Exit News will be the first Albanian media portal to participate in the Fazana Media Fest, due to kick off in Croatia this week.
The festival will take place between 6 and 12 of October, and the theme of the event is ‘The Power of Media.’ A varied program of events is scheduled throughout the week, including thematic discussions, presentations of projects and books, journalism workshops, and various panels. There will also be film and music evenings, a theatre performance, and more.
The event is organized by the Centre for Investigative Journalism, the Municipality of Fazana, and the Tourist Board of Fazana. The main partner of the festival is the Office of the European Parliament in Croatia.
The event is in its third edition, having taken place in 2019 and 2020.
It will bring together journalists and media experts from across the region, including Croatia, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and the United Kingdom.
Exit’s panel will take place on 10 September and will be live-streamed. Co-Editor Alice Taylor will speak alongside Adian White, Founder of the Ethical Journalism Network, Branko Cecen from the Centre for Investigative Reporting in Serbia, Lea Auffarth from the Journalism Trust Initiative at Reporters Without Borders, and Dasa Ilic from the Ethical Journalism Network.
Entitled ‘How to build trust in the media in the Western Balkans,’ they will discuss the Journalism Trust Initiative, which Exit was the first to complete in Albania and the region and one of the first globally.
The process involved completing a self-assessment in an ISO-style format. This included evidence of meeting standards relating to editorial guidelines, transparency, ownership, structure, funding sources, revenue, hiring policies, fact-checking policies, and accountability. These criteria were drawn up by over 100 global media organizations, universities, and specialists in the field.
The second stage of the process was to publish this information publicly for anyone that wishes to view it. You can see the document here. Exit is also having the answers submitted, audited by Deloitte. The results will also be published once the process is complete.
The project aims to support quality journalism in the fight against disinformation, strengthen self-regulation mechanisms to ensure professional standards in media, and pilot Media and Information Literacy (MIL) projects to enhance critical thinking in the region.
“When people lose trust in media, they remain without an important guide in seeking reliable information. The efforts by the media in Serbia and Albania to reinforce that trust by performing ethical audits represent a valuable practice that other media should replicate, also across the region,” said Danica Ilic from the Ethical Journalism Network.
Aidan White, the former General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, a former journalist with The Guardian, and a long-time campaigner for journalist rights, commented on the outcome of Exit’s participation.
“The Exit News commitment to ethics is a guarantee to the public about the quality of its journalism. In these difficult days, people are bombarded with information – much of it false, distorted, and even abusive. To combat these threats, news media must renew their commitment to truth-telling, transparency, and ethical reporting.
Exit News has done just that by setting a standard that all newspeople should follow, not just in Albania, but across the Western Balkans and the European Union.”
“Exit News has taken up the challenge, declaring ‘we have nothing to hide and are ready to speak the truth in the public interest.’ I congratulate them for their pioneering action to build public trust in media.”