CEI- SEEMO Award 2021

Sadeta Bajrović from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Milica Vojinović from Serbia win CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism 2021

Awarding ceremony in Belgrade, XV South East Europe Media Forum, 3 November (7.45 pm)

Sadeta Bajrović from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Milica Vojinović 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). Nermina Kuloglija from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Vlad Odobescu from Romania will receive a special mention.

The awarding ceremony is taking place in Belgrade on 3 November during the XV South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF).

Sadeta Bajrović

Sadeta Bajrović, investigative reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the winner in the “Professional Journalists” category. The jury has prized her accomplished stories focusing on vulnerable and ordinary people such as “Fighting Bureaucrats for Children’s Lives” and “Citizens finance harmful private businesses” tackling topics of great importance for the whole society. While undertaking a rigorous research activity, Bajrovic provided citizens with accessible and clear information, which was particularly needed in times of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Milica Vojinović

Milica Vojinović, investigative reporter at the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network – KRIK, Serbia, is the winner in the “Young Professional Journalists” category. She has published various stories covering organised crime topics. During the pandemic, regardless of the limited resources and the lack of accessible information, she was able to carry out several serious and accurate investigations, even under pressure and personal risk.

Nermina Kuloglija

Taking into account the high quality of the candidatures, the jury has also decided to assign two special mentions. Nermina Kuloglija from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was praised for the database she produced during the pandemic comprising public procurements across the country related to medical equipment, which also allowed her to disclose some notable corruption stories.

Vlad Odobescu

Vlad Odobescu, a freelance journalist and member of the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, was appreciated for his contribution to a data, narrative and investigative project on the vulnerabilities of mobile workers at a time of Covid-19, carried out by an international team of journalists.

This year’s edition of the CEI SEEMO Award has given priority to works bringing attention to the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on people’s lives. The submitted candidatures were examined by an independent jury composed of: Remzi Lani, Executive Director, Albanian Media Institute; Borislav Kontić, Director, Mediacentar Sarajevo; Maja Sever, HRT – Croatian Radio Television; Saša Leković, Croatian freelance journalist and investigative reporting trainer; Alina Radu, Director, Ziarul de Garda, Moldova.


One virus, many stories: investigative reporting on the socio-economic impact of the global pandemic


The CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism is meant to promote high-quality investigative journalism and acknowledge the efforts of media professionals to explore major topics, often working under difficult conditions.

FOCUS 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a socio-economic and health crisis at multiple levels, with effects on employment, income, education, mental well-being, gender inequalities across age, ethnicity, and social groups. Under this framework, the CEI SEEMO Award 2021 seeks to promote the work of investigative journalists who contributed to bringing attention to the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on people’s lives, in particular by exploring stories focused on gender, youth, minority groups and people with disabilities.


The Call is open to nationals of the 17 CEI Member States: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine.

The Award is divided into two categories:

2. YOUNG PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS (born on/after 1991) 1,000 EUR

Category 1: candidates who have been actively involved in investigative reporting over the last two years and are still active in journalism. Two samples of journalistic work will be relevant for the evaluation from the jury.

Category 2: candidates who have been actively involved in investigative reporting, even in the context of training activities organised by schools/universities/NGOs and, as a result, should have published at least one investigative story meeting all professional standards. One sample of journalistic work will be relevant for the evaluation from the jury.

Print, Radio, TV, news agencies and Internet media are admitted.


Candidates shall fill in the Online Application Form available here: https://www.cei.int/contact/application_cei_seemo

The following documents in PDF format shall be uploaded:
1. a detailed Curriculum Vitae;
2. a recommendation letter written and signed by trustworthy individuals, journalism and media organisations, media companies, civil society organisations, journalism schools or universities, trade unions or other social organisations from the target countries;
3. up to three samples of journalistic work in a single PDF document (minimum two samples in Category 1, one sample in Category 2). For online work samples, insert hyperlinks in a PDF document, or print out online articles in a PDF file. Hyperlinks need to be accessible at least by 30 November 2021. In the case of audio/video material, please upload the files making use of file-sharing services (e.g. WeTransfer or Dropbox) including a script or scenario.
Material prepared in local languages should be accompanied by a short summary in English.

Applications that do not include all requested documentation will not be considered.


Applications shall be submitted by 31 August 2021 (23:59 CEST).


Applications will be examined by an international jury composed of distinguished journalists and media experts from the region, which may also include winners of previous editions of the Award. The awarding ceremony will take place during the South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) to be held in autumn this year.

The jury will take into account the relevance of the matters covered by the reports, which should have a focus on the target countries as well as the quality of reporting in terms of documentation, data, writing and production. The personal risks taken while performing the duties as well as the impact on society of the messages conveyed will also be evaluated.