Journalists Biljana Matijasevic and Alisa Hajdarpasic won the EU Award for Investigative Journalism for the article “Daughters of the President of Azerbaijan, the owners of Porto Novi,” published by the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIN).

The second prize went to Svetlana Djokic (TV Vijesti) for a piece about criminal clans, while the third prize went to a group of authors Marko Vesovic, Vladimir Otasevic and Sasa Dragojlo for an article on Svetozar Marovic’s affairs.

“Investigative journalism, in particular, plays a pivotal role in holding the authorities accountable and raising public awareness about important issues for Montenegro’s European future. That is why the EU will continue to support the development of investigative journalism and to encourage all media outlets and journalists in Montenegro to act in accordance with the highest professional and ethical standards”, said the EU Ambassador to Montenegro Oana Cristina Popa in a video message to the winners.

The Minister of Public Administration and Media, Tamara Srzentic said that an environment should be created for safe investigative journalism.

“Where the media is free to investigate, there are democratic societies,” Srzentic said at the EU Info Centre during the ceremony of handing over the EU Awards for Investigative Journalism for the Western Balkans and Turkey.

“Thank you for being brave, persistent, and for speaking on behalf of those who do not have the strength to speak out. Thank you for contributing to making Montenegro a better place to live in. The society that has you is a proud one,” said Srzentic.

CIN’s Director Milka Tadic-Mijovic said the EU Award was being presented for the third time as part of a major regional project Improving the Quality of News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey, which is supported by the European Union.

“An international jury selected the winners. They worked hard on a volunteer basis for three years. In the end I was very satisfied because although they judged in three different parts of Europe, their grades always matched,“ Tadic-Mijovic said.

She added that in these three years, over 60 applications were submitted by the media in Montenegro, both national and local, as well as by non-governmental organisations dealing with investigative journalism.