The jury for the award found that Haris Rovcanin’s work “exceeds the usual scope of journalistic work”.
“He has made the Database of Judicially Established Facts about the War in BiH extremely educational, viewable and alive, adjusting it to the visual sensibility of young generations,” the jury wrote in its explanation.
It added that, “in societies burdened with nationalism, his work represents a huge and permanent contribution to combating the manipulation of the war past”.
Rovcanin said he felt honoured that the five-member jury of this year’s Srdjan Aleksic Regional Award had selected him.
“The work on the Database of Judicially Established Facts represents a huge and permanent contribution to combating the manipulation of the war past,” he said.
“Among other things, the Database was created with an idea to finally put an end to manipulations of the war and court verdicts dealing with the subject, relativization of the past and using only the parts suitable at a certain moment, while denying the others,” he added.
“The award means a lot to me because a lot of effort has been invested in it, alongside months of work and, particularly, attempts to find ways to adjust it to young people, so they too find it useful,” Rovcanin continued.
He also said the award will be an additional incentive to his future work.
The Database of Judicially Determined Facts is a project of BIRN BiH supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund, aimed at creating fact-based sources of information, which can be used for educational and informational purposes, thus contributing to combating disinformation and to improving media literacy.
BIRN BiH previously donated the content of the Database to the Memorial Fund of Sarajevo Canton public institution, for educational and scientific-investigative purposes, as well as for the establishment of a museum of suffering, also signing a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Ministry of Education of Tuzla Canton, which covers use of the Database in the teaching process as material in history classes.
In October, Rovcanin and Melisa Foric-Plasto gave training to history teachers from Sarajevo on the use of the Database in classes, based on a cooperation agreement with the Institute for Development of Pre-University Education of Sarajevo Canton.
Rovcanin previously won second prize in the Fetisov International Award in 2021 in the “Outstanding Contribution to Peace” category for a series of four articles.
He was a part of BIRN BiH’s team, which in 2020 won a special European Press Prize for “effort and success in ensuring justice for war crimes victims”, for longstanding professional and continuous reporting on most sensitive topics.
Besides Rovcanin, this year’s award winners also include KRIK journalist from Belgrade Bojana Jovanovic in the category “For Courage”, and Portal Novosti in the category “For the Media”.
This year, the jury consisted of Ana Hegedis Lalic from Serbia, Slavica Lukic and Boris Pavelic from Croatia, Vladan Micunovic from Montenegro and Borislav Kontic from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The award is given for a professional and continuous reporting on marginalized and vulnerable groups in Bosnian society and for development of socially responsible journalism.
This year’s awards ceremony is organised by the Helsinki Parliament of Citizens Banja Luka, Peace Building Network, Independent Society of Journalists of Vojvodina, Media Institute of Montenegro and Association for Promotion of Medica Culture, Art and Tolerance – Lupiga – “the world seen through the common eyes”, from Croatia.
The award ceremony will take place in Banja Luka on the International Day of Human Rights, December 10, as part of the Days of Srdjan Aleksic events.