The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) in Sarajevo is unique in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first organization of its kind to be established in Balkans. CIN is dedicated to investigative reporting, aimed toward providing fair and unbiased information, based on evidences and solid proof, to BiH citizens who need to make educated decisions.
Our work focuses on organized crime and corruption and the negative effect they have on the lives of ordinary citizens. We put out investigative projects and stories on topics that include education, health, sports, employment, politics, illegal trading in tobacco and drugs, illegal drugs and documents, and financial fraud.
CIN was started in 2004 with a USAID grant and technical assistance and support from the New York University School of Journalism and the Journalism Development Group. Today, CIN is an independent media agency; its investigative pieces are regularly published by local and regional media in printed and electronic formats. CIN stories are published on major web portals in BiH and in the region, and the number of individual visitors on www.cin.ba is increasing.
CIN work is available for free to all partner organizations that credit CIN as their source.
The center cooperates with a number of distinguished media outlets world-wide and its stories have appeared in print form in the Guardian, Time, Der Spiegel, Washington Post, and on radio and TV stations including ZDF, BBC, and Deutsche Welle. CIN work is regularly published by the most prominent media outlets of Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro. In addition, they are distributed through Radio Free Europe / TV Liberty. CIN has done much work with one of the leading associations of investigative journalists in the world – the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The center also is a founding member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which brings together independent investigative reporters and organizations throughout South East Europe and Central Asia on journalistic investigations.
CIN produces documentaries and video materials in support of its investigative articles. These are broadcasted through public and independent TV stations in BiH.
The CIN team is composed of 18 people who come from part of BiH with experience in different media. Two international editors serve as advisors to local editors who are charged with maintaining international standards in work and continuous staff training.
CIN is funded through grants from international donors. The intention is to develop a sustainable news product that attracts revenues to cover a part of organizational expenses.
CIN has won an impressive number of prestigious awards.
CIN is an independent media investigation organisation founded with the aim of disseminating international standards of investigative journalism. By complying with these standards, we aim to inform citizens about important issues by presenting accurate and verified information, thus informing their decisions relevant to the functioning of a democratic society.
Reporters must always strive for objectivity. CIN reporters include in their stories the viewpoints of as many sides as possible. In this way, we enable the subjects under the attack to present their defense, not allowing anyone to attack another person hiding behind anonymity. CIN reporters try to be aware of their biases so as not to let them seep into their stories. The texts shall be thoroughly researched and shall include any details or facts that may influence the readers. We will try to always be balanced in our reporting, but this does not mean that everyone will get the same attention, importance, and position in the story.
CIN strives for the highest degree of accuracy in its stories. Accuracy does not just mean getting all the facts right but providing detailed and complete context. We also try to accurately convey the tone of a meeting, conversation, or statement. We must shape our words so that they reflect not what was said, but what the interlocutor was aiming to say. We try to give neither more nor less weight to the questions than they deserve. We do not use rumors and speculations. If we make a mistake, we will admit it publicly. Once we learn of the mistake, we will correct it quickly, without covering it up. Also, we will seek to clarify any unclear story.
CIN strives to make its texts clear and concise for everyone. We do not assume that everyone knows the background of the controversy or who the people we are talking about are. Giving context means that even the casual reader would be able to follow and understand the complex issues we are talking about. We create stories that have a structure, a beginning, a middle, and an end. We will do our best to fully understand the topic we cover because if it is not clear to us, it will not be clear to the readers either. We need to tell them not only what we know, but also what we do not know.
CIN reporters strive to write stories that will leave an impression on readers who would wish to read or watch them, while not compromising any standards. Therefore, CIN uses a narrative organized in a logical and simple story structure, and offers easy-to-understand descriptions through videos, graphics, and photography, in an attempt to make the stories interesting and easy to read.
CIN targets the BiH readership. We try to write about issues that matter to people from the readers’ point of view. Although sometimes our stories are about difficult topics such as corruption and organised crime, we try to explain to our readers how this concerns them.
CIN is determined to invest its time and resources to ensure that its reporters fully understand the diverse and complex topics they cover. We want our stories to have the depth of a research necessary for readers to fully understand and form their own opinions about what matters to them.
CIN is aware of the important public role it plays and is accountable to its readers and viewers. We try to identify their needs and convey their voice when we collect information. We disseminate what we find in full, no matter how difficult, shameful, or hurtful information may be for the state, individual, or organisation. People have the right to know.
CIN is a non-profit organisation without political ambitions. It does not accept money or favors from political parties, politicians, businessmen, or other people who try to influence media content. It does not support or stand with any political party. It has no political aim or ambition, other than to educate people to represent their interests through civic action, voting, and engagement.
CIN holds that using a balanced and respectful tone to the subjects of our investigation is very important. We do not incite violent emotions in people. Our stories are not meant to offend people or organisations. We do not use sarcastic or bitter comments. Instead, we try to convey accurate information, which is underpinned by documentation and interviews. We believe that readers and viewers prefer to spend their time reading about important topics that concern them.
CIN reporters shall maintain the highest ethical level at all times. During reporting, reporters shall not lie, steal, misrepresent, threaten, or intimidate sources. CIN does not pay sources for information, nor does it accept money or favors for publishing stories. CIN tries to avoid not only a conflict of interest but also an impression of a conflict of interest. CIN reporters do not accept gifts.
CIN advocates and defends the rights of freedom of speech and the right to freedom of access to information, regardless of whether our own or the rights of others. In this way, we stand for open and transparent government and free media. We will bring to light the abuse of these rights by those who want to harm the public.
In our texts, we try to present the truth as best as we can. We are not trying to change society except by advocating the right to freedom of speech, media, and transparency. We are not lawyers, prosecutors, judges, or law enforcement officers. We do not lobby the authorities. Our job is to provide unbiased and accurate information, and then leave it to the mechanisms of civil society to act, be it citizens, courts, police, or authorities. If these forces do not act or are not allowed to act, we will try to understand why this is happening and inform the public thereon. We hold that there is an inevitable conflict between advocacy and unbiased telling of the truth. CIN hence limits itself to telling the truth.
Bosnia and Herzegovina based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) is the first investigative media to obtain the Journalism Trust Initiative certification, confirming its ethical practices and compliance with international reliability standards.
To achieve the certification CIN has successfully passed the 3 steps of the Journalism Trust Initiative mechanism, answered the 130 criteria of the international standard and confirmed its applications in the newsroom thanks to an independent audit with Deloitte.
Trustworthy mechanism based on an ISO-type standard, the Journalism Trust Initiative, initiated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has been developed by a panel of 130 international experts under the aegis of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and published as Workshop Agreement CWA 17493 to reward trustworthy journalism and compliance with professional norms.
“We, at CIN, believe journalism should be fact-based, unbiased and trustworthy, aimed toward providing our readers with truthful information. It was important to us to go through the JTI evaluation process to make sure standards we apply in our work are ethical and professional, and we are delighted to be part of the group of global media leaders”, Leila Bičakčić, executive director of Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN)