The European Parliament's third annual prize for excellence in journalism was awarded this morning by EP President Jerzy Buzek to Polish, Swedish, Hungarian and British journalists in four categories: written press, radio, TV and the Internet. Each winner received €5,000.
Witold Szabłowski of the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza won the written press award for his article "Today two bodies will wash ashore". The article depicts the problem of illegal immigration to the European Union. The jury described the article as "informative, lively and authentic". As one jury member put it, praising the quality of writing in the report, reading this article is like reading "a work of literature".
Kajsa Norell and Nuri Kino of Sveriges Radio Ekot (Sweden) won the radio award for an investigative report on EU financial support to Turkey. As their report shows, EU funding does not make it all the way to local farmers in Turkey. The programme, made in the Turkish countryside and in Ankara, was described by the jury as "an excellent investigation" characterised by "perfect timing and length".
Zsolt Németh of MTV Hungary won the TV award category for his "Euforia" programme, which presents the history of the European Union in an understandable and entertaining way to younger people and those unfamiliar with EU affairs. The jury praised the programme's quality and also its imagination, something often missing from TV projects on the EU. Above all, the programme manages to be "attractive, funny and educational at the same time".
James Clive-Matthews of the UK won the Internet award for his blog article "EUtopia - What percentage of laws come from the EU?". The author has done "extraordinary research work" and the article is not only "informative and interesting" but also very "understandable and convincing" and written "with a sense of humour", according to the jury. Mr Clive-Matthews, who is "one of the few bloggers covering the EU seriously", has carried out a serious statistical and comparative study but his article can also "be read with a lot of pleasure".
Awarding the prize, EP President Jerzy Buzek said: "By its decision to create this prize, the European Parliament wants to promote critical and impartial journalism. I know how difficult a task it can be to explain Europe, its policies and its decisions. But it is vital."
"I come from a country where for almost fifty years, journalists were not allowed to publish what they saw, to write what they thought, and to speak out loud what they felt. I know how precious these values - these common European values - are. I believe it is even more important to listen to those who are critical, because they provide a check and force us to explain our policies better, and sometimes they help point out errors we may have committed."
The award ceremony was followed by a panel discussion titled "Journalists - an endangered species?" Almost all national winners from the EU Member States attended the event. Fifty young journalists participating in a workshop hosted by the European Parliament were also present.