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Brussels, 1 September 2008

Putting pen to paper: Discrimination and diversity – Journalist Award launched. Special award for focus on Roma.

The European Commission has today launched the latest edition of its “For Diversity. Against Discrimination.” Journalist Award. For the fifth successive year, submissions are invited for this European competition which honours journalists from both online and printed media. The award showcases the talents of those media professionals who, through their writing, contribute to a better understanding of the benefits of diversity and the fight against discrimination – on the basis of religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, race or ethnic origin.

"Too many Europeans are still confronted with discrimination at home and in the workplace – around 15% of EU citizens, according to a recent poll," said Equal Opportunities Commissioner Vladimír Špidla. "Our award for journalists recognises the crucial role of the media in bringing these issues to public attention. It is also a key part of our broader campaign to raise awareness of people's rights to equal opportunities and of the benefits of diversity."

Articles published between 1 January and 31 October 2008 in either print or online media within the EU are eligible for the competition and can be submitted online. At the end of the entry period, national juries will gather in all 27 EU Member States to select winning articles. From these 27 national winners, a jury will then choose the best three articles and the overall European Journalist Award winner. The winners will receive prizes worth up to €4 500.

As in previous years, the European Commission is dedicating a Special Award to one specific theme. This year’s Special Award will focus on articles examining discrimination against the Roma community. In many European countries, the Roma – who collectively form the largest ethnic minority in the enlarged EU – suffer from racial violence, hate speech and discrimination in accessing employment, education, healthcare, and public and social services. According to a recent Eurobarometer, 77% of Europeans are of the opinion that being Roma is a disadvantage in society,

The Award has this year received the support of several renowned journalist associations, including the European Youth Press and the Association of European Journalists. The European Commission is determined to eradicate discrimination in all its guises. The Journalist Award is one of several EU initiatives to promote a change of attitudes and forms part of the five-year “For Diversity. Against Discrimination.” information campaign.

Further information:
Journalist award website:
Special Eurobarometer Survey 296 on discrimination in the EU

Flash Eurobarometer 232
European Commission website on Roma

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