Cecilia Anesi from Italy and Natalija Jovanovic from Serbia are the winners of this year’s CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism, promoted by the Central European Initiative (CEI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO). Esmeralda Keta from Albania will receive a special mention.

The awarding ceremony is taking place on 22 October 2020 during the South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF). This year SEEMF will be held in a hybrid format: on-site in Belgrade, Fažana, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Sofia, Tirana and Trieste as well as in an online conference.

Cecilia Anesi, investigative reporter at IrpiMedia, the online media of IRPI (Investigative Reporting Project Italy), is the winner in the “Professional Journalist” category. An accomplished journalist who has made a name of herself as a freelance reporter and as the co-founder of IRPI reporting about international organised crime and drug trafficking. The jury has prized her well-rounded and masterly crafted research conducted with a team of journalists on the topic of international drug trafficking in times of the COVID-19 epidemic. Notably, she stands out for the rigorous and outstanding model of journalism she embodies.

Natalija Jovanović, investigative reporter at BIRN (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network) Serbia, is the frontrunner for the “Young Journalist” award. A tenacious and brave reporter, the jury has valued her story focusing on checking different COVID-19 data from different sources, carrying out her journalistic work through in-depth research.

The investigations on the health system have granted the Albanian journalist Esmeralda Keta the jury’s special mention. Investigative journalist at Top Story show broadcasted by Top Channel and contributor to BIRN Albania, her model of journalism focuses on the injustices faced by vulnerable groups and the shortcomings in protecting citizens’ rights.

This year’s edition of the CEI SEEMO Award gave priority to works covering issues related to the coronavirus crisis. The submitted candidatures were examined by an independent jury composed of: Remzi Lani, Executive Director, Albanian Media Institute; Maja Sever, HRT - Croatian Radio Television;  Marina Constantinoiu, Project coordinator, editiadedimineata.ro, Bucharest; Stevan Dojčinović; Editor, Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) Belgrade; Francesco Martino, correspondent, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso - OBC Transeuropa, Trento/Sofia; with the coordination of Barbara Fabro (CEI Senior Executive Officer) and Oliver Vujovic (SEEMO Secretary General).

More info: fabro@cei.int