The Central European Initiative (CEI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) are pleased to announce that the young investigative journalist Besar Likmeta from Albania is the winner of the CEI/SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism.
On 29 June 2009, the International Jury met in Trieste, at the CEI Headquarters. The Jury was composed of Mr. Norbert Mappes Niediek, free-lance South East Europe correspondent based in Graz (Austria); Ms. Franca Roiatti, deputy editor, foreign affairs desk, Panorama weekly, Milan (Italy); Ms. Marina Constantinoiu, editor-in-chief, Jurnalul National daily, Bucharest (Romania); Mr. Milorad Ivanovic, deputy editor-in-chief, Blic daily, Belgrade (Serbia); Ms. Angelina Soldatenko, director of the International Institute for Regional Media and Information, Kharkiv (Ukraine).
The meeting was also attended by Mr. Hari Stajner (Serbia), CEI expert in media issues, acting as advisor together with Mr. Oliver Vujovic (SEEMO Secretary General), Amb. Pietro Ercole Ago (CEI-ES Secretary General) and Ms. Barbara Fabro (CEI-ES Senior Executive Officer). The Jury examined a total of 26 nominations from 12 CEI Member States. The personal risks taken while performing the duty, the quality of reporting as well as the impact on society of the message conveyed were the main criteria taken into account by the Jury.
It was unanimously decided that the Award should go to Besar Likmeta, young investigative journalist from Albania. With this selection, the Jury 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.
Besar Likmeta will receive the Award of 5.000 EUR, offered by 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 investigative work has streched from fake degrees to consumer protection and fraud by large state corporations. In 2008-2009, Limkmeta has produced several significant investigative reports that were widely republished and have made an impact in the Albanian society as well as regionally: Albania Ignores Trade in Fake Degrees, Wind Farm Threatens Albanian Paradise, World Bank Demolished Albania Village
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, Businessweek and World Politics Review.
Moreover, the Jury decided to award a special mention to Esad Hecimovic from Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Stefan Candea from Romania, in recognition of their valuable contribution to investigative journalism. For that, they will receive a CEI SEEMO diploma during the CEI Journalists Forum.