Awarding ceremony at South East Europe Media Forum
14 November 2023 (19:45-20:00),
Tirana, Albania
Tirana International Hotel & Conference Center

Jure Tepina from Slovenia and Azra Husarić Omerović from Bosnia and Herzegovina 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). The Ukrainian journalists Taras Zozulinskyy and the team of Slidstvo.Info will receive a special mention.

The awarding ceremony is taking place on 14 November 2023 during the South East Europe Media Forum (SEEMF) in Tirana, Albania.

Jure Tepina, journalist and editor-in-chief of digital assets at PRO PLUS, a leading Slovenian multimedia company, is the winner in the “Professional Journalists” category. Tepina has a long-standing experience as a defense and war reporter, covering wars in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Ukraine. In particular, he was the first Slovenian reporter to reach besieged Kyiv in the first week of the Russian invasion. He visited the crime scenes in Borodyanka, Bucha, Irpin and traveled to Kherson where he reported on the stories of the Russian torture chambers and methods of interrogating innocent civilians. The jury has recognised his commitment to uncovering stories from diverse and challenging environments in different war zones, with an extensive experience in Ukraine.

Azra Husarić Omerović, a graduate in Journalism at the University of Tuzla, and currently a journalist at BIRN BiH, works as a court reporter and is the frontrunner for the “Young Professional Journalists” category. Her journalistic work primarily focuses on human rights protection, the rights of children with developmental difficulties, but also on hate speech, discrimination, and electoral irregularities. The jury praised her investigative work producing a story about a group of self-styled healers that led to tragic death, a valuable example of commitment to uncover lesser known stories in a modern and multimedia format.

Taking into account the high quality of the candidatures, the jury has also decided to assign two special mentions:

Taras Zozulinskyy, Chairman of the Board Bureau of journalistic investigations “Detectives”, was praised for his extensive journalistic work documenting war crimes during the Russian aggression in Ukraine, in cooperation with several media and human rights organisations. The team of Slidstvo.Info was commended for their high professional work in exposing corruption In Ukraine, which resulted in several outstanding investigative documentaries.

Taras Zozulinskyy, Chairman of the Board Bureau of journalistic investigations “Detectives”, was praised for his extensive journalistic work documenting war crimes during the Russian aggression in Ukraine, in cooperation with several media and human rights organisations.
Supported production of the journalistic investigations of Taras Zozulinskyy  – the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG).
This organization is one of the oldest Ukrainian human rights organizations. Together with the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the Center for Civil Liberties – KHPG created a global initiative the “Tribunal for Putin” – in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.
In all the Regions of Ukraine, participant organizations document events that display features of crimes defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes.
Today, this initiative unites several dozen human rights organizations and journalistic editorial offices – as part of the project “Voices of the War”.
The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine also provided support for journalistic investigations in the protection of human rights to Taras Zozulinskyy and his colleagues. Through the joint project “Incentive for Independent Journalism in the Regions of Ukraine” with the Union of Journalists of Lithuania.

The submitted candidatures were evaluated by an independent jury composed of: Aleksandra Bogdani (Albania), editor at BIRN Albania; Marina Constantinoiu (Romania), Project Coordinator at editiadedimineata.ro; Saša Leković (Croatia), freelance journalist and investigative reporting trainer; Lucie Sýkorová (Czech Republic), Chair of ECPMF Supervisory Board; Oleksiy Soldatenko (Ukraine), Co-founder and Programs Director at Institute for Regional Media and Information (IRMI Ukraine); with the coordination of Barbara Fabro (CEI) and Oliver Vujovic (SEEMO).





Azra Husarić Omerović is a journalist of the Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIRN BiH) and producer of the show Detektor Magazin. She graduated in journalism from
the University of Tuzla. Worked on local radio and radio of the state public service. She was engaged in activism in the field of human rights advocacy.

She is the co-author of a documentary film about journalism that premiered at the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2018.

She received UNICEF’s award for contribution to the promotion and protection of children’s rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the “Internet Work” category for her story on the challenges facing children with developmental difficulties and their parents in online classes during the current pandemic.

He currently works on the topics of war crimes, digital security, disinformation, as well as human rights


Jure Tepina is a Slovenian journalist and editor-in-chief of the website 24ur.com. That is his main responsibility for the past six years. He has been working as a journalist for 27 years and has begun his journalistic career as a sports journalist at RTV Slovenia, working as a presenter and sports commentator. For the past 14 years, he has
been part of the newsroom of the commercial POPTV. In addition to leading the highest rated website in Slovenia, he is also in charge of covering breaking news and events. He has reported on terrorist attacks throughout Europe, he did multiple reporting tours to Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Chechnya, and has just returned from Ukraine for the second time.


