Journalist Leonard Bakillari was awarded first prize in the second EU Investigative Journalism Award contest in Albania, for his article on corruption in the judiciary system, published by reporter.al news portal in 2015.
Second prize went to Ornela Liperi of magazine “Monitor” for her article on the financial crisis and debt situation of business companies in Albania.
The award for best story by young investigative journalist was given to Habjon Hasani for his TV report on the petroleum concession and its effects on economy, in the framework of the program “Të Paekspozuarit” of Ora News TV.
Award ceremony was held on May 12th, 2016, at Tirana Times Bookshop, Tirana. A total of 29 investigative stories were nominated for this year’s EU Award in Albania, 18 of which from journalists under 35. Jury consisted of five prominent media professionals and civil society representatives: Aleksander Cipa, head of Union of Albanian Journalists and jury chair, Lutfi Dervishi, media expert, Ani Ruci, Deutsche Welle correspondent, Rrapo Zguri, professor of journalism, and Lavdrim Lita, member of EU Policy HUB.
“Freedom of expression and freedom of the media implies a commitment to democracy, good governance and political accountability. These are some of prerequisites for a country to become part of the EU and one of the reasons why each of you play such an important role in creating EU standards,” said Jan Rudolph, Head of Political, Economic and Information Section announcing the EU Investigative Journalism Awards.
Aleksander Cipa, chair of the jury, pointed out the difficulties that investigative journalists face, at a time when their job is of particular importance to our societies. However, he considered it a good sign that the number of nominations for the award has increased, along with the fact that most journalists are young, which bodes well for the future of investigative journalism in the country. In addition, he pointed out that the broad range of topics covered in the nominated articles and TV stories also indicates the good efforts of investigative journalists in the country.
The EU award for investigative journalism will be given each year in the period of three years in each of seven EU-Enlargement countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, rewarding the investigative journalistic work published in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Investigative stories contributing to transparency and reporting on societal issues related to abuse of power and fundamental rights, corruption and organized crime that otherwise would not have been brought to the public’s attention qualify for the award.
Photo: Albanian Media Institute
The article was originally published by South East European Media Observatory.