The call was opened during mid-April to mid-March 2022 for awards for investigative stories published during 2021 related to freedom of expression, rule of law, transparency, abuse of power and fundamental rights, corruption and organised crime.
Individuals or groups of journalists were invited to apply with their stories, eligible in any journalism forms (print, online, radio and TV), published or broadcast in the media in each country in official, minority or international languages.
The award fund in each of the six Western Balkans countries and Turkey amounted to €5,000 for the first prize, €3,000 for the second and €2,000 for the third prize.
On Thursday, 10 November, during the EU Western Balkans Media Conference in Tirana, award winners were announced. The jury comprised media experts, some of them from the project consortia and others from the extensive network that the project consortium members have, such as editors, members of academia and journalists with merits.
The following individuals and groups of journalists were awarded:
- 1st prize, Klodiana Lala, “Albanian Crime Story: Hostage to the Cocaine Supply Chain”.
- 2nd prize, Dorian Kodra, “How is Rilindja Monitoring Phone and ID Numbers, Workplaces and Other Confidential Data of 910,000 Voters of Tirana”.
- 3rd prize, Ola Mitre, “Chromium in Bulqiza is Extracted Without an Environmental Permit”.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
- 1st prize, Mubarek Asani and Jelena Jevtić, “The Boss and Her ‘Black Shirt’ Mob”.
- 2nd prize, Amarildo Gutić, “Battle for the Political Commissioner”.
- 3rd prize, Adna Zilić, “Police Uniform Requirements Tailored For Private Businessmen”.
- 1st prize, Kreshnik Gashi, Visar Prebreza and Bahar Mustafa with a series of stories: ”The Justice on the Market”, “‘The North File”, The Link Between the Company Which is on US Blacklist and the Investments in Ulcinj” and “Racketeers File: The Judge Negotiates the Case”.
- 2nd prize, Besnik Krasniqi with a series of stories: “Let’s ‘Clean’ the Budget”, “’Cleaning’ of Hundreds and Thousands of Euros With Gloves and Masks”, and “Garbage in Kosovo, Wages in Pockets”.
- 3rd prize, Besnik Boletini and Xhavit Drenori, with “Daily Contamination”.
- 1st prize, Mihailo Jovović, “A Series of Stories on Secret Flights of the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović”.
- 2nd prize, Đurđa Radulović, “A Series of Stories on Wildfire Season in Montenegro”.
- 3rd prize, Vladimir Otašević and Marko Vešović, “Secrets of Crime – The Murder of Duško Jovanović”.
- 1st prize, Irena Karevska, “Raškovski Bought Software for Traffic Fines, Which the Ministry of Interior Does not Know About and Certainly Does not Plan to Use”.
- 2nd prize, Miroslava Byrns, “Case of Jaldz Veaposka, Woman in Labour Who Lost Her Uterus, Ovary and Kidney in Struga Hospital”.
- 3rd prize, Snežana Lupevska Sozen, Miomir Serafinović, Biljana Nikolovska and Emilija Misirljevski, “Penalties for Traffic Accidents With Fatal Consequences by Necessity, Not by Law”.
- 1st prize, Stevan Dojčinović, Milica Vojinović, Bojana Pavlović, and Bojana Jovanović, “Series of Articles on Serbian Gang Led by Veljko Belivuk”.
- 2nd prize, Jovana Gligorijević, “Conspiracy of Silence Lasted for a Long Time – Sexual Harassment at the Petnica Science Centre”.
- 3rd prize, Saša Dragojlo, “People Smuggling: Money, Violence, and Ties to the Security Services”, and Aleksandar Đorđević and Miodrag Marković, “A Series of Stories on Corrupt Mechanism in the Electric Power Industry of Serbia”.
The awards are a continuation of the ongoing regional EU Investigative Journalism Awards in the Western Balkans and Turkey and part of the ongoing project, “Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey“, funded by the European Union and administered by BIRN Hub and its partners: Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers in the North Macedonia, Center for Investigative Journalism in Montenegro, MASE, BIRN Albania, BIRN Serbia and the Association of Journalists from Ankara, Turkey.
Since its launch, including this year, a total of 147 prizes were awarded to outstanding journalistic efforts in six Western Balkan countries and Turkey, promoting media freedom and importance of investigative work and exposing wrongdoings in countries where independent media is more important than ever.