Project manager, editor-in-chief and journalist. In journalism for more than 15 years, and in public organizations – since 2000;

Since 2017, I have been managing the Bureau of Journalistic Investigations “Detectives”.

Began recording war crimes / crimes against humanity in 2018 related to the Second World War.

Three documentary stories were published in the book “Being Human”. Won an international literary journalism competition with one of these stories. This project was implemented and financed by the German Foundation “Memory, Responsibility and Future”. (EVZ – www.stiftung-evz.de/)

In 2022 – I began to participate in an international project to document war crimes – TribunalforPutin (T4P – https://t4pua.org/de/).

As part of this project, together with human rights organizations from several European countries I began to collect evidence of crimes against humanity and human rights violations by the Russian military.

I worked together with the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, the network of “Memorial” organizations (inparticular, “Memoria lDeutschland” – www.igfm.de/), “Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte” ((IGFM – DeutscheSektion – https://www.igfm.de/), Czech organizations ” Peoplein Need”, “Gulag. CZ”, “PragueCivilSocietyCentre”.

I collected more than 80 facts of war crimes in Ukraine. Inparticular murders, shelling and bombing of civilian objects.

I am working on a joint project with the European School of Oncology. In this project, we focused on the narrow specialization of documenting war crimes against vulnerable population like children with disabilities and cancer patients.

We also record war crimes against doctors and hospital infrastructure:

Also, in May 2023, I prepared two series of the “People of War” project.

In 2022, I had a series of trainings for 100 students of higher educational institutions in Western Ukraine.

I am finishing a book – “Glaucoma girl. The horrors of the Russian war”.

I also work in an international journalistic team – with Moldovan specialists. We are carrying out a joint project – funded by Journalism fund Europe (Belgium – https://www.journalismfund.eu/journalists/taras-zozulinskyy). We are preparing a series of journalistic investigations – “Russian war crimes against ecology. The impact on the environment of neighboring European countries.”


Entered the Faculty of journalism – Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. Master of Journalism;

Cooperation with: :

“Center for Investigative Journalism in Moldova”; “Agency for Journalistic Investigations” Informant”; TV Channels “1+1”, “2+2”,“ZIK”;Newspapers”Ekspres”, “Mirror of the Week”,”Ukrainian Week”.

International cooperation – grant projects (over 20):

European School of Oncology;People in Need;Professional Development Grants for Environmental Journalism; International Renaissance Foundation;Center for Eastern European Studies: Lithuanian Union of Journalists;Money Trail Grants;OPEN Media Hub (Thomson Foundation);Journalismfund Europe; USAID; Democratic Society East; Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU); Internews; DANIDA; Freedom House;Polish-Canadian programs for Democracy; Association of Polish Journalists; Project Association Investigative Journalists Denmark (SCOOP).

Professional awards (over 30):

Fetisov Journalism Awards (nominee); Media etc. 3.0 (special award); “The best publication in the framework of the project Counteraction to Disinformation in the Information Space of Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia” (third place); “Catch Fake” (first place); Hostwriter Pitch Prize (winner); One World Media Awards (nominee); European Press Prize (nominee); Ukrainian-Polish competition “Polish Journalists Association” (third place); “Police under control” (first place); “Honor of the profession (first place); “Reporters for Reporters – Eastern Partnership Journalistic Award” (nominee).

Speaker at trainings and seminars:
A series of trainings for Ukrainian students – journalistic investigations (2022); IJC19 (11th All-Ukrainian Conference of Investigative Journalists); MediaBarCamp (Lithuania);”Judicial reform in Ukraine: instruments of social control”;“S.T.O.P. Corruption: Supporting Transparency, Organizing Prevention”.



Aleksandra Bogdani is an investigative journalist and an editor for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania. She has more than 20 years of experience as reporter and editor for several newsrooms in Albania.
During her career, Bogdani has covered court and crime issues, as well as corruption, organize crime, immigration and CVEs issues. She has been also engaged as a trainer and mentor for local journalists. Bogdani has been awarded with CEI-SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism in 2015 and “EU Investigative Journalism Award 2014”.


Graduated in International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Trieste, Barbara Fabro is Senior Executive Officer at the Central
European Initiative (CEI) – Executive Secretariat.
She is responsible for the CEI activities and programmes in the fields of intercultural cooperation and media. She is the Focal Point for the CEI Parliamentary Dimension.

She runs the CEI partnership with the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) in the context of the annual South East Europe
Media Forum and coordinates the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Journalism.
Previously, she was in charge of communication and media relations and coordinated the CEI working groups/networks of experts in the fields of culture, education, minorities, media.
As short-term observer, she participated in OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Missions.


