LEIPZIG - The driving forces behind Journalismfund.eu, Danish-German journalist Brigitte Alfter and Belgian Ides Debruyne, have been awarded the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media 2013 for their efforts to help secure the future of investigative journalism.

According to Stephan Seeger, managing director of the Leipziger Medienstiftung, which awards the prize, the Journalismfund.eu initiators deserve the prize because they help "give investigative journalism a future, which is crucial to an open and pluralistic society, even in time of a media crisis“.

The organisation's press release further states:

Alfter and Debruyne recognized the need for thorough research on European issues without being impeded by national borders. [Journalismfund.eu's] scholarships allow journalists to work together in multinational research teams. Examples of transnational issues are trafficking, abuse of EU funds or illegal arms trafficking.

A prime example of the role of “Journalismfund.eu” is the Latvian-Irish report on the “Latvian brides”, where journalists revealed forced marriages between Latvian women and Asian men. Young, often poor Latvian women were lured to Ireland with job offers. There, they were forced to marry Asian men. They are often detained under degrading conditions until the “husbands” get their residence permit. The publication of the scandal led to legislative initiatives in both countries.

The Prize, good for three times €10,000 per year, is awarded annually to three (teams of) journalists, publishers or institutions who show a strong personal commitment to the freedom and future of the media and to keep alive the memory of the Peaceful Revolution of October 9, 1989 in Leipzig, when protesters demanded “a free press for a free country.”

Together with Alfter and Debruyne, Indian journalist Tongam Rina and German journalists Jörg Armbruster (correspondent at ARD for the Near and Middle East until 2012) and Martin Durm (radio reporter of the German broadcast station SWR) receive the prize.

The prize will personally be awarded to the laureates on October 8, 2013 in Leipzig. More information on the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media can be found here.

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