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Strasbourg / Brussels, 15 November 2008

The Lorenzo Natali Grand Prize for 2008 has been awarded to a journalist from Benin, Larisse Houssou, for an article on Darfur

At the awards ceremony held during the European Development Days in Strasbourg, 17 laureates from all over the world were awarded Natali Prizes, having been selected from among more than 1500 nominees from over 150 countries. Five First Regional Prizes, a Grand Prize and a Special Television and Radio Prize were awarded. Larisse Houssou received the Natali Grand Prize for his article on Darfur entitled "Trained to kill...".

European Commissioner Louis Michel said: "Committed journalism involves risks but embodies an ideal, that of freedom of expression. Journalism that is committed to human rights, democracy and development proves that the ideals of the Enlightenment are alive and well in our world. The Natali Prize affords an opportunity to recognise the achievements of journalists who have always acted in the interests of society, democracy and fundamental freedoms. Journalism is real-life education in citizenship. Without lively, independent journalism, democracy would be illusory. I want to pay homage to the winner of the Natali Grand Prize for 2008, Larisse Houssou, who shows that Africa has plenty of talent. Mr Houssou is an example of what journalism is all about".

The Lorenzo Natali Grand Prize for 2008 was awarded to Larisse Houssou (First Prize for Africa) for his article "Darfur: trained to kill..." , which appeared in Le Progrès. In this article, Mr Houssou describes the tragedy of children caught up in armed combat in Darfur.

The subjects dealt with by the other prizewinners include:

  • the impact of climate change on people in India;
  • domestic violence suffered by women in Chile;
  • war children in the Balkans;
  • a radio station committed to disseminating information in the Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • the conditions of immigrant workers in Lebanon;
  • the independence of justice in the Philippines and its protection;
  • police violence in Brazil;
  • war children in the Amazon Basin and Sierra Leone;
  • cases of torture in Uganda; and
  • children prevented from attending school in Algeria.

The list in full

Grand Prize: Larisse Houssou (Benin) 

Darfur: trained to kill... - Le Progrès

Subject: Forcible recruitment of children by armed factions in Darfur

1st Prize for Africa: Larisse Houssou (Benin)

Darfur: trained to kill... - Le Progrès

Subject: Forcible recruitment of children by armed factions in Darfur

2nd Prize for Africa: Julie Laurenz (South Africa) 

Backstreet abortions –

Subject: The conditions under which illegal abortions are performed in South Africa

3rd Prize for Africa: John Njoroge (Uganda)

Torture in safe houses - The Independent Magazine

Subject: Cases of torture in Uganda

1st Prize for Latin America and the Caribbean: Raphael Gomide (Brazil)

Infiltrated: the police from within - Folha de São Paulo

Subject: An investigation of the Rio police and their violent practices

2nd Prize for Latin America and the Caribbean: María Paz Cuevas Silva (Chile)

A survivor of femicide - Revista Paila

Subject: A woman who escaped femicide in Chile bears witness

3rd Prize for Latin America and the Caribbean: Edgar Cherubini Lecuna (Venezuela) 

War Children -

Subject: Children and teenagers recruited by armed groups in Colombia

1st Prize for Asia and the Pacific: Rufo Aries (Philippines) 

A cry for justice - Newsbreak

Subject: Murders of judges in the Philippines

2nd Prize for Asia and the Pacific: Raghu Karnad (India) 

Air, water, earth and the sins of the powerful - Tehelka Magazine

Subject: Protests by survivors of pollution in Bhopal

3rd Prize for Asia and the Pacific: Thomas George (India)

Refugees from the sea - Malayala Manorama

Subject: The fishermen of Kerala (India) who have fallen victim to climate change

1st Prize for Europe: Angela Robson (United Kingdom) 

‘The bad child must stay with the community’: Sierra Leone: revenge and reconciliation - Le Monde diplomatique

Subject: War children, "lost" children in Sierra Leone

2nd Prize for Europe: Pierre Guyot (France) 

Radio Okapi, the radio station of life

Subject: A radio station committed to providing information in RDC

3rd Prize for Europe: Mirjana Raquela (Czech Republic) 

Child warriors: manipulations without borders - Radio Free Europe

Subject: War children in the Balkans

1st Prize for the Arab World and the Middle East: Nassima Oulebsir (Algeria)

Children banned from school - Le Jeune Indépendant

Subject: Children kept out of school in Algeria

2nd Prize for the Arab World and the Middle East: Mehdi Sekkouri Alaoui (Morocco) 

On the trail of the Targuist sniper - Telquel Magazine

Subject: Corruption at a roadblock revealed by a sniper on the Internet

3rd Prize for the Arab World and the Middle East: Anne-Marie Jazzar-El Hage (Lebanon)

The difficult adjustment of African domestic workers - L'Orient-Le Jour

Subject: Domestic workers exploited in Lebanon

Special Television Prize: Brigit Virnich (Germany) 

Mass rape as a weapon of war in the eastern part of Congo - Westdeutscher Rundfunk

Subject: Rape as a weapon of war in the eastern part of the RDC

Special Radio Prize: Hyre Tejeci (Kosovo) 

Understand me - Radio Kosova

Subject: The treatment of women raped during the Kosovo war

More information on the prizewinners can be found on the following website:


The Natali Prize is a global prize (involving 500 journalists from 151 countries in 2008) which has been open to the written press since 1992. This year it has included television and radio for the first time, in addition to the press and online media.

The prize is an integral part of the European Commission's development policy, which holds that it is vital to defend fundamental freedoms, freedom of expression, democracy and human rights.

This year the European Commission has worked to organise the Lorenzo Natali Prize together with two of the world's most prestigious worldwide press associations:

  • Reporters without Borders, winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2005;
  • World Association of Newspapers, which represents over 18 000 publications on five continents.

The Natali Prize's selection board was made up of journalists and representatives of NGOs.

The media act as a counterweight and as a mouthpiece for civil society, while also playing an educational role. This is why the European Commission and the African Union Commission launched a new initiative called "Media and Development" in September at the Media and Development Forum (

Further information may be found at:

For TV channels, excerpts from the ceremony and a Special Video News Release on the winner of the Grand Prize (More information on Europe by Satellite) can be found at:

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