The Central European Initiative and the South East Europe Media Organisation , in special partnership with the Media Program South East Europe of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung , have announced the winners of the “CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism 2016”: Lindita Çela in the section “Professional Journalists” and Artsiom Harbatsevich in the section “Young Professional Journalists”.
Lindita Çela, an investigative journalist at the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) in Albania, has been awarded for her overall professional achievements and hard-hitting investigations exposing corruption scandals in the highest levels of power as well as revelations on Albania’s organised crime networks, stretching from the Accursed Mountains to the streets of Brussels. For over more than 15 years of experience as a reporter, she has been covering complex stories with a huge impact in Albanian society, showing impressive courage and determination.
Artsiom Harbatsevich, a young journalist from Minsk, Belarus, with working experiences at Intex-press and Nasha Niva, has been awarded for his activity as investigative reporter producing some works having great impact and repercussions in his country. In particular, in one investigation, he examined the pro-Russian paramilitary groups receiving support from Russian funds, while in another work he exposed the channel through which Belarusian teenagers from a border region were taken to military training in Russia.
Çela and Harbatsevich will officially receive the awards offered by the CEI (4,000 EUR and 1,000 EUR respectively) on the occasion of the X South East Europe Media Forum in Belgrade, Serbia, on 21-22 November 2016.
A Special Mention has been assigned to Iurie Sănduță, director of RISE Moldova and member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). As a specialist in cross-border investigations, coordinating the investigation department at Ziarul de Gardă in Chișinău, his work is also well-known in the Romanian media, especially in recent years, when he revealed several high-level corruption schemes, disclosing the criminal organisation and making connections in offshore areas. He is the co-author of the investigative border projects "A Murderer's Trail" and "The Russian Laundromat”.
35 nominations, covering 12 countries, have been submitted this year, confirming the region-wide impact and relevance of the Award.
The independent international jury, who decides by majority voting, included: Aleksandra Bogdani (Albania), editor for Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN); Saša Leković (Croatia), investigative journalist, trainer and media advisor in SEE countries, president of Investigative Journalism Center, president of Croatian Journalists’ Association; Luka Zanoni (Italy), editor-in-chief, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso; Marina Constantinoiu (Romania), journalist/editor-in-chief, miscareaderezistenta.ro; Anna Babinets (Ukraine), editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and co-founder of Slidstvo.
The overall Award coordination was managed by Barbara Fabro (CEI) and Oliver Vujovic (SEEMO).
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