financially, and systemically obviating the need for investigative, independent journalism. Institutions are becoming increasingly reserved towards journalists and it is getting harder and harder to obtain information. Despite all challenges, investigative journalism in the region is developing successfully and considered one of the highest quality in Europe.

The Romanian film Collective, which offers an uncompromising view of the role of investigative journalism in exposing the mass fraud and corruption in the Romanian health system after the tragedy that shook the country, is a story whose universality at the same time causes fear and makes one infinitely stronger. The panel discussion will re-examine the toughest challenges that investigative journalists face in the region, the differences and similarities in their practices in comparison with the rest of Europe, as well as perspectives for collaborative cross-border projects, and it will contribute to building new bridges of solidarity between the journalists in the region.

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