Press Prizes for Russia and Eastern Europe Announced
(25/02-2009) Three of the prize winners for this years press prizes ”Free Press of Russia” and ”Free Press of Eastern Europe”, was nominated by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
The winners were announced by The Freedom of Expression Foundation of Oslo and the ZEIT Foundation of Hamburg this monday. The Russian journalist Zoya Svetova, the azerbaijani journalist Natiq Gavadli and the Azerbaijani newspaper Azaliq will receive their prizes together with the other winners at the Norwegian Nobel Institute on 3 june. The nominations of this year's press prize laureates indicate that the situation for freedom of the press and expression is deteriorating in several Eastern European countries. Attacks on the independent press are illustrated by the never-ending lawsuits filed by the authorities against journalists, editors and newspapers. The authorities use libel provisions to prevent investigative journalism, limit public debate and suppress open criticism of the authorities, high-ranking civil servants or other powerful players. Click on the link below to read more about this years prize winners.
Zoya Svetova is a freelance journalist based in Moscow, where she has written for newspapers such as Novye Izvestia and Russkii Kurier. She currently publishes articles in the Caucasian magazine Dosh and on the Internet newspaper Yezhenedel’nyi Zhurnal (www.ej.ru). Zoya Svetova is especially concerned with informing the public about human rights abuses in Russia. She turns the spotlight on conditions in the Russian legal system and the inhumanity of its criminal prosecutions. She makes the connection from the legal situation in the regions to the country's international commitments. Zoya Svetova is a committed, courageous and articulate journalist. She was nominated by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights House Foundation, Oslo. The prize is accompanied by EUR 10 000.
Roman Shleynov, editor for investigative journalism, Novaya Gazeta, Moscow. His meticulous, in-depth and methodical articles very often explore corruption and the lack of transparency in the Russian state. Roman Shelynov has recently written a longer series of articles about the connection between high echelon Russian civil servants and business and industry. He was nominated by Rosemary Armao, assistant professor of Journalism at State University of New York and the Journalist Development Group LLC in Sarajevo. The prize is accompanied by EUR 10 000.
Natiq Gavadli works as a journalist for the oppositional newspaper Bizim Yol in Baku. His shrewd, critical analyses often deal with corruption and reveal abuses of human rights in Azerbaijan. Natiq Gavadli is behind a series of interesting interviews in which he explores current topics through discussions with well-known politicians and experts. He was nominated by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the Human Rights House Foundation, Oslo, Norwegian PEN and Rauf Mirkadirov, a political commentator in Azerbaijan. The prize is accompanied by EUR 10 000.
Azaliq is one of the few critical daily newspapers in Azerbaijan. The newspaper is part of the opposition press, which maintains an uncompromising attitude in respect of the government. As one of the most prominent critical newspapers, Azaliq has been subjected to numerous assaults from the authorities. The newspaper's editor-in-chief Ganimat Zahidov and his brother Sakit Zahidov, a poet and journalist, are currently in prison for their journalistic endeavours. Azaliq plays a key role in journalistic training. Many independent oppositional journalists in Azerbaijan have learned their trade there. The newspaper was nominated by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the Human Rights House Foundation, Oslo, Norwegian PEN and Rauf Mirkadirov, a political commentator in Azerbaijan. The prize is accompanied by EUR 30 000.
Novy Chas is a prominent weekly newspaper in Minsk that focuses on politics and culture. The newspaper holds freedom of expression and democratic principles in high esteem. The weekly newspaper's analytical and literary texts are written in Belarusian, thus communicating a linguistic dimension of national identity to its readers. Every month, Novy Chas publishes the "Belarus in Literature", in which democratic writers and poets can publish their works. Despite permanent pressure from the authorities, the newspaper has not changed its course or engaged in self-censorship. The newspaper was nominated by the Belarusian independent news agency BelaPan, the Union of Belarusian Writers Association, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and Gernot Erler, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. The prize is accompanied by EUR 30 000.
Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance journalist based in Yerevan. She was previously a reporter for and editor of the online newspaper ArmeniaNow (www.armenianow.com). Today she mainly works for the online newspaper EurasiaNet (www.eurasianet.org). Marianna Grigoryan writes independently on topics relating to domestic and foreign policy alike. Her reports are analytical and offer fresh perspectives. She was nominated by Ruben Mangasaryan, editor-in-chief of National Geographic TravelerArmenia and director of the Patker Photo Agency. The award includes a cash prize of EUR 10 000.
Batumelebi is an independent, innovative weekly newspaper published in Batumi, capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. Over the past two years, Batumelebi has gone from being a regional newspaper to becoming a national newspaper that represents a strong, highly professional contribution to the Georgian media landscape. The newspaper is a prime example of freedom of the press, journalistic principles and human courage. The newspaper was nominated by Günter Verheugen, Vice President of the EU Commission, and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner of the EU Commission. The prize is accompanied by EUR 30 000.