COPENHAGEN, Denmark, April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Journalists from Russia, Spain, France, Bosnia, Romania and Britain are honoured for outstanding achievements in the European Press Prizes (EPP), announced today.
In addition to awards for reporting, investigation, innovation and commentary, the judges gave a special award to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), founded by Paul Radu and Drew Sullivan.
The OCCRP, the judges said, is a memorably motivated, determined force for good everywhere it operates. Its members do not get rich, but the societies they serve are richer and cleaner for the scrutiny only true, independent journalism can provide.
The European Press Prizes are awarded as follows:
There was high praise for James Meek's "wonderfully observed" account of his time with the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party with In Farageland; and for Michael Obert's vivid and masterly tale of the dynamics Inside Boko Haram.
But the winner is Your Husband Voluntarily Went Underfire by Elena Kostyuchenko for Novaya Gazeta in Moscow, a superb piece of evocative writing, twisting and turning with literary skill as it follows the efforts of a Russian woman to find the body of her soldier husband, killed in action in the Ukraine but buried by bureaucratic silence in Russia. It is also individual reporting of the finest quality, showing readers how deeply Vladimir Putin's government is involved in Eastern Ukraine.
The judges saluted Financial Times' Tom Burgis for his revelatory account of Sam Pa's activities as The Middleman for Chinese influence in Africa; and praised Stephen Grey and his Reuters' team for their series on the lake of wealth that surrounds President Putin.
But the winner is Ander Izagirre's investigation of How to produce dead guerrillas (initially for El Pais in Madrid). A lonely and courageous story which shows how Colombian army officers kidnapped and murdered ordinary civilian boys, dressed them in guerrilla clothes and claimed reward for the bodies. The judges found Izagirre's work compelling, splendidly organised and devastating at a human level. It told a terrible story that no one could forget.
There was appreciation for Rutger Bregman's second nomination in two years for his series on financial inequality; admiration for Svetoslav Terziev's rumbustious attack on Bulgarian corruption - naming names and never holding back in his Sega Daily column - and for Maria Louka's (VICE) lament for her own generation of Greeks without jobs, prospects or hopes.
But the winner - sharp and eloquently disgusted - was Nick Cohen's series of columns examining The cowardice of Nigel Farage, published in The Observer. They enjoyed Cohen's zest, rhetoric and clear determination to tackle his targets straight on.
This year the judges decided that co-operation between journalists across national borders was unleashing a wave of innovation in reporting ambition that is beginning to make journalism truly international. It noted the shockwaves set off by 64 European journalists working for 26 different news organisations, demonstrating - In Luxembourg Leaks - how the Grand Duchy also became a grand tax haven. It praised the digging efforts of journalists from France, Belarus, Russia and Lithuania, tracing The Belarus Network that distributes cash from the President's office in Minsk to places in Syria and the Sudan.
But the winner, submitted by Nicolas Kayser-Bril in France on behalf of ten journalists co-operating in six different countries, was The Migrants' Files. An ambitious exercise in data journalism collecting, publishing the grim details of immigrant deaths. Year after year, as boats sink and lorries overturn, hundreds of poor and desperate migrants die in their quest for a better life in Europe. But, because the full extent and horror of the problem is not reliably reported, the tragedies go on. The Migrant Files begins to fill that gap. It is painstaking and necessary work, full of details that challenge our humanity.
The EPP judges are:
- chairman Sir Harold Evans, editor-at-large of Reuters, London
- Sylvie Kauffman, editorial director of Le Monde, Paris
- Jørgen Ejbøl, former editor of Jyllands-Posten, Copenhagen
- Yevgenia Albats, editor-in-chief of The New Times, Moscow
- Juan Luis Cebrian, founding editor of El Pais, Madrid
SOURCE European Press Prize