The Power Brokers resulted from the collaborative efforts of six reporters for the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) in Sarajevo and the Romanian Center for Investigative Reporting.
The award, to be presented at a conference in Canada May 26, was established to recognize and celebrate courageous investigative journalists and their work.
Journalists and film makers from 22 countries vied for the award with stories that dealt with corruption, cronyism, arms smuggling, human trafficking and environmental destruction.
‘What set Power Brokers apart was that these stories were written under the harshest conditions in societies where access to information is often non-existent and where investigative reporters face harassment, imprisonment and even death for simply doing their jobs’ said Luz Rimban, one of the judges. “We were unanimous in our choice.’
The series exposed questionable power deals cornered by shadowy businessmen operating across the Balkans. These deals brought huge profits to power traders but have resulted in exorbitant electricity rates that impoverished citizens cannot afford.
According to the judges, this award-winning series serves as a model for investigative journalism. It demonstrates the power of teamwork in reporting a highly complex issue and in piecing together a story using public documents and extensive interviews in the Balkans and in Europe. It was a risky undertaking that scared off other potential team members.
‘We were subject to physical harassment and threatened with a lawsuit’ said Stanmir Vaglenov, a Bulgarian journalist who participated in the project.
Reporters on the project beside Vaglenov were Paul Radu and Sorin Ozon from Romania, Eldina Pleho and Alison Knezevic from CIN and Altin Raxhimi from Albania.
The project was funded by SCOOP, a project founded by the Danish Association of Investigative Journalism to support investigative journalism in the transition countries in Europe, and CIN.
Entries in the contest were judged by Rimban, a documentary writer/producer and contributor to the Philippine Daily Inquirer; Bob Carty, a documentary producer for The Current and The Sunday Edition on CBC Radio One; and Andre Verloy, a reporter for the Norwegian weekly news magazine Memo.
For more information on the Canadian Association of Journalists, visit www.caj.ca.
To read the Power Brokers, click here.