European Parliament Journalism Prize 2010

Labour Party

You will remember how yesterday I talked about this time of year being the prize giving season.

Well, I had the pleasure of being one of the judges of this year’s European Parliament Journalism Prize, which awards prizes for radio, television, print and internet journalism.  It was fascinating to read, watch and listen to examples of journalism from across the EU, all of which were on European issues.  We had to look for entries that not only displayed journalistic excellence, but also helped increase understanding of the European Union. 

The entries were all of a very high standard as they were all winners in their own countries, but my fellow judges and I were given the very pleasant task of going through them and picking our favourites.

Held yesterday morning, the award ceremony was fun with a serious side as well.  European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek opening the proceedings and presented the awards. Here are the winners:


Witold Szabłowski from Poland wrote a deeply moving article entitled “Today Two Bodies Will Wash Ashore” which looked at the very difficult problem of illegal immigration in the European Union.  The article stood out as one of the best written, with a prose style that was simple yet very evocative.  One of the judges said it was more like a ‘work of literature’ than a piece of journalism, and I would have to agree.  It was obvious that the journalist was very moved by the subject matter and the article went some way to showing the European Unions failings in regards to illegal immigration.


I was very happy to see that the UKs own James Clive -Mathews, better know to some as Nosemonkey, was given the award for best internet journalism for his article on What percentage of laws Come from the EU?”  The article was up to his usual very high standard; well researched, well written, and actually very entertaining.  The scourge of the unthinking Eurosceptic, Mr. Clive-Mathews debunked and proved unfounded a lot of what people in the UK hear about the amount of laws that get handed down from the EU.  One of the other judges said that his articles can be read with ‘a lot of pleasure’, a testament to Nosemonkey’s witty and enthusiastic writing style.


Németh Zsolt, from Hungary, was the winner of the television category with “Euforia”, which attempted to break down the history of the EU in to easily understood chunks for the younger generation.  The piece was imaginative and fun, touching on some of the more emotive elements of life within the EU.  So much of what is made for television about the EU is very dull, so it was refreshing to see something so lively and engaging.


Kajsa Norell and Nuri Kino, from Sweden, were the winners the radio category, with their piece on “EU’s financial support to Turkey”.  It was a thoroughly researched and engaging piece of journalism that really gave you a sense of the difficulties facing rural Turkey and the city of Ankara.  It was a well paced and excellently put together piece of radio journalism.


Human Rights, Turkey

Having already written a letter to the Turkish Prime Minister and blogged on it HERE, I have just put my name to an open letter to David Miliband calling on the British government to use its influence on Turkey. Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish woman elected to the Turkish parliament, has been convicted for up to ten years in prison for speeches she allegedly made in the UK and elsewhere.

Her affront to the Turkish state has been to speak up for peace between Kurds and Turks – a far cry from the supposed promotion of pro-terrorist language she is accused of. She has previously served ten years in jail for fighting for Kurdish rights. Famously, upon entering parliament she called for brotherhood between the Kurdish and Turkish peoples. The offence there? To make this call in her native Kurdish language.

Her earlier trial was found to be unfair and unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights, and her struggle has long been recognised in Europe: in the 1990s Amnesty recognised her as a prisoner of conscience, and the European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for human rights.

The letter calls on the UK government to hammer the message home that Turkey must honour its commitments under the Copenhagen Criteria if it is to join the European Union. Freedom of speech and association are universal human rights, and must be respected as such.


Read more on Leyla Zana HERE, and on the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign HERE