The 2001 Jury Report

Report of the Jury 26th November 2001

The Natali Prize for Journalism, Excellence in Reporting Human Rights, Democracy and Development was established by the countries of the European Union in honour of the late Lorenzo Natali, Vice President of the European Commission with special responsibilities for development issues. The prestigious Prize is awarded each year to print journalists who have demonstrated a striking insight and particular dedication to the reporting of human rights issues within the context of the development process.

The Natali Prize for Journalism 2000 marks the third year the International Federation of Journalists has been organising the prize on behalf of the European Commission. This year, again, the entries received were exemplary, providing an exhibition of talent and expertise that illustrates how, despite the problems faced by many in media, journalism is in good health.

Some 121 entries were received from 41 countries. Of these, 85 were eligible under the rules of the Prize. The difference between entries received and eligible entries illustrates two issues that will have to be addressed in the future. Firstly, many candidates submitted articles published in 2001 not 2000. The prize would generate even greater interest if articles published in the current year of the Prize were eligible. Secondly, in spite of the restriction in the rules to one article, some candidates submitted series of articles that did not cover the same subject and failed to indicate which particular article should be considered for selection. The jury also recommends that editorial comment should be excluded from the Prize.

On the whole, the jury was impressed by the high level of quality of many of the articles submitted. And the choice was made even more difficult because the jury had to take into account of the different levels of economic and of human resources under which media operate.

In this respect, the jury especially noted the article written by Dieudonné Randrianomeasisoa for the newspaper l'Express de Madagascar on irregularities during the elections campaign in the country. Given the economic and political constraints this paper is facing, the article provided an innovative and very informative report to its readers.

The jury had to select winners in two categories:

1) Articles published in a country of the European Union and

2) Articles published in a developing country.

For each category one winner for the 10,000 Euro Prize had to be selected. It was up to the jury to select further articles for commendation in the two categories.

The jury judged the entries on the basis of five criteria, namely:

1) How the article addresses human rights and development

2) Originality (different, innovative view of the subject)

3) Professional quality of the journalism

4) Investigation and research

5) The impact of the article (type of media, follow-up, effects of the article).

The winners

In the category of articles published in a Member State of the European Union:

Romain Gubert, Le Point, France for: "Les terribles temoignages des réfugiés tchétchènes" (The horrible accounts of the Chechen refugees)

The jury selected this article for its style; the high quality of the journalism and the balanced approach the author had taken in covering the subject. The article is extremely well written and presented. The investigative effort invested in the article, with a lot of eyewitness accounts, is impressive. The article is a good example of subtle reporting, and it gives a lot of background information. It puts human rights' considerations at the centre of its journalism. The jury believes the article had a wide impact because it appeared in one of France's most renowned news magazines.

In the category of articles published in a developing country:

Kamau Ngotho, The Sunday Nation, Kenya for "The Pinto Murder"

The jury selected Kamau Ngotho's article for the extensive and serious investigation that was needed to collect witness accounts and a wide range of documents in order to review the events surrounding the murder of Pio Gama Pinto in 1965. It is a very well written and presented article. Its impact was huge, given the fact that it played an important role in releasing a prisoner that had been in jail for 35 years for a murder he insisted he never committed. The article raises awareness of the importance of the rule of law and the role of media in exposing impunity and wrongful imprisonment.


In the category of articles published in a Member State of the European Union:

Teun Voeten, Vrij Nederland, The Netherlands for "De bittere vrede van Sierra Leone" (The bitter peace of Sierra Leone)

The jury is convinced that Teun Voeten's article deserved a commendation. Members want to express their admiration for the courage Teun Voeten demonstrated in returning to Sierra Leone even though he had nearly lost his life there two years ago. The article focuses on the very important subject of how to deal, once peace has been restored, with former military and paramilitary groups or with individuals who killed and maimed in war situations.

In the category of articles published in a developing country:

Ana Lucia Raffo Florez, El Spectador, Colombia for "Desplazados, tragedia nacional" (Displaced persons, a national tragedy)

Ana Florez' article addresses one of Colombia's most pressing problems: How the war on drugs has resulted in making many farmers homeless. It gives a balanced and well-researched account of the problem and points towards possible ways of addressing it. Ana Florez and other journalists working for El Spectador must be commended for their continuing courageous coverage of drug trafficking and the conflict in the country. Their work is a journalistic struggle at a huge cost in human lives.

Finally, the Jury appreciates the efforts of the European Union and the IFJ in promoting journalism in the area of human rights and development. The Jury feels that the Natali Prize for Journalism can stimulate accurate and reliable coverage of human rights and development issues across the globe.

Axel Buyse

Chairman of the Jury

Brussels, December 2001