Wednesday, the awarding ceremony for laureates, nominees and finalists of the competition for the Award “Journalism as Deed” after Sakharov was held in the public centre after Andrei Sakharov. Evgeny Sholokh, the journalist from Vladivostok representing the newspaper Utro Rossii (Russia’s Morning), got the first prize.
The award was founded 6 years ago by a businessman Peter Wins. The jury composition of this year was as to follow: Alexei Simonov, the chair of Glasnost Protection Fund (the jury chair), Yuri Samodurov, Director of Centre after Sakharov, Pilar Bonet, the correspondent of the newspaper El Pais, Alexei Pankin, editor-in-chief of the magazine Strategy and Tactics of Publishing Business, Boris Dubin, the sociologist at Levada-Centre, and others. Every year, the jury is supplemented with former laureates. This time it was Mikhail Afanasyev (Abakan, prize of 2004), Igor Naidenov (2005), and the journalist of Novaya Gazeta, Anna Lebedeva (2006). In their time, late Anna Politkovskya (2003) and Galina Kovalskaya (2003) also took part in the jury work.
This year competition featured about a hundred authors from tens of regions – from Kaliningrad and Archangelsk to Vanino port and Vladivostok. One may note two major topics in the articles sent to the contest – it’s situation in the army and so called “black raidership” which deals with taking away someone’s land.
This year prize-winner, Evgeny Sholokh, who did his military service in the marine, published a series of materials about the Pacific Fleet. Trying to publish it in four newspapers he was rejected everywhere. And only the newspaper Utro Rossii ventured to publish it. He described the sophisticated tortures and gave the names of the officers of 390th Mariner Regiment who bully the seamen. As a result, some those guilty of tortures and deaths of the soldiers got to be punished by court. Sholokh says that those serving in the Pacific Fleet dream on being sent to some hot spot with their commanders so that they have opportunity to shoot into their backs as revenge.
The very first article in the series got a wide respond. The newspapers, that had rejected Sholokh’s materials before, began to write about same topic. As for the journalist, he began to receive threats and had to become concerned about his family’s safety.
Zoya Svetova (Moscow) was one of the nominees. She considers that the scholar Igor Sutyaghin (convicted on a charge with divulgence of state secret) and Zara Murtazalieva (accused of attempt for terrorist act in Moscow) were sentenced unlawfully. Among other nominees there were Dmitry Florin from Ryazan city (protecting relatives of a killed man and those who are unlawfully charged with that murder); Natalia Balyakina and Lyudmila Dubova from Perm krai (they protect mothers whose sons were killed as result of violence in the army and they even find money so that the mothers can get to the places where their sons died); also Andrei Piontkovsky who published in grani.ru edition a series of publicist materials. It is significant that Piontkovsky has a criminal case started against him on a charge of extremism.
No better is the situation of Sergei Kurt-Adjiev, editor of “Novaya Gazeta in Samara”, who was announced to be one of 16 finalists of the present contest (observer of Novaya Gazeta Boris Vishnevsky and actor Alexei Devotchenko with his publication in Novaya Gazeta were among other finalists).
Unfortunately, Kurt-Adjiev failed to be present at the awarding ceremony as he was summoned to examination in the prosecutor’s office. They said he had to get acquainted urgently with some documents. All that happened just after he applied for permission by the investigator to go to Moscow (he has given a written cognizance not to leave).