Euroradio reporter wins Free Word first prize (pictures)

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has summed up the results of the Free Word professional contest. At the award ceremony, journalists spoke both serious and not serious things about the trade and themselves, drank champaign and threw the paper planes. 11 journalists, including Zmitser Panyamonau, a reporter with the European Radio for Belarus, won in five nominations. The prizes were handed out by BAJ chairperson Zhanna Litvina and journalist Yuras Karmanau.

Zhanna Litvina: “We promote the highest standards of professional and ethical behavior in journalism. With this contest, we vote for talent in journalism. I think that where there is talent, there can be no place for pervertions like the approvals by local authorities or psychological interviews which our future collegues will have to pass when enrolling for journalism courses.

Yuras Karmanau: “Belarus is one of those countries where the principles and functions of journalism are not clearly defined yet. In the whole civilized world, the function of the media is to control the power and inform the society. In Belarus, we can see the continuation of the Soviet tradition when journalists serve as propaganda and public relations tools. The jury evaluated the contenders, basing on the standards of a quality journalism which controls the power and informs. The winning texts are the examples of a quality journalism”.

Yuras Karmanau: “Information is the blood of journalism. It make journalism all the more interesting. The piece by Zmitser Panyamonau is an example of the fact-based reporting. In his story titled "Radioactive tiles on Independence Square", he did an investigation. He was the first one to dig this problem out. Unanimously, he has been selected as the best in the News Reporting nomination.

Ruslan Harbachou: “In my head, the borders between the truthful information and the information which can do harm to my editorial office are gradually erasing… This is not right. That's why it is good that this contest was held and that we were shown a higher level which we all have to achieve”.

Hleb Labadzenka: “There are contests which select th best poets, writers, etc. Journalists just keep writing… When they write something wrong, we have our readers calling. But the evaluation by colleagues and professionals is much more important, because it is based on knowledge and professionalism, not on emotions. It's great that there was an opportunity to have my work judged by them”.

Alena Navazhylava: “The fact that a story about economics has been awarded with the Free Word prize is a great victory of the Belarusian economy :). I feel pleased that the economic reporting on the pages of Belorusskie Novosti  stands out by its charm and purity which can both attract and captivate a reader. I will add that the text was ready at 2 a.m., two hours after signing the contract. But editors are normal people, and they celebrate the New Year and come to work on January 1 :). That's why the text was posted quickly but could have been released even earlier”.

Valery Karbalevich: “May God let us live through the times when journalists will not have to fight for freedom but will simply be journalists!”

Vital Taras: “Let this award become a national contest in the course of the time… I'd like to say that journalism is not a profession. Journalism is a hobby, but a hobby which sometimes occupies all your life. Since young age, I have been interested in gathering and analyzing information and writing about it. When they give money and sometimes the awards for that, these are simply happy moments of the life!”

Siarhei Zakonnikau: “My dear. It feels so good to be part of this family. I am happy that people write letters in respond to my publications. I am happy that they are waking up. May God help them wake up!”

“- Mom, why is that man shaking?
- Because the wind is strong.
- Why are we not shaking then?
- Because we are women.” (a quote from Alena Cheb's article)

Виталий Цыганков:
“I have dressed up not because of the award ceremony. I also have a wedding anniversary today! It is great to see that new names are appearing in our journalism. At the same time, the old fighters still keep their form. I don't know who I am bu I hope to meet again here again”.

Zmitser Pankavets: “I have been in journalism for oly one year and a half. I feel very much pleased to get this award in the beginning of my career. Of course, I still need to learn a lot. That's why I will regard this award as an advance. I hope more prizes will follow”.

Стартует второй тур конкурса “Вольное слово”

The jury comprised: Tаtsiana Melnichuk, Yulia Slutskaya, Andrei Aliaksandrau, Anatol Huliayeu, Maxim Zhbankou, Aliaksandr Starykevich, Andrei Skurko, Yuras Karmanau(chairman of the jury).

Photos by Katsiaryna Bulanava