The Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro and the NGO Network for the Affirmation of the Non-Governmental Sector (MANS) presented awards for investigative journalism “Bravely Against Corruption” for best stories on corruption and organised crime. The journalists Mirko Boskovic and Dušica Pavlovic from the Public Broadcasting Service won the first prize. The second prize was shared by the editor of ND “Vijesti” Tina Popovic and the journalist of the Crime and Corruption Investigation Network, LUPA Stanko Radulovic, while the third prize went to Ana Ostojic, from the daily newspaper Dan.

Boskovic and Pavlovic were awarded for the “Business Secret” TV series, which dealt with the use of the Abu Dhabi Fund.

“The award is a major impetus for the development of investigative journalism in Montenegro. It is even more significant because it was awarded to us for a TV series dealing with the problem of free access to information. This fundamental democratic right is not intended only for journalists and NGOs, but for all citizens. We are here for the sake of the citizens and we will not be able to do our job freely and professionally unless there is an effective and well-intentioned exercise of the right to free access to information. I hope that authorities will understand that,” explained Pavlovic  during the awarding ceremony organised at the EU Info Centre.

The journalist and editor of  the daily newspaper Vijesti, Tina Popovic, was awarded for her story about the plagiarism of the Associate Professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Montenegro, Bojana Lakicevic Djuranovic.

“Montenegro needs to be a better society, and we certainly cannot be a better society if we allow someone to use someone else’s knowledge for the benefit of their profession and their own wealth without leaving it undiscovered. We all need to work better to remove such individuals from the public scene and thus remove the question mark from the hundreds of thousands of citizens who live and work honestly,” Popovic said.

MANS Research Centre Director, Dejan Milovac, said that her story was significant because of the negotiation process within the European integration process, considering that the professor was a member of several negotiation groups from which she was subsequently withdrawn.

Popovic shared the second prize with the journalist Stanko Radulovic who co-wrote a series of stories „The business of the President’s nephew“ with his colleagues in Estonia.

“For the first time in the history of Montenegrin journalism, a collaboration with journalists from Estonia took place, and that may be why these stories have so much weight. It talks about corruption at the highest possible level,” he said.

The journalist from the newspaper Dan, Ana Ostojic, was awarded for texts related to housing and the housing loans under favorable conditions.

“In Montenegro, information and data that should be proactively disclosed, even information about how Montenegrin citizens’ money is spent, is essentially kept a secret,” she said.

The winners were presented by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, Aivo Orav, who emphasised that investigative journalism is very important for the EU and that it should be so for the candidate countries.

“If done professionally and ethically, investigative journalism can bring to light many potential and actual cases of corruption, misuse of State funds, and many other illegal aspects in society, in order to make our world better, our democracies more functional, and in the case of Montenegro, bring it closer to the EU,” he explained.

By awarding the Best Investigative Story on Corruption and Organised Crime, MANS completed a project supported by the European Union aimed at helping the development of investigative journalism in Montenegro.