Milica Šarić, a journalist of the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) has been declared today to be the best young journalist in 2016, as deemed by the jury awarding the prize of the European Union (EU) for investigative journalism in Serbia.
Šarić has won this award for investigation on the construction of the new block of Kostolac B thermal power plant and expansion of Drmno coal mine, for which Serbia took a loan from the Exim Bank of China, where production of electric energy by lignite combustion will be continued.
“This investigation has directed attention on how this investment is fully in line with foreign laws, the PR of China’s laws, and in opposition to national laws. This research puts Milica among the best according to any criterion and her prize is well deserved even beyond the young category”, said the President of the jury, a journalist Ljubica Gojgić at the award winning ceremony.
The award within the category “best story of a young investigative journalist” was awarded this year for the first time.
This is the third award for CINS journalists in the past month, after the newsroom received European Press Prize for a series of articles on corruption and organized crime, while the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia and the US Embassy awarded research of Anđela Milivojević on Jorgovanka Tabaković’s plagiarized doctoral thesis as the best online investigative story of the year.
Apart the one for Milica Šarić, another two EU awards were presented. The first award for investigative journalism was presented to Maja Živanović, a journalist of the Vojvodina Research and Analytical Center (VOICE), for the series of articles on operations and debts of the state enterprise Novi Sad Gas. The second award went to a journalist Dragan Gmizić, for the documentary “Plain without Birds”, realized within the Greenfield Production, aired on TV N1 in August 2016.
The competition was open for investigative stories, published in 2016, on social issues related to the abuse of power and basic human rights, corruption and organized crime in Serbia, of which the public would otherwise not be aware.
Members of the jury that evaluated the works included the following: Ljubica Gojgić, a journalist of the Radio Television Vojvodina, Rade Veljanovski, a professor at the Faculty of Political Science, Vladimir Barović, a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad, Milan Antonijević, the Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, and Mladen Velojić, the Director of the Media Center in Niš.
The award was established by the Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission in accordance with the Strategy for the EU enlargement “that recognizes the expressed need for ensuring freedom of speech in the media, as well as for supporting investigative journalism in monitoring of the reform process and maintaining historical momentum towards EU accession”.
The award granting process is managed by a regional partnership of civil society organizations under the leadership of the Peace Institute from Ljubljana, selected for this task by the European Commission. In Serbia, this process is managed by the Novi Sad School of Journalism.