Latest News from Transitions (TOL)

Transitions Newsletter, November 2011

Transitions is a Prague-based media development organization with a mission of actively championing democracy, pluralism, and freedom of expression. We do this by strengthening the professionalism, independence, and impact of media and civil society organizations, with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union.

Past Events

Egyptians in Prague: Learning From the Transition for Their Transition

Together with the Prague-based Association for International Affairsand the Czech Embassy in Cairo, Transitions organized a study visit to Prague for 10 Egyptian journalists between 24 and 31 October. Within the visit’s program, the participants attended a four-day workshop on election reporting, with European and Czech trainers. Sessions covered issues such as achieving accuracy, impartiality, and balance; interviewing techniques; working with statistics and opinion polls; and using social networks in election reporting and cooperation between the media and election monitors. The lead election reporting trainer was Nicholas Nugent, a former BBC foreign affairs correspondent who now works as an independent consultant and trainer in broadcasting and journalism, specializing in news reporting and management. 

The visit, which partly focused on transferring the Czech experiences of the transition to democracy, also included a series of meetings with Czech journalists, civil society activists, and politicians, including the European Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Fule. This program was supported by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How Free the Media?

TOL Executive Director Jeremy Druker participated in a panel discussion in Poland on the independence of the media in Central Europe. Other panelists included Stefan Hrib, editor in chief and founder of the Slovak weekly Tyzden, and Dominik Ksieski, publisher of a Polish local newspaper and president of the Polish Association of Local Newspapers. The debate was moderated by Michal Olszanski, a well-known radio and television journalist, and featured a wide-ranging discussion on the political and financial pressures on the region’s media, topics neglected by the media, and the quality of today’s reporting. The meeting was organized by Ashokaand served as an opportunity for Ashoka’s “News & Knowledge” fellows in Central Europe to meet and speak about cooperating on cross-border projects. Last year, Jeremywas named an Ashoka Fellow in recognition of TOL’s media development work across Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. 

Featured Content

Transitions Online ( often showcases the work produced through our grant programs.  Some of the highlights from October include the following stories:

31 October 2011
The Strange Tale of the Russian Blogger Who Hot-Footed It Out of Moldova
Fugitive Eduard Bagirov says a political vendetta was behind his four-month detention.
By Zakhar Koretsky

28 October 2011
Children in Training for a Deprived Life
A vicious circle of poverty, migration, and limited state resources condemns many Moldovan children to life on the fringes of society.
By Diana Lungu

13 October 2011
A Plea for Justice in Georgia
Does Georgia’s reliance on plea bargains help resolve criminal cases more quickly and cheaply or just legalize injustice?
By Eka Chitanava

6 October 2011
The Changing Face of Trafficking in Moldova
Authorities are detecting some subtle shifts in a very old problem.
By Grigore Brinza

27 October 2011
The Yahoos and Bullies Who Wear White Coats
Add humiliation, even beatings, to the list of things a Russian hospital patient has to worry about.
By Galina Stolyarova

26 October 2011
Education Reform Advances and Retreats in Croatia
Legislation and protests marked the latest battle in the war for control of the country’s universities.
By Irena Jurjevic

Coming Up in January

In January, TOL will once again offer its popular foreign correspondent training course. This intensive, nine-day course will show participants how to break into international reporting, mixing classroom training sessions from top foreign reporters with a practical reporting exercise – researching, writing  and filing an actual story from Prague. The course is open to all, while scholarships will be provided through TOL’s grant programs to allow some top journalists to attend for free.

Success Story

A Rising New Media Expert

One of TOL’s star alumni of our program in Azerbaijan is well on his way to becoming an established trainer himself. Ulvi Telmansoy is a journalist from Ganja who has worked for Alternativ TV, a local TV station; the international journalism organization IWPR; nationwide ANS TV; and the online news site Two years ago, Ulvi attended a new media workshop in the western city of Ganja and got hooked. “TOL training was the first training in new media in our city,” he says. “I gained the very first information from that training on social and new media, which helped me a lot.” He went on to attend other workshops and to broaden his knowledge through his own Internet research. Now Ulvi is providing workshops to NGOs in Ganja and recently became an online multimedia trainer for the Eurasia Partnership Foundation. He will be delivering training in five of Azerbaijan’s regions. Congratulations!

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