At the solemn ceremony held in the Belgrade Media Centre, editorial boards of Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) and Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) were awarded with the journalist award “Dušan Bogavac” for ethics and courage in 2017.
The award, which was established after the death of Dušan Bogavac, was first awarded in 1991. Together with his colleagues, this longtime journalist and publicist had founded a “Solidarity Fund” intended for journalists who were deprived of their livelihood because of their courage and veracity.
CINS and KRIK were handed the award by Sanja Kljajić, last year’s winner of the award and member of the panel, and Milena Njamcul, daughter of Dušan Bogavac.
Besides Kljajić, the panel also comprised Branka Bogavac, journalist and sister of Dušan Bogavac, Dušan Petričić, caricaturist and an earlier winner of the award, Slaviša Lekić, President of the Independent Journalist Association of Serbia (NUNS), and Filip Mladenović, President of “Dušan Bogavac” Foundation.
“The decision of the panel was not an emotional reaction to statements of Prime Minister Ana Brnabić on investigative journalism in Serbia. Investigative journalism in Serbia is stronger than ever, as indicated by numerous awards awarded in the country and the region to KRIK, CINS, BIRN, and Insajder newsrooms”, said Lekić during the awarding ceremony.
Receiving the award from last year’s winner Sanja Kljajić, Dino Jahić, CINS Editor-in-Chief, said that it is difficult to be a courageous and ethical journalist in Serbia nowadays.
“I am glad that the award, which presents a great honor, was awarded to the whole newsroom, as everything we do is a result of team work. When we see who the winners of the award are, we are proud because these people were our role models”, said Jahić.
Stating that the award “Dušan Bogavac” is the seventh award this year that CINS has received for achievements in investigative journalism, Jahić emphasized that each of them “belongs to every journalist in Serbia who has been brave and ethical”.
Stevan Dojčinović, KRIK editor, assessed that “bad times” are imminent to journalism in Serbia, adding that there is a new trend that institutions, primarily tax ones, are used against media.
“We were recently lobbying in Brussels for media freedoms in Serbia. We told members of European Parliament about self-censorship in Serbia to make them understand that our leading politicians had been in Brussels before us, where they brought piles of newspapers to show that there is no censorship in Serbia. We were not encouraged by what we heard, I think that not even Brussels is willing to admit the existence of this issue in Serbia”, said Dojčinović.
This year, the panel presented Vukašin Obradović, journalist, with a separate expression of gratitude for affirmation of ethics and courage in Serbian journalism. The panel stated that, having received award “Dušan Bogavac” in 2003, in the capacity of the Editor-in-Chief of “Vranjske novine”, and primarily as the President of NUNS, Obradović consistently continued with affirmation of the main attributives of the award: ethics and courage.
Besides CINS and KRIK, the newsroom of “Ozonpress” from Čačak, as well as journalists Tamara Grujić and Miša Brkić were shortlisted for the award.