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25 June 2010

Certificates Presented to Local Community Reporters

On completion of the final training session for local community court reporters, USAID Head of Mission Alan Reed has presented certificates to reporters who have successfully completed the training course.

The Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, with the support of USAID's Programme on Judicial Sector Development, has completed a four-month training course for 30 journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina reporting on war-crimes trials conducted before cantonal and district courts.

On completion of the training course, the journalists were awarded certificates. In the coming period some of the journalists will be given an opportunity to become BIRN correspondents reporting on war-crimes trials in their towns.

"It is a great pleasure to see journalists coming from various towns in our country gathered in one place. They have shown courage in becoming involved in coming to terms with the past and in war-crimes reporting. The goal of the training course we have organized has been to convey expertise on professional, objective and responsible reporting and, by doing so, to ensure the transparency of trials conducted before local judicial institutions," BIRN Director Anisa Suceska Vekic said.

Alan Reed said he hoped the reporting on war-crimes trials conducted befor local courts would be improved with the help of this training course and other USAID and BIRN initiatives.

"Independent and objective reporting can help improve relations between the public and the media and the transparency of courts, and can contribute to better understanding of the process among the general public. The media and judiciary are natural allies in building a democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina," Reed said.

The education programme began at the end of March 2010 with the aim of educating journalists on covering war-crimes trials conducted in local courts, as the process of referring "less sensitive cases" to cantonal and district courts and the Brcko District Court has begun.

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