Today, the Council of Media Ethics (CMEM) via video address on Facebook announced the awards regarding the Call for Best Journalistic Stories related to reporting on the pandemics of coronavirus (CОVID-19), the associated challenges and arising consequences.
In conformity with the unanimous agreement of the three-member-jury:
The first prize was awarded to the newsroom of the Investigative Reporting Lab for the story entitled ‘Uncertain Diagnoses: How Falsely Declared Dutch COVID Tests from China Ended Up in Macedonia, the USA and the EU Countries’. The story elaborates on a rather relevant and meaningful topic of wider public interest that reveals an international network of misuses on behalf of profit in times of pandemics. The jury highlighted that the story was characterized by an impressive journalistic and team engagement, demonstrated high quality, balance and exclusivity as well good visualization and reliable sources of information.
The second prize at this year’s Call published by CMEM was awarded to the story entitled ‘TV 21 Entered a Laboratory Where Coronavirus Tests Are Processed’. The story belongs to Jovica Paunovski and it was broadcast on Television 21. It tackles a rather current story from the Laboratory at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine where swabs taken from patients with COVID-19 symptoms are processed. The story features a rather profound and in-depth approach and it is characterized by a significant engagement on the part of the reporter and cameraman. The story elaborates on the procedures in the coronavirus testing, the conditions and manner of operation and the persons engaged.
The third prize at this year’s Call was awarded to journalistic stories by two different authors.
The first one was the TV contribution entitled ‘The Fight for Food Stronger Than the Fear of COVID-19’ whereas the second one ‘Diabetes – The Second Biggest Risk of Coronavirus Infection’ of the author Katerina Topalova, broadcast on MTV. Ms. Topalova, in a very plain, understandable and engaging manner tackles issues which are of pivotal importance for several vulnerable categories of citizens at stake of COVID-19, and in this very specific case the most destitute stratum of the society and the diabetics.
The second serial of third place awarded stories are entitled ‘In the Village of Batinci and in Debar Just Before the Declaration of the State of Emergency’ and ‘The Biggest Number of Newly Infected Persons in the Last Three Weeks are from Several Municipalities in Skopje and from Tetovo – the Situation from the Field’ by the author Hekuran Akifi, broadcast in the show 360 Stepeni (360 Degrees) on Television Alsat-M. The story is characterized by intense engagement and devotion on the part of both the reporter and the cameraman depicting two, at the time current hotspots of the coronavirus crisis, and elaborating on all relevant aspects and portraying the problems of all stakeholders.
In addition to the awards for the best stories, the jury has decided to confer two honorable mentions. The first honorable mention was conferred to the author Petre Dimitrov for his story entitled ‘Macedonian Masks, Face Shields, Sanitary Gates, Protective Suits: the Coronavirus Has Opened Up New Business Opportunities’, published on the portal eMagazine. The jury has also decided to confer an honorable mention to the journalist Zoran Jovanoski for his stories entitled 'Why Are They Missing, and Even If You Find Them, They Are More Expensive – Masks, Disinfectants And Gloves' and ‘Labunishta in the Vicinity of Struga Remains Bustling After Five Diseased and Some Twenty Infected Persons with Coronavirus’, broadcast in the show 360 Stepeni (360 Degrees) on Television Alsat-M.
The jury was chaired by Ms. Venera Azizi, and consisted of Ms. Emilija Petreska Kamenjarova and Mr. German Filkov.
As it was highlighted by the Executive Director of CMEM, Ms. Marina Tuneva, if it had not been for the tireless work of media and their professional reporting, the citizens would have been deprived of much information regarding the dealing with the virus and would not have been able to handle the vast amount of misinformation, speculations and untruths that further raised the concerns and fear among the public.
The public call of CMEM was open to all professional journalists and newsrooms that have published/broadcast their stories in the media in Macedonia in the period between January 1st and May 31st this year. A total of 66 stories took part in this year’s Call by 30 authors. Out of the total number of stories, 28 were published on television, 26 in internet portals, 6 in a news agency, 3 in print media and 3 on other media platforms.
The awards are conferred with the financial support of UNESCO and EU in the framework of the project entitled ‘Building Trust in Media from South East Europe and Turkey – Phase 2’.