Bratislava, Slovakia – Twenty three stories and reports were selected by the European Press Prize committee this year, hailing from over a dozen European countries (including Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Italy, Russia, U.K., Netherlands, Turkey, Romania, Malta, France, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Ireland).
“Good journalism is one of the hallmarks of civilized society”, according to the European Press Prize Foundation, which aims to “highlight the importance of quality media and supports journalists in their endeavour to contribute to independent and critical journalism”.
Prizes, that come with a 10.000 euros reward, are awarded in four different categories: distinguished reporting for “telling a story in the best possible way”; investigative reporting “for discovering and revealing facts, exposing hidden news to the public”; innovation ‘for challenging the current boundaries of journalism by finding new ways to engage with audiences”; and opinion, “for a remarkable textual interpretation of the world we live in”.
The preparatory committee comprises journalists from prominent international media outlets like The Irish Times, Der Spiegel, Reuters, Gazeta Wyborcza and other prestigious think tanks and civil society organisations. The panel of judges, in charge of selecting the final nominees and winners, comprises some of the world’s most high-profile journalists including Sir Harold Evans (U.K.), Yevgenia Albats (Russia), Alexandra Föderl-Schmid (Germany), Sylvie Kauffmann (France) and Jørgen Ejbøl (Denmark).
Two Slovak stories were shortlisted this year: the first one is an op-ed by Sme editor-in-chief Beata Balogová, entitled “Let’s Continue Talking about Murder, not Fico’s Media Tyranny” (Opinion category) – described as “a powerful, argumentative and passionate journalistic response to the murder of Jan Kuciak”, that shook the country in February last year. You can read the article in Slovak or its English translation.
The second Slovak story shortlisted was the work of journalists Denisa Gdovinová and Filip Olšovský, for their reporting entitled “If we were Roma, We Would not Come Back from Britain“, published in the popular Týždeň weekly, telling the story of Slovak Roma people’s integration in the U.K (Distinguished Reporting Category).
An important recognition of Slovak journalists’ high-quality and engaged work, coming at a time of great turmoil for reporters in the country and as the ruling party is doubling down on his attacks against the press.
Poland also has one shortlisted story: “Prisoners of the fourth floor” (link in Polish) written by Ewa Wołkanowska-Kołodziej and published by Pismo Magazyn Opinii.
Written by two British journalists and published in The Guardian, “Viktor Orban’s reckless football obsession” examines the Hungarian Prime Minister’s passion for football and reckless spending of public money for his favourite hobby.
The winners of the European Press Prize 2019 will be announced during the closing ceremony on May 23, at the headquarters of Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza in Warsaw.