TRIESTE - Romanian journalist Adrian Mogoş has won the CEI – SEEMO award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism.

Mogoş is praised for his cross-border stories, among them the Slave Labour Trafficking, which was made possible through a grant from Journalismfund.eu. Thus the first story published with support of Journalismfund.eu contributed to Mogoş’ award. The award given by The Central European Initiative (CEI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) grants €5,000 to Mogoş. With recurring threats of cutbacks in the investigative team at his newspaper, the money is very welcome, he says.

CEI-SEEMO received 24 nominations from 11 central European states. “The personal risks taken while performing the duty, the quality of reporting as well as the impact on society of the messages conveyed were the main criteria taken into account by the Jury,” according to the press release.

The jury decided unanimously that the award should go to Adrian Mogoş. “With this selection, the Jury intended to promote the high-quality cross-border investigative journalism carried out by Adrian Mogoş, cooperating with colleagues in different countries while raising important issues to the public awareness. His work represents a good example for the young generation of journalists,” according to CEI-SEEMO.

The series Fields of Terror – the New Slave Trade at the Heart of Europe is mentioned by CEI-SEEMO. The story was carried out by a team of Romanian, Moldavian and Ukrainian journalists under Adrian Mogos’ coordination. In order to get the story done, Mogoş also coordinated the necessary fundraising to cover the additional cross-border costs that his newspaper could not support. Research grants were achieved from Journalismfund.eu for the team members based in the EU and from Scoop for the team members based outside the EU.

The story was picked up by Dutch journalists and thus thanks to Mogoş’ initiative the entire route from the Ukrainian actors behind the trafficking to the Dutch company allegedly profiting from the cheap labour could be documented.

Adrian Mogoş produced many others investigative pieces on different topics: illegal deforestations in Romania, suspicious public tenders organized by the local authorities, abuse against Roma children, who are trafficked to UK and forged identity among immigrants amongst others.

The jury was composed of high ranking journalists from Italy, Austria, Poland, Romania, Albania and Croatia as well as winners of the awards in 2008 and 2009. The SEEMO secretary general Oliver Vujovic in that context highlighted the importance investigative journalists for a democratic development in the region.

By Brigitte Alfter

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