BIRN journalist Sasa Dragojlo was awarded the prestigious ‘Dusan Bogavac’ Journalism Award for Ethics and Courage at a ceremony on Thursday, October 26, at the Belgrade Media Centre.
Zeljko Bodrozic, president of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia, IJAS, said Dragojlo had been recognised for “courageously and professionally investigating and informing the public about important topics of general interest for years, such as the corrupt business of selling ammunition production machines, the war between smugglers in the north of Vojvodina, money laundering through the construction of residential and commercial buildings throughout Serbia, and the recent armed conflict in Banjska.”
Accepting the award, Dragojlo said it was “the best I have received in my short but intense career in journalism”.
The honour, created in memory of the prominent Yugoslav-era journalist Dusan Bogavac, has been awarded by the Dusan Bogavac Foundation and the IJAS since 1991, the year after Bogavac’s death.
“Dusan Bogavac is known for the solidarity fund and, considering the situation in the media in Serbia and globally, I think that solidarity is the key for us,” Dragojlo said.
“Few of us do this job professionally and well, and we need to stick together, considering that no one will help us survive in this job and that professional media are not required in this world,” he told the audience in the Belgrade Media Centre. “We have to fight for our place.”
Dragojlo dedicated the award to “my colleagues from BIRN”.
Bogavac’s sister, Branka Bogavac, said: “We need to emphasise the importance of consistent, courageous, and moral journalists who, with their unwavering engagement, not only save the profession’s image but set an example for all of humanity”.
“That is why I sincerely believe this year’s laureate, investigative journalist Sasa Dragojlo, will also be classified among such personalities and bright examples.”
Besides Bodrozic, the jury members were previous award winners Dragana Peco and Snezana Congradin, as well as Branka Bogavac and Filip Mladenovic on behalf of the Dusan Bogavac Foundation.