Youth Trail 2021 Brings Together Young Journalists from Western Balkans

TIRANA The RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania joined the OSCE Presence in Albania, the Municipality of Tirana and the National Youth Agency of Albania, in  organizing the 4th edition of “Youth Trail 2021: Youth and Media in focus”, that took place from 10 to 14 October 2021.

This year’s program gathered 18 young journalists from the Western Balkans to discuss media challenges across the region and brainstorm on ways of tackling them. The young journalists worked together to develop a document – Tirana Media Platform – where they recognized the importance and urgency of tackling some of the most pressing media issues, such as low ethical standards, limited self-regulation, low level of media literacy, fake news and disinformation, limited possibilities for gatekeeping, poor working conditions, and lack of safety and protection particularly for women journalists. 

This document was put forward in the context of the 8th Annual South East Europe Media Conference – “Journalism in times of crisis”, organized by the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in co-operation with the OSCE Presence in Albania, in Tirana, on 11 and 12 October 2021. 

During their time in Tirana, the young motivated journalists were greeted by the RYCO Secretary General Mr Albert Hani, and together enjoyed a dinner hosted by RYCO. In the continuation of the program, the participants were introduced to the work of RYCO and especially to the work done with students of journalists, by the Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Albania Mr Keshnik Loka and RYCO Outreach and Youth Info Platform Specialist Ms Majda Balić.

Mr Loka and Ms Balić held an interesting conversation with the participants with inputs from the RYCO Shared Futures Study. At the end of the session the Youth Trailers were invited to become an active part of the HAJDE platform, a new meeting place for all young people interested in opportunities and news.

In the course of the five day program, besides getting to know each other and the city of Tirana, young people had the chance to meet and discuss with the Minister of State for Youth and Children Ms Bora Muzhaqi, Mayor of Tirana Mr Erion Veliaj, General Director of National Youth Agency  Ms Kleina Kasanai, Secretary General of RYCO Mr Albert Hani, Dutch Ambassador in Albania Mr Reinout Vos, as well as the OSCE Representative of Freedom of the Media Ms Teresa Ribeiro, and Head of OSCE Presence Mr Vincenzo Del Monaco.

They also visited the former political prison of Spaç and listened to testimonies from Albania’s communist past as a reminder that freedom and freedom of the media are not to be taken for granted.

“Youth Trail” is now in its fourth edition, engaging and connecting young people from the Western Balkans region by discussing OSCE youth values, democracy, security, peace, and regional cooperation. This year’s program is organized with the support of the Austrian Development Agency, the embassies of Greece and Italy in Albania. 

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