Brussels, 19 June 2009
Brazilian journalist Raphael Gomide is new winner of the Lorenzo Natali Grand Prize 2008
Following a recommendation from the jury of the 2008 Natali Prize, the European Commission has withdrawn the Natali Grand Prize and the Africa Prize from last year's winner Mr. Larrisse Houssou from Benin. The decision follows a complaint over plagiarism from another journalist which has been upheld by the jury after an independent enquiry into the incident. The 2008 runner-up, the Brazilian journalist Raphael Gomide, has been appointed the new winner of the Grand Prize on the recommendation of the jury.
On the basis of a complaint regarding suspected plagiarism received from a journalist in April 2009, the European Commission asked the independent jury for the Natali Prize 2008 to investigate. The jury advised the European Commission to withdraw the prize awarded to Mr. Houssou if no satisfactory explanation was forthcoming. Since Mr. Houssou has failed to provide any explanation of his actions, the European Commission has decided to withdraw the prizes from Mr. Houssou as recommended by the independent jury. Raphael Gomide (Latin America’s Winner for 2008) is thus awarded the Grand Prize 2008. With the withdrawal of the Africa first prize, