BIRN Trainee Awarded

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Cameron Munter, US ambassador to Serbia, presented Dejan Dimic, journalist of the weekly newspaper Vranjske, with the award for the best journalist text on 3 May, the Day of the Freedom of Media.

The award from the Independent Journalist Association of Serbia, with support from the US embassy, for the best investigative work in print and electronic journalism, was presented on Thursday at the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade.

The independent media are uncovering abuse of official position, fighting against corruption, questioning existing assumptions, and providing a healthy ambiance, said Munter, adding that without free media there would be no democracy.
Munter said that the “US government and its citizens” would resume supporting independent media in Serbia.
Dimic’s text entitled “Closely Observed Affairs” [REFERENCE TO A JIRI MENZEL FILM] was published in a special supplement on southern Serbia which Vranjske published with support from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and British embassy in Belgrade.
The awarded piece, according to the jury made of former chairmen of the Journalist Association, Dimic showed exceptional dose of personal courage, uncovering an other, very interesting dimension of the Albanian-Serbian relations in southern Serbia.
“He writes with arguments, without fear, and with abundance of facts, about crime and smuggling in the region, with Serbs and Albanians as protagonists in criminal activities, without taking any sides,” says, among other things, in the official explanation.
Dimic said it was a special honour for him to receive this award from his colleagues, most eminent names of the Serbian journalism: Gordana Logar, Gordana Susa, Milos Vasic, Milica Lucic Cavic and Nebojsa Bugarinovic.
Dimic added that his text showed that the crime does not recognize ethnic borders and that criminals have excellent cooperation regardless of their ethnic background.
“This border region was always a place where mutual interests in illegal affairs met, especially for Serbs and Albanians, especially in drug trade and smuggling, regardless of tense inter-ethnic relations between the two communities.”
“This is a great recognition, not only for me personally, but for the staff of Vranjske, the paper which has been dealing in investigative journalism since its foundation in 1994,” said the recipient.
Vranjske are the only private newspaper in southeast Serbia. It has been existing for fifteen years, and has already won all the significant journalist awards in the country.
Vukasin Obradovic, director of Vranjske, says that Dimic’s award was a fruit of professional attitude towards work which has been cherished by the paper from the very start.
“Since its foundation, Vranjske have been paying special attention to investigative journalism. We have never given up such approach to work, and this award is the best proof of it,” says Obradovic.
23 journalists were on the ballot for this year’s award in the category of junior and senior pieces, in print and in electronic media, in the forms of report, interview, articles and reportages.
In the field of TV journalism, first two awards were shared by the crew of Reakcija from RTV B92 from Belgrade, made of Jelena Veljkovic, Radoslavka Despotovic, Jasmina Pasic and Sandra Mandic, and the tandem of Milos Teodorovic and Ivana Lalic Majdak of the Arhitel Production from Belgrade.
The award for radio journalism was not presented this year due to a poor quality of admitted works.