The 2015 Fritt Ord Foundation/ZEIT Foundation Press Prizes for Russia and Eastern Europe have been awarded to six journalists and media outlets from Russia, Ukraine and Georgia that have stood firm against the threat of censorship and reprisals.
MDIF client Netgazeti from Georgia was named as a winner, along with the weekly newspaper Pskovskaya Guberniya and editor Galina Timchenko from Russia, the news agency Slidstvo.Info and the journalists Serhiy Harmash and Valentyna Samar from Ukraine.
The Press Prizes, amounting to a total of EUR 75 000, will be awarded at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo on 24 June 2015.
“Journalists, bloggers and the media carry out their work in today’s Russia and Ukraine under extremely difficult circumstances, owing not least to the hateful exchanges between the countries. The official reports on the crisis in Ukraine are intentionally distorted by disinformation,” said Martin Paulsen on behalf of the press prize jury. “Accordingly, in 2015, the press prizes established by the Fritt Ord Foundation and our German partner, the ZEIT Foundation, are being awarded to journalists and media that engage in independent reporting. Many of them carry out their work at great risk and have been forced to leave their homes to be able to maintain their independence. The prizes are intended to encourage, strengthen and emphasise the need for a free press.”
The online news site Netgazeti will receive EUR 15 000. In the past year, the politically independent news and multimedia portal reported on many contentious issues, including violations of the rights of Georgian Muslims, violence against women and homophobia. The award notice commented that “Netgazeti offers broad coverage of social problems in the national news. As regards international news, Netgazeti has given its readers a good platform for understanding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”
The Fritt Ord Foundation is a private non-profit foundation that aspires to promote freedom of expression and public debate.