REPORTING ON tHE SIGURIMI FILES
21‒22 SEPTEMBER 2017, TIRANA
Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture (IDMC) in collaboration with Authority for Information on Documents of former State Security, OSCE Presence in Albania and Konrad Adenauer Foundation organized on 21-22 September "Reporting on the SIGURIMI Files" workshop.
This workshop is initiated by IDMC and it aims training of the journalists working in different media to learn how to report, contextualize, and interpret the documents of the Secret Service during the Communist regime; in which sources to rely on; the ethical problems that imply this process, etc. "Reporting on the SIGURIMI Files" workshop is conceptualized to be a series of workshops which will continue next year too, because taking into consideration that the process of opening the Sigurimi files is at the beginning, training in this field would serve not only to media, but also increasing transparency from the public and institutions that support projects in this field.
During this workshop journalists had the chance to learn from a closer inspection about the work of the Authority and to compare it with the experience brought from the foreign experts from Romania and Germany because trainers of this workshop were Dagmar Hovestädt from Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany and Dr. Germina Nagat from the Investigation's Department at the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archive in Bucharest brought the experiences from their countries.
Information about the Workshop:
Full program (268 KB)
The activity was opened by IDMC director, Dr. Jonila Godole, who emphasized the importance of "a distanced dealing with the past based on facts and numbers, and not anymore with empty polemics and propaganda". KAS director, Walter Glos expressed that "the way how has been dealt with the Communist past in Albania is followed carefully by the German parliament and in particular by CDU". According to Mr. Glos "public discussion in this topic is hindered in the last decades and it gives the impression that all the parties program has ignored the interests of the former political persecuted".
Meanwhile the OSCE representative, Claudia Vollmer, recalling the finding of 2016 survey "Citizens understanding and perceptions of the Communist past in Albania and the expectations for the future", emphasized the importance of media on the society reflection on the Communist past.
In the first part of the workshop, representatives from the Authority for Information on Documents of former State Security (AIDSSH) presented their work and explained how a journalist or citizen can apply to have access on the archives documents. During the presentation participants were involved in discussions that mainly concerned the importance of maintaining personal data of certain individuals. Journalists became clearer about how to proceed to get information in these archives and where they should be careful about reporting these files.
Representatives of Germany and Romania shared with the participants the cases of their countries that have passed these processes earlier than our country. According to Dagmar Hovestädt, "despite the fact that file opening is happening after 27 years, the information that will emerge will serve not only for scholars, journalists, but also the whole society to see closely how the repressive regime of dictatorship worked". The role of journalists in reporting the information that comes from these files according to her is decisive.
While Romania's representative, Dr. Germina Nagat, bringing her own country experience, showed that "in Romania there are 3 million files of Securitate. In this archive is the story of Romania and it does not matter if you support it or not that period, there you will find everything. By the end of 2016 more than 2,141 Romanians and foreigners have been accepted as researchers in security archives."
In the second day of the workshop journalists that attended this workshop had the opportunity to work concretely in previously selected files and information for the workshop and were trained how to report the data obtained for a mass audience. They worked in groups in these topics:
All the guests from AIDSSH and Germany and Romania unanimously emphasized that reporting from secret service archives should be done carefully and with responsibility because the documents in these archives are formulated and collected for a single purpose: denigration of the regime's opposing persons.
This workshop will be accompanied by other activities in the incoming months. A manual for using the AIDSSH archive and qualitative reporting on files will be prepared for Albanian journalists.
At the end of the workshop, evaluation forms were filled in and the certificates were given to the participants for their contribute in this workshop.
IDMC wants to thank all the participants and the partners that supported this workshop.
Dagmar Hovestädt: Expert from Federal Foundation for the Study of Communist Dictatorship in East Germany.
Dr. Germina Nagat: Director of the Investigation's Department at the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archive in Bucharest.
Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture
Konrad Adenauer Foundation
OSCE Presence in Albania
Authority for Information on Documents of former State Security
Matilda Karçanaj, Project Coordinator
Tel: +355 69 268 7226
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES
WORKSHOP DAY 1, 21 SEPTEMBER 2017
WORKSHOP DAY 2, 22 SEPTEMBER 2017
Information About the Trainers