Mirko Bošković, a journalist of Television of Montenegro is awarded with the first prize of EU for investigative journalism for 2015 in Montenegro for the serial entitled “The Promised Land”.
The second prize is awarded to Milena Perović Korać for investigative story “As If It Was a War” and “The Police Covering up the Torture at the Night of Protests”, published in daily newspaper Monitor.
The award for the best story by young investigative journalist is given to Ana Komatina and Vladimir Otasević for the investigative stories “Dossier of Vei Seng Pua”, which have been written at the Centre for Investigative Reporting and published in the daily newspaper Vijesti and Vijesti web portal.
The EU Award for Investigative Journalism event was held in Podgorica, 11 May 2016.
The jury’s justification for the story awarded with the first prize states that Bošković revealed the mechanisms of abusing the power and institutions in the business of buying and selling attractive properties on the Montenegrin coastline and in Podgorica. The author respected the ethical and professional principles, while giving the opportunity to everyone directly concerned to express their own opinions and positions in relation to the discovered facts – as it has been stated in the jury’s decision.
In its justification for the second prize story, the jury stated that Milena Perović Korać revealed to the public the facts about the efforts of state institutions, especially the police, to protect those responsible for excessive use of force in breaking up the last year’s anti-government protests in Podgorica. She showed that the police additionally abused its power while putting a pressure on citizens to change their earlier statements. The story manifests the need for journalism to stand for the rights and freedoms of ordinary people, and to perform a control function in relation to those who possess the power and do not hesitate to misuse it.
The jury, in its justification about the award for the best story by young investigative journalist, stated that Otašević and Komatina, while starting with the news on the arrest of controversial Malaysian businessmen in the United States, illuminated the tangled connections which Vei Seng Pua had with certain powerful foreign investors in Montenegro, who were close to the Montenegrin governmental circles as well as his connections with that very circles. According to the opinion of the most members of the jury, the serial is a successful example of finding and checking information via Internet, than connecting them and putting in the context in a way which sheds a light on networking between the holders of local political and economic power with those who come to Montenegro with the support of the controversial foreign businessmen and non-transparent investments.
The decision on awards is rendered by the five-member jury (Dragoljub Vuković – president, Snežana Nikčević, Sonja Drobac, Olja Nikolić and dr Olivera Komar) and the prizes are awarded to winners today on the ceremony in Podgorica by Ambassador Mitja Drobnič, the Head of EU Delegation to Montenegro.
BOŠKOVIĆ: the “mechanism” needs to be brought back to the public broadcaster
Giving thanks for the award, Mirko Bošković the winner of the first prize said: “this prize is recognition and great argument for the public broadcaster to have investigative journalism all the time in its program.”
The public broadcaster needs to be an example of the most independent and high quality journalism, because it is the only one not depending on the pressure and conditions of the market. We respond only to those who are paying us and those are the citizens who give for public broadcaster insufficient but a sum substantial for Montenegrin conditions, of almost 14 million EUR per year. For that money, they rightfully expect from us to justify their funds with a high quality program in the public interest, said Bošković while addressing the audience.
He added that he believed the award would encourage the management and editorial team of RTCG to bring back the serial “The Promised Land” in the program plan and for the public broadcaster to get a permanent investigative newsroom as soon as possible.
Evaluation of the awarded stories is available in Montenegrin language, here.
Photos: Una Jovović, EU Infocentar
The article was originally published by South East European Media Observatory.