The 2016 calls for nominations within regional scheme of EU awards for investigative journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey are being announced during March 2016, with the aim to reward the best investigative stories published in 2015. Seven separate award calls are being published in each of the countries where the contest is organised: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
The EU award regional scheme for investigative journalism in Western Balkans and Turkey was established by the European Commission, DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement, following the EU Enlargement strategy, which recognizes a strong need to ensure freedom of expression in the media and to support investigative journalism to monitor the reform processes and to keep the historical momentum towards the EU accession.
The overall goal of the award is to celebrate and promote outstanding achievements of investigative journalists and to improve the visibility of quality investigative journalism in the region.
Investigative stories contributing to transparency and reporting on societal issues related to abuse of power and fundamental rights, corruption and organised crime, which otherwise would not have been brought to the public’s attention, qualify for the award.
Besides the general categories for best investigative stories, the 2016 calls seek nominations for a special award in each country to the best young investigative journalist for extraordinary achievements in 2015.
Annual award fund for each country is 10 000 euro;
3000- 5000 euro per individual prize is to be awarded.
The exception, in 2016, is Serbia where the annual fund this year is 15,000 euro since in that country the jury decided last year to award only the first prize, while the remaining funds have been transferred to the 2016 contest.
The independent jury in each country will select the award winners based on the common selection and award criteria such as relevance of the investigative story, quality, impartiality, originality and journalist’s professional commitment and integrity. If necessary, additional criteria of impact will be also taken into consideration. The European Commission has approved the selection criteria and the EU Delegations are approving the juries in each country. Main steps in the award contest preparations, launching and implementation are also coordinated with the European Commission and EU Delegations.
The award is being organised for the second time. In 2015, twenty-eight journalists in seven countries were awarded for nineteen investigative stories published in 2014.
The EU award regional scheme administration
The award scheme is administered by the regional partnership of civil society organisations in the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey, which was selected for that task by the European Commission. It includes the following partner organisations in the countries where the EU investigative journalism awards are presented:
- Albanian Media Institute, Tirana, Albania
- Media and Civil Society Foundation “Mediacentar“, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Press Council of Kosovo, Pristina, Kosovo*
- Macedonian Institute for Media, Skopje, Macedonia
- Montenegro Media Institute, Podgorica, Montenegro
- Novi Sad School of Journalism, Novi Sad, Serbia, and
- Platform24 (P24), Istanbul, Turkey,
The partners administering the EU awards for investigative journalism are simultaneously implementing the Phase 2 of the regional project “South East European Media Observatory – Building Capacities and Coalitions for Monitoring Media Integrity and Advancing Media Reforms”.
Information about the EU award contests in 2016
Detailed announcements of the EU award contest, instructions for submission of nominations and nomination/entry forms will be available on the websites of the partner organisations in each respective country. In most of the countries the EU award contest will be launched in the week between 7 and 11 March 2016, with all relevant information made available the same day.
The contest is open in each country for three weeks. Finally, the award ceremonies are expected in each country in May 2016.
For additional information about the regional scheme please contact the regional project coordinator Brankica Petković at [email protected], and for national award contests in 2016 please visit the web sites of the project partners in each EU-enlargement country.