Project news & updates

The EJC Sponsors First GIPA-Friedman Prize in Georgia

17 July 2012 | PROJECT NEWS

 

The EJC and the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) jointly announced the winner of the first annual GIPA-Friedman Prize—Nana Biganishvili of Monitor Studio—at a ceremony that took place in the capital, Tblisi, in June. The prize, named after Joshua Friedman, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former chairman and current board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists, recognizes Excellence in Investigative Reporting. The independent prize panel evaluated a short-list of 27 submissions. 

Friedman traveled from New York to present the award to Ms. Biganishvili in person. In his award speech he reinforced the important place of investigative journalism in emerging democracies: “It’s very humbling to be able to present the first GIPA-Friedman Prize to Nana Biganishvili. I really respect journalists who struggle to do their jobs in countries like Georgia. Unfortunately, those in power here are still afraid of a really free press—which is essential if democracy is to flourish. The system here makes it hard to practice aggressive journalism. Newspapers and broadcast stations seem to be polarized—either entirely for or entirely against the government—and journalists working for them must go along with that or face losing their jobs. So really the people to be admired as we meet here are those who produce great journalism in the face of great obstacles—like those we recognize today.” 

A panel discussion followed and was moderated by Georgian Institute of Public Affairs Dean Badri Koplatadze. The panel included Shorena Shaverdashvili, Editor-in-Chief, Liberali, Nino Khatiskatsi, from Transparency International Georgia, as well as New York Times reporter and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism faculty professor Thomas Edsall. “The career and personality of Josh Friedman represents the ideas and values that we admire and recognize at GIPA.” said Georgian Institute of Public Affairs Dean, Badri Koplatadze. “We teach the principles of fair objective, accurate journalism, principles that are strongly carried and adhered to by Josh.  By introducing the GIPA-Friedman Prize we try to support those who follow the same principles in Georgia and struggle to reveal the truth.” 

The ceremony was opened with a statement and welcome by Netherlands Ambassador to Georgia, Pieter Jan Langenberg. The audience included representatives of Georgian media, local politicians, press freedom organizations and journalism students and teachers. 

The EJC’s partnership with GIPA is the core of its five-year Netherlands Foreign Ministry funded activities in Georgia, which focus on building investigative journalism capacity—especially on issues of economic and political corruption—among Georgian journalists. The project is a component of the Press Freedom 2.0 global initiative that includes the EJC and other Netherlands-based media consortium partners World Press Photo, People on a Mission, Free Press Unlimited and European Partnership for Democracy, working in 11 countries on five continents. For more information please contact Marjan Tillmans.

Project:
Georgia: Finances and Transparency - New Approaches for Georgian Journalism
Addressing a Georgian-specific problem, namely the absence of investigative coverage of economic corruption issues, the project's objective is to promote excellence in journalism by instituting a competition on the national level. Our work in Georgia also involves journalistic capacity building through training, developed in cooperation with local institutions and international organisations.

Project:
MFSII - Press Freedom 2.0
A five-year, international media development initiative, Press Freedom 2.0 aims to support democratic development by empowering civil society, citizens, and local media organisations through the implementation of local media projects. Conducted by a Dutch consortium, the Press Freedom initiative offers a range of trainings and activities specifically tailored to the needs of 11 selected countries.