Radmilo Markovic was announced as the winner of the award given by the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia and the US embassy in Belgrade on Tuesday.
The jury awarded him for his multimedia investigation that identified hundreds of buildings built in Belgrade without permits in the seven years since new construction legislation entered into force, and made legal via apparently illegal means.
“Investigations into this topic and numerous wrongdoings will continue. We and other media have already done some follow-ups. We wrote and we will continue to write on people who illegally obtained gain by damaging the citizens,” Markovic said after the ceremony.
“However, journalists’ work has its limits. From there, the state institutions should take over – thre prosecution, police and courts. Unfortunately, that other part of it is yet to actually start – for this and hundreds of other investigations that journalists have produced in the last decades,” he added.
This year’s winners included TV N1 journalist Maja Nikolic who received an award in the electronic media category for a documentary Below surface – The last honour and journalists Nemanja Rujevic, Ingrid Gercama, Nathalie Bertrams and Tristen Taylor who were awarded in print category for the story “Parrots worth as much as cocaine”, published by the weekly Vreme. The newly established audience award went to Dalibor Stupar, a journalist of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina, for a documentary about heating and air pollution.
The Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia organised the 18th annual award for outstanding investigative journalism and reporting on issues of public interest with the support of the US embassy in Belgrade.
This year, 45 stories were submitted for consideration.
Among the nine nominees were three more BIRN journalists. In online media category, the jury nominated Sasa Dragojlo’s investigation “With Police Connections, Serbian-Syrian Translator Turned People-Smuggler” and Jelena Veljkovic for a series of articles about Nemanja Stajic, Belgrade’s former secretary for legalisation affairs.
Jelena Zoric was nominated in the print category for articles published in Vreme about the “Jovanjica case” – concerning a massive cannabis farm that allegedly enjoyed the protection of Serbian state security.