Montenegro: EU Award for Investigative Journalism Winners Announced

First prize was awarded to Jelena Jovanović. The second award was given to Milena Perović Korać and Milka Tadić Mijović, whilst Ivan Čađenović is the best young journalist.

EU Award for the best investigative story in 2016 was given to Jelena Jovanović, the journalist of the daily newspaper “Vijesti” for her investigative series of texts about the illegal setting up of the cameras and the surveillance of the public space at several locations in Kotor by unknown individuals, most likely members of criminal clans.

Second award was given to Milena Perović Korać and Milka Tadić Mijović, from the Center for Investigative Journalism of Montenegro, for a series of stories entitled “Corruption at the local level- Kolašin”, whilst the award for the best young journalist wen to Ivan Čađenović, from the daily newspaper “Vijesti”, for his series of articles on the suspicion that the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Montenegro plagiarized his doctoral thesis and a textbook.

The Jury comprising of dr Olivera Komar (president), Dragoljub Vuković, Snežana Nikčević, Sonja Drobac a Olivera Nikolić selected the winning stories.

Plamena Halacheva, head of Political, European Integration and Trade Section in the Delegation of the EU to Montenegro, presented awards to the winners at today’s ceremony in Podgorica.

In the explanation of the Jury is stated that the winning story of Jelena Jovanović ‘’contains all the essential characteristics of a good story, such as social relevance, objectivity, impartiality, the quality of arguments and self-collected evidences.”

“The jury additionally wants to highlight the professional courage of the journalist, who was the first one to cope up with this issue in order to draw the attention of the respective institutions to the up until then undisclosed social problem.”

In the story that won the second award, according to the jury, journalists Milena Perović Korać and Milka Tadić Mijović “successfully emphasize the controversial manners in which was used the money from the budget of the municipality Kolasin. They unrevealed the whole set of intricate traces –from unusually high costs for fuel or sale of municipal land at non-market prices, through the “mistakes” for which municipality Kolasin recorded significant damage, to giving the public works projects without a proper tender procedure.”

The statement of the Jury indicates also that:

„While providing documents and arguments for their claims on one side and conveying the statements and testimonies of suspected individuals on the other side, journalists succeed in making a balanced story that suggests a potentially serious and systemic misuse of public resources at the municipality level.“

Young journalist Ivan Čađenović, in the awarded series of articles, “unlike a large number of other similar texts, carefully follows all the traces, by very well revealing different layers not only of a concrete case of plagiarism, but also of an attempt to hide it from the public.”

Additionally, the Jury explains:

” By having a critical approach to a very important and delicate issue, the journalist independently finds and convincingly analyzes evidences, consults all the relevant parties and sources and reveals, up until then, hidden elements of this case to the public. At the same time, these articles are of great social significance due to the reactions they caused. Namely, the entire academic community was invited in the decisive fight against plagiarism and academic misconduct, which is already resulting in adoption of specific measures in this area.“

17 applicants sent their investigative stories this year.

The EU awards for investigative journalism are given for the third year in a row, as a part of the regional initiative implemented by partner organization of the civil society from Montenegro, Albania, BiH, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Turkey. Coordinator of the program is Peace Institute in Ljubljana, a SEENPM member. The national coordinator for Montenegro is Montenegro Media Institute, a SEENPM member.

Jovanovic: There is no proper journalism without investigative stories

Jelena Jovanović, the author of winning story thanked for the award and stated that:

“There is no proper journalism without investigative reporting, because only that type of stories can change the things that are not good in the society”.

“All of us who work in media are aware that it is not possible to have investigative stories every day. We have to give our best to have as many as possible, because our main task is to reveal the truth and criticize what is harmful for the society and the state”.

The article was republished from SEE Media Observatory

Photo: Luka Zeković
Video: TV Vijesti

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* - References to Kosovo are without prejudice to positions on status. They are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.