BIRN Albania Editor wins the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merit in Investigative Journalism

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The Central European Initiative, CEI, and the South East Europe Media Organisation, SEEMO, have announced that Besar Likmeta, BIRN’s Albania Editor, has been awarded the CEISEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism.

The Jury composed of prominent journalists, correspondents and editors from across Europe, examined a total of 26 nominations from 12 CEI Member States. Jury members took into account the personal risks taken in uncovering stories, the quality of reporting and the impact on society of the message conveyed, when making their decision. It was unanimously decided that the Award should go to Besar Likmeta. With this selection, the Jury said that they intended to promote the good investigative journalism carried out by a very young journalist and, more in general, to convey a signal of support to the development of investigative journalism in Albania, which is particularly significant for this country”.

In addition to the prestigious award itself, Likmeta will receive a significant cash endowment from the CEI Executive Secretariat on the occasion of the traditional “CEI Journalists Forum”, to be held in Warsaw, Poland, in September 2009.

 Besar Likmeta, born in Durres in 1983, is currently editor and project manager of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN. Likmeta’s investigative work has stretched from fake degrees to consumer protection and fraud by large state corporations. In 2008-2009, Likmeta produced several significant investigative reports that were widely republished and which have also made an impact in Albanian society.

 “Albania Ignores Trade in Fake Degrees”

“Wind Farm Threatens Albanian Paradise”

“World Bank Demolished Albania Village”

Balkan Insight’s Managing Editor, Ana Petruseva, endorsed the judges views: “Besar’s work has been crucial to the development of our coverage in Albania and his bravery, dedication and tirelessness in pursuit of a story is an inspiration to us all.”

Likmeta has worked as professional journalist for various print publications, electronic media and television. He started his career reporting for the Florida Times Union in Jacksonville, Florida. He moved to Albania in 2005 where he has been a features editor for the Tirana Times, a world news editor for the 24 hour news channel, TV Ora news, and lately as BIRN Albania editor. He has also contributed stories to various publications such as Jane’s Intelligence Review, Business Week and World Politics Review.