Nominees: Prize for Impact
The Prize for Impact is awarded to journalists, media outlets or NGOs whose work has led to increased awareness of barriers or concrete improvement to journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism. The 2019 edition is kindly sponsored by Intan Media-Service GmbH.
Lu Guang (China)
The well-known Chinese photojournalist Lu Guang documents social and environmental issues that result from rapid industrial development in what is today the world’s second largest economy. Above all, his aim is to draw the Chinese government’s attention to the level of pollution in the country and the gravity of the situation. His series on “cancer villages” highlight the health risks to those who live near water polluted by industrial waste factories. His portraits of “AIDS villages” earned him one of his three World Press Photo awards. He moved to New York in 2005 but during a trip to China, he was arrested in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, after meeting local photographers on 3 November 2018.
Bihus.info is a reporting collective created by investigative journalist Denys Bihus, which left its mark on Ukraine’s 2019 presidential election. Their reportage revealed massive defence sector embezzlement, implicating President Petro Poroshenko’s inner circle and forced Poroshenko to fire his close associate, the National Security Council’s vice-president. Since he launched the popular investigative current affairs programme, Nachi Hrochi on ZIK TV in 2003, Bihus has been well known throughout Ukraine. In a country in which corruption is the mother of all evils, his reporting continues to lead to the dismissal and prosecution of many corrupt senior officials.
Pham Doan Trang (Vietnam)
Operating in what is one of the world’s most oppressive environments for dissident journalists, Pham Doan Trang is the founder of Luat Khoa, an online magazine which specializes in providing legal affairs information. She is also editor of the website, The Vietnamese, which gives Vietnamese citizens a platform to defend their rights and resist the Communist Party’s arbitrary rule. She has written multiple books, including one defending the rights of Vietnam’s LGBT communities. Ten years after her publication, Vietnam has become a trailblazer for gay rights by decriminalizing same-sex marriage. Trang has been beaten by the police because of her work and was detained twice for several days in 2018.
Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) (Sudan)
The Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) has kept international human rights and press freedom NGOs, including Reporters without Borders, up to date by reporting on Twitter. The SJN has released valuable information about the seizures of newspapers and the hundreds of arrests of journalists by President Omar Al-Bashir’s police and security forces, especially the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), from December 2018 to April 2019. Additionally, SJN has organized demonstrations to demand the release of detained journalists and to protest press freedom violations, despite the risks in an extremely hostile environment towards media. Their campaigning helped obtain the release of Osman Mirghani, a leading newspaper editor, in March 2019.