UNESCO supports capacity building of Press Council in Pristina

UNESCO has organized a one-day training seminar for the staff members of the Secretariat of the Press Council of Kosovo (PCK) in Pristina on 16 May 2016. It was aimed to improve the drafting of PCK’s decisions when adjudicating complaints regarding potential violation of the professional code of ethics.

“Our Press Council has decided to react to several criticisms it has received highlighting that our decisions and rulings should be written in a more user-friendly language,” said Qerim Ondozi, Public Relation Officer of PCK.

The training program was based on the recommendations of UNESCO’s needs-assessment report regarding press councils in the region. The report was published in 2015 and recommended to improve some of the Councils’ rulings, specifically pointing out that “there is sometimes a lack of detail in the explanation of whether and how the Code has been breached.”

At the training, decisions taken by PCK during the last two years were discussed. PCK receives on average 40 complaints per year. Decisions against the complaints are made by the Board and are then made public by the Secretariat of PCK.

Training highlighted the need for PCK’s decisions to be more descriptive, in particular to include a background section where the foundations and context of the complaints are outlined. Using the examples of their counterparts in Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the trainer Zenun Ҫelaj, editor-in-chief of the online news portal koha.net, highlighted how to bring clarity to and to boost the credibility of the decisions of the self-regulatory body.

This training seminar was organized as part of the UNESCO EU-funded project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey. Nehat Islami, Executive Director of PCK, Nora Behluli, complaint officer, and Qerim Ondozi, PR officer, took part in the training.