Chair of the Supervisory board of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), journalist since 2001, worked for print and online media in the region of Pilsen (CZ), from 2021 for investigative website HlidaciPes.org. Co-founder and member of board of the Association of Regional Journalists. Co-founder and chair of the Jindřich Opper´s Journalists Club, which runs the regional startup magazine Apel-plzen.cz and organized a program for relocation of journalists in need from Eastern Europe. Vicechair of the Association of Online Publishers (AOV), which unites private independent media in Czech republic. On behalf of AOV she´s a board member of News Media Europe (NME), which represents more than 2,500 media outlets in 14 European countries.



Marina Constantinoiu studied journalism at Bucharest University and began her career as a journalist during her first semester of studies. With nearly 33 years of experience in the field, she has held various significant roles, including Head of the Foreign Desk, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Editor-in-Chief, and Project Coordinator. Her career has spanned across different media platforms, starting with public radio, national daily newspapers, press agencies, and online multimedia news websites.

In addition to her extensive professional background, Marina is actively involved in various media organizations. She serves as a board member of SEEMO (South East Europe Media Organization) and is a member of EJA (European Journalists Association) and CLEW (Clean Energy Wire Network). Marina has received two awards for investigative journalism and is an alumna of the Robert Bosch Foundation’s “Reporters in the Field” media program and the IJP (Internationale Journalisten Programme), the German-Central Eastern European Bursary program.
Furthermore, Marina shares her knowledge and expertise by teaching journalism at Bucharest University, specifically at the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she works with MA students.


Oliver Vujovic is a co-founder of the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) and since 2000 has been SEEMO Secretary General. Vujovic worked as a journalist and Balkan correspondent for the Austrian daily Die Presse between 1991 and 2000, and as a freelancer for different media in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the UK. He also worked in the marketing department of the German company Henkel. He graduated in economics and is currently working on a PhD at the University of Vienna. Vujovic started his professional work as a journalist for Radio Indeks 202 (Radio Belgrade) in Belgrade (1988) and worked from the founding for Radio B92 in Belgrade (1989). In 2000 and 2001, he served as Director of the Vienna Balkan publication Südosteuropäischer Dialog, and Director and Advisor of the Kulturzentrum in Vienna.

Vujovic is also a founder and Deputy Director of the South-East and Central Europe PR Organisation (SECEPRO) in Vienna and of the International Institute – International Media Center in Vienna. He is also co-founder and Deputy Director of the International Academy in Belgrade. He is author, co-editor, editor, and publisher of numerous books, magazines, publications, research articles, and research papers.
Oliver Vujovic was member of different boards.
Currently he is member of the ECPMF (Leipzig, Germany) Supervisory Board.


Oleksiy Soldatenko is co-founder and Programs Director of the International Institute for Regional Media and Information (IRMI, Ukraine). He is a media and Public Relations expert, a trainer, and a training organizer with more than 30 years of experience.



Sasa Lekovic is the President of NGO Investigative Journalism Center, based in Croatia. From 2015 to 2018 he was a president of the Croatian Journalists Association. He is freelance reporter, editor, trainer and media consultant from 2003.

Lekovic is journalist for the past 44 years working in different position in local and national print media, radio in Croatia. He is one of the founders of a Zagreb-based national daily “Jutarnji list”. He also has expertise in radio, TV and web media in Croatia as well in South East Europe region.

As a reporter and editor as well as a licensed investigative reporting trainer and lecturer he has worked with a few hundred of journalists and journalism students, mostly in South East Europe but also in other European countries as well as and in Armenia, Bangladesh, Israel/ Palestine, Nigeria…

Sasa Lekovic is one of the founders of Global Investigative Journalism Network.

CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism


“Investigative reporting in times of crises”


The CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism is meant to promote high-quality investigative journalism and acknowledge the efforts of investigative journalists often working under difficult conditions in the context of threats to media freedom and personal safety.

FOCUS 2023

This year’s Award seeks to highlight the role of investigative journalists in connection with major crises and emergencies, like the war in Ukraine caused by the Russian aggression, and the challenges they face to provide accurate, reliable information. Special attention will be paid to investigative stories focusing on the consequences of the war such as: violation of human rights, war crimes, refugee crisis, propaganda, fake news.


The Call is open to nationals of 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 1993) 1,000 EUR

Category 1: candidates who have been actively involved in investigative reporting over the last three 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://tinyurl.com/s9wrxf33

The following documents in PDF format shall be uploaded:
1. Curriculum vitae (in English).
2. Recommendation letter (in English) 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 by 30 November 2023. 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 30 June 2023 (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 Tirana, Albania, in November 2023.

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.



www.cei.int // fabro@cei.int
www.seemo.org // info@seemo.org