Source description last updated: 19 September 2017 (end of coverage info added 2020)

In brief: The Balkan Insight is the online publication of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), producing in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on political, economic and social themes.

Coverage on
News (Media)
Regular coverage ended 2020. Before that: Covered daily on, for countries of priorities A-C.

“BIRN strives to empower people to access their rights, by providing accurate and relevant information and creating opportunities for them to participate in democratic processes.” (BIRN website: Vision and Mission, undated)

“BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the London-based Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. As part of that process, IWPR’s original Balkans team was entrusted with the task of taking local ownership for that programme and making it sustainable, in the light of the changing realities in the region.
Since then, its work in publishing, media training and promoting public debate has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.  […] Through the production of Balkan Insight […]  the network trains local and regional journalists, demanding the highest international standards.” (BalkanInsight website: About BIRN, undated)

BIRN’s mission is “to build and strengthen a dedicated, close-knit team of journalists across the Balkans, probing and analysing key transition issues and the process of European integration for policy-makers and the public at large. BIRN is taking steps towards self-sustainability, while also striving to secure its position as the premier Balkan investigative and analytical journalism organization. As part of that process, it addresses the need for objective, balanced and comprehensive reporting of the highest standard on the region's key political and economic challenges, many of which arise from pursuing the goal of EU integration. […] The BIRN Hub and member-organisations pool their skills, knowledge and resources, seeking in the process to become more self-sufficient, effective and sustainable centres for journalistic excellence, results-oriented training and public dialogue. […]
In the absence of good-quality, easily-comprehensible news journalism, and of region-wide Western Balkans think-tanks, BIRN provides something which fills both gaps. In this way, a culture of accountability, consultation and responsibility in policy-making is nurtured by the BIRN Network. BIRN seeks to improve its outreach, by building and developing its websites, increasing and targeting the dissemination of its reports, and conducting at least one topical debate per month.” (BalkanInsight website: About BIRN, undated)

“We are funded by a range of international governments, Non Governmental Organisations and charitable funds with an interest in the region.” (BalkanInsight website: BalkanInsight, undated)

63 per cent of BIRN’s income in 2015 came from Western governments or governmental agencies. (see BIRN website: Annual Report 2015,  undatd, p. 44)

A list of BIRN (thus BalkanInsight’s) donors can be found here:
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia
Thematic focus: EU integration, post-conflict justice and peace-building, political transformation and democratisation, economic development, international intervention, social trends and regional cooperation

“BIRN consists of individual member-organisations, registered in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. Together, these organisations pool their resources, connecting their growing teams of specialist journalists – local reporters and analysts – who are trained and supported to produce top-quality, timely and relevant coverage. The regular output of analyses and reporting, Balkan Insight, is frequently backed up with public debates and other events. […]
In addition, the independent, non-governmental BIRN member-organisations engage in relevant local media development projects. In Bosnia, this means training on war crimes reporting; in Serbia, on minority journalism; and in Kosovo, producing televised debates on current affairs. In Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania the emphasis is on reporting on the process of European Union integration and membership challenges.
The regional activities of the Network, such as editorial, training, operational and development work, are coordinated through the BIRN ‘Hub’, registered in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The BIRN Hub serves to coordinate use by members of common resources, such as trainers, editors and BIRN’s websites.
[…] Local journalists and analysts are engaged to produce Balkan Insight reports, each of which goes through a rigorous editorial process. By demanding the highest standards of clarity, accuracy and objectivity, editors provide 'on the job' training and guidance to these journalists.
This is reinforced with occasional training workshops, whereby particular needs identified through the editorial process are given greater attention.
Training sessions on investigative journalism for more experienced members of BIRN's teams go deeper into essential elements of this discipline, with courses covering organised crime and corruption, following a paper trail and dealing with libel issues.” (BalkanInsight website: About BIRN, undated)

Language(s) of publications:
All links accessed 19 September 2017.

Methodological note:'s source descriptions contain background information on an organisation’s mission & objective, funding and reporting methodology, as well as on how we cover the source. The descriptions were prepared after researching publicly accessible information within time constraints. Most information contained in a source description was taken from the source itself. The aim is to provide a brief introduction to the sources covered regularly, offering information on relevant aspects in one place in a systematic manner.