Vuk Maraš, Executive Director, BIRN Montenegro
Vuk Maraš is the Executive Director of BIRN network’s new member, BIRN Montenegro, set up in 2023. For over three years, he worked as a consultant for BIRN Hub on various projects. He sees his job in BIRN Montenegro more as a duty than as work. In the upcoming months, BIRN Montenegro will produce programs and investigative stories to inform Montenegrin citizens and other stakeholders and hold the government and public officials accountable. Previously he led a Media Association of South-East Europe, and so far, he has an almost 20-year career in the rule of law, anticorruption, and media.
Samir Kajošević, Editor in Chief, BIRN Montenegro
Samir Kajošević is an editor-in-chief of BIRN Montenegro. Previously, for five years he was a Montenegrin correspondent for Balkan Insight, BIRN’s flagship portal in English. Before that, Samir was an editor and journalist in the daily Vijesti for more than 15 years, where he was the editor of the political section.
Jelena Mitrović, Program Manager, BIRN Montenegro
Jelena Mitrović is a program manager at BIRN Montenegro. Jelena is a lawyer by profession, who has over 10 years of professional experience in the public sector and non-profits.
Ivan Ivanović, Journalist, BIRN Montenegro
Ivan Ivanović is a journalist of BIRN Montenegro, who is a graduate of journalism at the Montenegrin Political Science Faculty. Ivan started his journalistic career three years ago, in daily and portal Vijesti. He is an alumnus of the US Department of State. He is currently finishing his master’s studies in journalism.
Nafisa Hasanova, Head of Research, GMR
Nafisa managed Media Ownership Monitor projects in Ukraine (2016), Serbia (2017), Albania (2018), Sri Lanka (2018), India and Pakistan (2019). She was also involved in the Journalism Trust Initiative, from the RSF team. Before joining RSF, Nafisa worked on the Transdniestrian Settlement Process for the Finnish Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) founded by the former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari. Prior to that she worked as policy officer for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia for APRODEV (now ACT Alliance EU), EU Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM) for Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). Nafisa holds an MA in Intercultural Communication and European Studies from the University of Applied Sciences in Fulda, Germany. She completed a BA in English Philology at the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages in Uzbekistan.
Sheley Gomes, Researcher and Project Assistant, GMR
Sheley is a project assistant and researcher currently working for the Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) on the Western Balkans. She is also currently a volunteer at Intervozes, the organization that implemented the Media Ownership Monitor in Brazil, where she previously worked as an advocacy consultant. At Intervozes she has also worked as a researcher in several projects regarding freedom of expression, fake news, media coverage, and media ownership. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Brasilia, a post-grad in Law and Government Affairs by the University Center of Brasilia, and is currently finishing a master’s degree in Media and Area (Central-Eastern European) Studies at Charles University in Prague.
Lea Auffarth, Head of Operations, GMR
Lea coordinates the implementation of the Media Ownership Monitor's editions, and manages some of them directly. Previously, Lea has worked for the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, where she coordinated the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) and headed the development of its IT infrastructure. Other work on media transparency, literacy, and ethics include the ‘Media Ownership Monitor’ (MOM) and Lebanese Samir Kassir Foundation’s ‘Digital Rights Project’. Lea is a trained journalist and has worked with the German public broadcaster WDR as well as regional press. She holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from King’s College London.
Olaf Steenfadt, Global Project Director, GMR
Olaf heads the "Media Ownership Monitor" project and the "Journalism Trust Initiative" at the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, RSF. For many years, he has been engaged as a consultant and coach in media development cooperation. Mandates of international organizations and NGOs lead him primarily to Southeast Europe and the Arab world. He previously worked for national German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF in various roles, including as a radio and TV presenter, investigative reporter, domestic and foreign correspondent, as well as in format development and corporate communication. Olaf is a member of the "High-level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation" of the European Commission and of the "Committee of Experts on Quality of Journalism in the Digital Age" at the Council of Europe. He teaches frequently at universities in Germany and Europe.
BIRN Montenegro is the newest member of the BIRN Network. It was founded at the end of 2022, while formal operations started in late spring 2023. It was created to meet the need for a constant decline in quality journalism in Montenegro and topics covered by media and organizations dealing with investigative journalism. Another motive was to establish capacity building of local media to build their resilience towards more aggressive acquisitions of all relevant Montenegrin media, primarily by the large media groups from the region.
Global Media Registry
The Global Media Registry (GMR) collects, compiles and provides – either publicly available or self-reported – datasets and contextual information on media outlets around the world.
In doing so, the objective is to enhance transparency, accountability and responsibility in the information space. Thus, the GMR facilitates better choices and decision making, both algorithmic and human, of all stakeholders. These may include every citizen and consumer, regulators and donors, as well as the private sector – for example advertisers and intermediaries (a. k. a. platforms and distributors).
By providing this public service as a social enterprise, the Global Media Registry contributes to the advancement of the freedoms of information and expression at large.
It was founded as a spin-off from the Media Ownership Monitor project, which it now operates as a non-for-profit LLC registered under German law.