Internews’ Journalist Security Fellowship (JSF), which upskills journalists in digital security and helps them bolster the security of local journalist communities, initially worked solely with journalists and independent media outlets in six Central European countries. Given the wider need for quality journalist digital security education in the wider region, it has since expanded to also cover three Southeastern European countries–Albania, Bulgaria, and Croatia.
Working with over a dozen fellows from the three countries, the Internews team built upon the results of a previous journalist security needs assessment, followed by digital security workshops in Zagreb in October 2022. After those workshops, fellows organized local awareness-raising engagements within their communities.
Additionally, many fellows opted in to continue on to the second stage of the fellowship, during which they learned how to organize, facilitate, and measure the impact of scenario-based trainings, which leverage the interactive elements of virtual reality (VR), tabletop exercises, and technical simulations.
This cohort of fellows represents the diversity of journalists working across the region. We are excited to introduce some of the JSF fellows who come from Albania, Bulgaria, and Croatia below:
- Albana Agolli is an Albanian TV journalist with a career dating back to 2007, when she started working as an anchorwoman and reporter in the Albanian Public Television (RTSH). Her contributions have been instrumental in the realm of investigative journalism, notably through the program “31 Minutes.” Additionally, she worked as the editor-in-chief of the political talk show “Përballë” for five years. Her journalistic impact extends beyond TV, having published investigative stories on ina.media. She graduated with a master degree in Media Management and is fluent in English and Italian.
- Alma Janka graduated in journalism at the Faculty of History and Philology in Tirana and has worked in the media since 1999. She has worked mainly in television, but also in radio and print media. She is currently part of the Media Information Directorate (The Agency for Media and Information- Council of Ministers), and is a specialist in the directorate for media and information, structure of the Council of Ministers.
- Pavla Stefanova has more than 20 years’ experience in the media field in Bulgaria. She used to work for national and regional Bulgarian televisions and news outlets, and since 2020 she is a radio host. For some time she worked in Bratislava (Slovakia), where she had the chance to meet with leading business professionals and to organize conferences in various European cities. She is the author of numerous short documentaries on social issues, and video editing has been her longtime passion. Pavla is a media literacy trainer for the Bulgarian Media Literacy Coalition.
- Mityo Marinov is a young journalist. Since 2022, he has been part of the team of bTV. He works as a political reporter and host of the weekend morning show. He gained experience in journalism in the print media – the daily newspaper “24 hours”, where he started working as a student of journalism. He graduated from Sofia University, where he also holds a master’s degree in Public Relations. He loves to tell stories in every way, so he also works as a screenwriter for various series and shows.
- Iliana Balabanova is a President of the European Women’s Lobby, the biggest umbrella organisation at the EU level that unites over 2000 Women’s association from Europe. She has more than 25 years of experience in field of gender equality and women’s rights, with a focus on gender-based violence including domestic violence, gender stereotypes, sexism, women’s participation in decision-making processes, women and the media, etc. Over the years, she has been engaged in various activities and positions, including as a researcher, lecturer, project manager of national and international projects. She is also a national expert at the Observatory against Violence against Women at the EWL and a member of various advisory councils and expert groups at the national and international level.
- Assia Chaneva has over 20 years’ experience as a journalist, and currently focuses on human rights, society, diversity, the environment, climate change, biodiversity, and science. She is also a member of the Oxford Journalism Climate Network (OJCN). Assia has previously reported from the COP23 United Nations Climate Change Conference, participating as a fellow from the 2017 Climate Change Media Program organized by the Internews Earth Journalism Network. She has received many awards for her reporting, including from the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, the International Radio and Television Union, and the Bulgarian Platform for International Development.
- Monika Kutri is a project manager and journalist safety officer at the Croatian Journalists’ Association, where she focuses on the Safe Journalists network. This network records attacks and threats against journalists, and every year compiles an Index of Journalists’ Safety as well as Indicators of the Level of Media Freedom and Safety of Journalists in the Western Balkans. Monika joined JSF to further improve and upgrade her knowledge and skills in the field of journalist safety so that she can better serve journalists in Croatia.
- Anja Vladisavljević is a Croatian journalist and degreed historian. Since 2015, she worked for different media outlets, among them the Croatian edition of Le Monde Diplomatique and the regional website Bilten. She gained reporting experience as the correspondent of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and as a journalist at investigative website Oštro. She’s interested in topics like women’s and minorities’ rights, labour issues, healthcare, education, and many others.
- Kristian Došen is a Zagreb-based journalist. He worked as an investigative TV reporter, anchor, and editor on national TV stations. Now he writes for Telegram, an online media outlet. Kristian is also a lecturer in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Zagreb. He specializes in researching and writing about corruption, transparency, politics, and public tenders.
- Ana Malbasa Major is an award-winning investigative journalist from Croatia with many years of experience working in the press, on the web and on television. She is currently working as a TV reporter in an investigative show called “Provjereno”, which is broadcast on Nova TV. She is particularly interested in investigating abuses of power, corruption, and human rights violations both within Croatia and in other countries. For the latter, she frequently cooperates with journalists from around the world.