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GIJN awards top investigators

27. april 2010 23:10

Event Date:
Thu, 2010-04-22 00 – Sun, 2010-04-25 00
The sixth Global Investigative Journalism Conference held its celebratory dinner on the Saturday night of the conference and honored some of the best journalism work of the past year.

The Global Shining Light Award was awarded to a team of journalists from Eastern  Europe for their investigation on the corruption within the Moldovan regime. Their investigation was supported by the Danish agency Scoop. Those awarded were: Vitalie Calugarearenu, Vlad Lavrov, Stefen Candea, Dumitru Lazur and Irina Codrean.

Scoop said the team exposed how the former president of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, abused his power to enrich himself and his family, using examples of how his family’s wealth had increased after he became president. The journalists obtained information on Voronin’s private properties from 1996-2009 and how they were growing extensively. They also showed how he and his family were abusing their position to create monopolies for their own businesses.

The investigation was published in March 2009 just before the election in Molodova and played a leading role in public protests against the president. The GIJ jury notedthe strong research and also the insistence to hold the government accountable. Click here to read the investigation.

The Daniel Pearl 2010 awards went to three teams of reporters. First, a special certificate was handed to Stephen Engelberg, from ProPublica, for the moving series of articles about the return home of U.S. civilian contractors from war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan and their abandonment by the government when seeking medical support. Click here to read the investigation.

In the U.S. category, the prize was given to the weekly magazine The Nation for an investigation into how Pentagon military contractors in Afghanistan routinely pay millions of dollars in protection money to the Taliban.Click here to read the investigation.

Finally, in the International category, the prize was given to an exemplary transnational collaboration between journalists in Norway, Great Britain, Holland and the Ivory Coast. They worked together to trace and unveil the suspicious trafficking of toxic waste by international company, Trafigura. The team included David Leigh, investigations editor of The Guardian; Meirion Jones and Liz MacKean’s from BBC Newsnight; Kjersti Knudsson and Synnove Bakke, from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation; and Jeroen Trommelen, of Dutch paper de Volkskrant. Their reporting exposed how oil firm Trafigura dumped 500 tons of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, poisoning approximately 30,000 West Africans. Click here to read one installment of the investigation.

The awards, which were created specifically to honor cross-border investigative reporting, gave each set of winners $5,000.

This year, the Global Investigative Journalism Conference created a special award – “the Odyssey Award” — to recognize the tenacity, determination and resourcefulness of certain of our colleagues, which enabled them to brave volcanic and adverse forces and eventually join us in Geneva.

The Odyssey Awards went to: John Grobler (The Namibian, Namibia), Jan Furuly (Afterposten, Norway), Minna Knus-Galan (SpotlightYLE, Finland), and Fatuma Noor (Nairobi Star, Kenya). Some of the journalists traveled several days to attend and speak at the conference.

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