Serbia: Winners announced at EU Award for Investigative Journalism ceremony

Serbia: Winners announced at EU Award for Investigative Journalism ceremony
EU Award for investigative journalism for Serbia was awarded 18th of May 2017 at the EU info center in Belgrade.
Maja Živanović, journalist of Vojvodinas Investigative Center (VOICE), won the first prize in this year's contest for EU award for investigative journalism, for a series of investigative articles about the natural gas distributor, Novi Sad Gas whose debts to the company Srbijagas, from which it purchases energy, has doubled in the period of two years and it reached 6.89 billion dinars, despite a good collection.
The second prize was awarded to journalist from BIRN Dragan Gmizić for documentary film about poaching in Serbia. Third prize for the best young investigative journalist was received by the journalist from Center for Investigate Journalism in Serbia - CINS Milica Šarić (1988) for a series of articles on the thermal power plant Kostolac B and the consequences on the health of the local population. 
First prize winner, Maja Živanović said that the biggest problem is that energetics is considered to be an expert topic because institutions managed to alienate this subject so that it became incomprehensible for the citizens. ”The biggest challenge for any journalist in Vojvodina writing about energetics is the Petroleum Industry of Serbia, which is also a private company, and the issues of mineral rent and exploitation of oil and gas”, concluded Živanović.
This year there was about 40 investigative stories in the competition from various media and productions. All of the entries were received and evaluated by the jury composed of:  dr Rade Veljanovski, Professor of Faculty of Political Sciences, doc. dr Vladimir Barović, Professor of Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad, Mladen Velojić, director of the Media Center in Niš, Milan Antonijević, director at Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights - YUCOM and Ljubica Gojgić, journalist at RTV.
President of the jury Ljubica Gojgić said “Jury could note that the investigative journalism is once again omitted from the traditional media and can only find its place in independent investigative centers which publish their work on specialized internet portals. The so-called mainstream media is consistently ignoring even the most significant discoveries of the investigative sector, preventing a great number of citizens from getting the information of public interest.”
Noora Hayrinen, Head of Political Section at the EU Delegation to Serbia, addressed the audience and the media, and congratulated the winners. “I am very delighted to be here because European Union and European Union Delegation attaches a great importance for the investigative journalism and it is not important only for us. That is important for all of you” she said.
President of the Board of Novi Sad School of Journalism Dubravka Valić Nedeljković said that they are glad to award those from whom even they who withdrew from journalism long time ago want to learn (although, as she noted, one can never really leave journalism). “The awarded journalists should also serve as a role model for those who are just entering the profession” Valić Nedeljković emphasised.  

The EU Award for investigative journalism aims to celebrate and promote outstanding achievements by investigative journalists and to expand visibility of quality journalism in the countries of West Balkan and Turkey. 
The EU award for investigative journalism is awarded in each of the seven EU-Enlargement countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, for works published in the period between 2014 and 2016. The total award fund for all seven countries is 210,000 euro. 
The award in Serbia is coordinated by Novi Sad School of Journalism, while the regional partnership is headed by Peace Institute in Ljubljana.