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03.05.2019

Dimitar Stoyanov and Attila Biro win Axel Springer Award 2019

On 2. May, the Axel Springer Prize for Young Journalists was presented for the 28th time in Berlin. This important award honors young reporters in the German-speaking regions for their excellent journalistic achievements, in the categories gold, silver and bronze. In addition, awards for 'creative implementation' as well as 'entertainment and humour' were given.

Rise Bivol RISE Project Romania and BIVOL Bulgaria teamed to investigate the unseen corrupt organizations that siphon off European taxpayer money. Using investigative reporting, the two media outlets unveiled how organized crime acts at a transnational level to plunder public coffers. Their efforts have been recognised by Axel Springer. (Image: investigativejournalismforeu.net)

Marc Thomas Spahl, Director of the Axel Springer Academy, welcomed the approximately 250 invited guests to the Berlin publishing house of Axel Springer and emphasised:

"Especially this year, when the Relotius case damaged the image of journalist awards, it is important to be a sign to put out for quality journalism. Our great jury did not make it easy; in addition, we fact-checked, and made the stories behind the award-winning works transparent at the award ceremony. All of this because we want to encourage aspiring young journalists with this award."

For the first time this year, the 'George Weidenfeld Special Award for Courageous Research' was also given out. The award is a successor of the special international award given posthumously in 2018 to the murdered Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak. Investigative reporters Dimitar Stoyanov from Bulgaria and Attila Biro from Romania were honoured with this year's award for their joint research into the misuse of hundreds of millions of euros in EU funds. Their project was part of the IJ4EU grant administered by the ECPMF.

The investigative journalists found out, at high personal risk, how far Russia is now infiltrated into the political and economic structures of the EU.

Dimitar Stoyanov works for the independent Bulgarian Investigative Platform Bivol.bg. Attila Biro for RISE Romania, a non-profit journalistic organization based in Romania that prepares research data and is part of the Global Investigative Journalism Network.

Mathias Döpfner, Chief Executive Officer of Axel Springer SE and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Axel Springer Prize, said in his speech:

Press freedom is under pressure worldwide. More and more journalists have to fight to bring the truth to light in difficult circumstances. In memory of George Weidenfeld, the tireless advocate of critical journalism, we want to make this commitment to freedom even more visible. "