SEENPM at Fažana Media Fest: Premiere of documentary “The burden of experience” and event on Women War Reporters

Fourth Fažana Media Fest is set to begin today in a small Croatian town Fažana. With this year’s main topic “Women and the media”, the festival brings numerous workshops, exhibitions, performance, film screenings and sessions that celebrate women in journalism.

Visitors of Fažana Media Fest, which takes place between 5 and 11 September, will be able to attend a rich festival program focused on contribution of women journalists to the profession throughout history and current challenges they face when trying to do their job. Among more than 20 festival events SEENPM will premiere the documentary “The burden of experience” and host a panel discussion titled “Women War Reporters – Experiences from Ukraine and BiH”*.

“The burden of experience”, a new documentary produced by SEENPM and Mediacentar Sarajevo within the “Resilience”** project, deals with threats to and harassment of women journalists in the Western Balkans. The film follows three journalists: Serbeze Haxhiaj, an investigative journalist from Kosovo, Nataša Kovačev, TV journalist from Serbia and Vanja Stokić, editor and online journalist from Bosnia and Herzegovina. All three are frequently exposed to threats because of their journalistic work.

Photo: The Burden of Experience

“Position of women in journalism is specific, and, as the film indicates, journalism is not an easy profession for either men or women. However, a heavy burden of experience of sexism, underestimation, intimidation and rape threats is reserved for women”, says the director, Sabrina Begović.

That women journalists often face additional harassment based on their gender, believes Tihomir Loza, SEENPM executive director. It has escalated in recent years, online in particular, and many women journalists now tend to see threats and harassment as part of the job.

“What organisations such as SEENPM members can do is help focus the minds of editors, regulators, lawmakers, prosecutors, police as well as the general public on this urgent issue”, added Loza.

The film screening, followed by discussion with Haixhiaj, Kovačev and Stokić moderated by Maida Muminović of Mediacentar Sarajevo, is scheduled for Friday 9th September at 18:00.

SEENPM will host another panel, “Women War Reporters – Experiences from Ukraine and BiH” on Saturday 10th September at 17:30. Three women journalists, Anastasia Stanko and Yaroslava Tymoshchuk from Ukraine and Aida Čerkez from Bosnia, will share their experience of working in war-affected zones.

Anastasia Stanko is a journalist, TV presenter and member of the “Stop censorship” movement, an anti-censorship group of journalists and media organizations in Ukraine. In 2018 she received the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. One year later, she was awarded by the International Women Media Foundation for courage in journalism. Yaroslava Tymoshchuk has been working as a journalist and editor in various Ukrainian newsrooms covering primarily social topics. She is based in Kyiv writing articles for media outlets such as,, Local History etc. Aida Čerkez is an editor at Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). Previously, she was head of the Associated Press bureau in Sarajevo for 24 years. The discussion will be moderated by Brankica Petković of SEENPM member Peace Institute, Ljubljana.

“With this event, SEENPM is hoping to examine what the wars in Bosnia and Ukraine – which in many ways define two eras in European modern history – revealed and/or changed about the role and position of women reporters”, said Tihomir Loza.

This year’s festival will host numerous guests, lecturers, journalists and media workers from across Europe. Festival coordinator, Saša Leković, explains that each festival day offers an exciting selection of events.

“If I have to single out something, let it be guest appearance of a journalist Alexandra Pascalidou who came to Sweden from Greece as a child and became the best investigative journalist in that country despite all the obstacles of being woman and immigrant. I would also like to mention Parvin Aldaran from Sweden who spent three years in prison in her home country Iran for establishing a first woman blog and online women network.”

Fažana Media Fest is organized by Investigative Journalism Centre Croatia and co-organized by Municipality of Fažana, Tourist Association of Fažana, Informo, Media Diversity Institute and SEENPM. Entry to all festival events is free.

*The panel discussion “Women War Reporters – Experiences from Ukraine and BiH” is organized in collaboration with IFEX.


Funded by the European Union

The regional program RESILIENCE: Civil society action to reaffirm media freedom and counter disinformation and hateful propaganda in Western Balkans and Turkey’ is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by partner organizations SEENPMAlbanian Media InstituteMediacentar Sarajevo, Kosovo 2.0Montenegrin Media InstituteMacedonian Institute for MediaNovi Sad School of JournalismPeace Institute and Bianet.

This article was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of SEENPM and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.