ESSEN / BRUSSELS, 29 October 2009. The WAZ Media Group and the International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ) will present the Bulgarian journalist Lidiya Pavlova (40)
with the "WAZ-IFJ Prize for Courage in Journalism". The international prize is
endowed with 10,000 Euros and will be awarded for the first time this year.
The sponsors say the award highlights the
exemplary role of independent media in scrutinising and exposing the abuse of
power. The winning report reveals corruption and illustrates courage and
professionalism in its presentation of evidence concerning intimidation and
Lidiya Pavlova, journalist of the Bulgarian regional
will receive the "WAZ-IFJ Prize for Courage in Journalism 2009" for a series of
articles in which she reveals mafia-like criminality and corruption in a small
Bulgarian town called Dupnitsa. Despite exposing herself to extreme personal risk,
she reports about the Galev brothers, so-called businessmen who develop their private
interests through political corruption and violence.
"Her exemplary courage in speaking out in the
midst of fearful silence, her meticulous gathering and assembling of the
relevant and necessary facts, and the style and presentation of her work reflect
the core objectives of the Prize", said the international jury of the WAZ-IFJ Prize.
The winner has been working as a reporter and a
correspondent for various Bulgarian newspapers for over 15 years. For 12 years
she has been reporting for the daily newspaper "Struma", with a special focus on the region Kjustendil in south
west Bulgaria. In 2004, Lidiya Pavlova was chosen by the association of
Bulgarian regional media as the journalist of the year. This year she received
a special prize from the organisation.
Her revelations of rampant crime, violence and
political corruption in the town of Dupnitsa
became a national scandal. Her investigations began after her own son was a
victim of violence." Applying the trusted methods of the skilful reporter and
at great personal risk she meticulously unmasked the damage done to a local community
when corrupt relations develop between criminals and those responsible for the
protection and welfare of citizens", the jury said.
"Her reporting provides emotional depth in the
best traditions of human interest journalism and has particular merit for its
local focus and its compelling exposure of the plight of ordinary people when
their daily lives are threatened in an atmosphere of intimidation and fear",
the jury continues. Lidiya Pavlova and her family are living with the fear of
threats due to the courageous report and are living under constant protection
from the police.
The "WAZ-IFJ Prize for Courage in Journalism"
will be awarded for the first time during the Third South East Europe Media Forum. From
the 4th-6th November, high-ranking media representatives
from the south east European region will meet in the Albanian capital of
Tirana, to discuss the convention topic "Media, Marketing, Business and New
Media". The media forum is organised annually by the WAZ Media Group, together
with the south east European media programme of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation
(KAS) and the journalist organisation SEEMO (South East Europe Media
In 2007, the media house of Essen and the Brussels-based IFJ federation
agreed upon "a Framework Agreement for the defence and encouragement of freedom
of the press, quality journalism and good working relationships". With a focus
on this agreement, the WAZ Group and IFJ announced the "Prize for Courage in
Journalism" for the first time last year. Print and online journalists or
editorial offices from countries in west, middle and south east Europe such as
Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia,
in which the WAZ media group is active in publishing, can apply for the prize.
At the same time the "Courage Prize 2009" was also open to authors of WAZ
titles and publications from other publishers. Texts and editorial reports were
able to be sent in.
The jury, which consisted of the Serbian „Vreme" journalist Dejan Anastasijevic,
journalist of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" Hans Leyendecker, the former editor in
chief of the Hungarian economical magazine HVG, Ivan Lipovecz, the editor in
chief of the "Braunschweiger Zeitung" Paul-Josef Raue and the Croatian lecturer
of journalism Gordana Vilovic, made the final decision.
The WAZ Media Group, based in Essen,
is one of the largest European media groups. 32 daily and 18 weekly newspapers,
176 special-interest and trade magazines, 107 advertising papers and 400
customer magazines belong to the group. In Germany,
the group publishes eleven daily newspapers in North Rhine Westphalia,
Thuringia, Lower Saxony and North Bavaria. The four NRW titles ‘Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung' (WAZ),
‘Westfälische Rundschau' (WR), ‘Neue Ruhr / Neue Rhein Zeitung' (NRZ) and ‘Westfalenpost'
(WP) have a circulation of nearly 1 million. The advertising papers of WVW/ORA are market leaders
in Germany and Europe and have a weekly circulation of more than 5
million in NRW alone. The WAZ Media Group, which has 18.000 employees, has majority
holdings in eleven local radio broadcasting companies in North Rhine Westphalia
and runs the largest regional Internet portal, DerWesten.de, in Germany. In the
TV market, the WAZ Media Group has a holding in the German NRW.TV and the
Albanian TV-Station ‘Vizion+'. In the magazine sector, the WAZ Group owns,
among others, the Munich-based publishing house ‘Gong Verlag' (‘Gong', ‘TV
direkt'), the newspaper publishing house ‘Westdeutscher Zeitschriften-Verlag'
(‘Neue Welt', ‘Frau im Spiegel') and numerous special interest magazines.
Outside of Germany, the WAZ
Media Group is active in the Austrian newspaper market (‘Kronen Zeitung',
‘Kurier'), and in Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia,
Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary
and in Russia.
The group also owns 16 printing works in Germany and abroad.
The International Federation of Journalists
(IFJ) is the world's largest organisation of journalists. First established
in 1926, today the Federation represents around 600.000 members in more than
100 countries. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), is the regional
organisation of the IFJ in Europe and it ist
the largest organisation of journalists on the continent, representing about
260.000 journalists in over thirty countries. The IFJ and EFJ promote international action
to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent
organisations of journalists; foster trade unions to maintain or create
environments in which quality media, ethical and independant journalism can be,
become or return to be a reality.