Recipients of the 2002 OSCE Prize for Journalism and Democracy: Pavel Sheremet of Belarus (left) and Friedrich Orter of Austria. (CPJ and ORF/Hans Leitner)
COPENHAGEN, 22 April 2002 - The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) has decided to share this year's OSCE Prize for Journalism and Democracy between the Austrian TV-journalist Friedrich Orter and the Belarusian TV-journalist Pavel Sheremet. The $20,000 Prize is awarded annually by the Assembly to journalists who, through their work, have promoted OSCE principles on human rights, democracy and the unimpeded flow of information.
Dr. Orter has promoted OSCE Principles on human rights and democracy through his comprehensive and impartial reporting in the Balkans and lately in Afghanistan. Mr. Sheremet has shown admirable courage in his independent and reliable reporting on the lack of free expression in Belarus and on violations of human rights, including disappearances of opposition politicians and journalists.
"These two journalists have contributed in an outstanding way to the promotion of the OSCE principles on democracy and human rights through their impartial and reliable reporting", said the Chairman of the OSCE PA General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, Gert Weisskirchen, MP (Germany). "By upholding the highest journalistic standards, Dr. Orter and Mr. Sheremet epitomize the essence of the OSCE Prize for Journalism and Democracy".
The prize, which has been awarded this year for the seventh time, will be presented to the two journalists on the opening day of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's 11th Annual Session in Berlin, to be held between 6 and 10 July.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly established the Prize for Journalism and Democracy in 1996, on the initiative of Freimut Duve, former member of the German Bundestag and current OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. The purpose of the Prize is to promote the principles of free journalism as laid down in the OSCE Budapest Declaration in 1994.
The Prize was awarded in 1996 to Adam Michnik, in 1997 to "Reporters sans frontières", in 1998 to Timothy Garton Ash, in 1999 to Christiane Amanpour, in 2000 to Andrei Babitsky, and last year posthumously to both Georgiy Gongadze and López de Lacalle.
The Annual Prize for Journalism and Democracy has been made possible by the dedicated and generous assistance of the following donors: Bertelsmann AG, Germany; Bonnier Group, Sweden; the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation, Cyprus and Shipsted ASA, Norway.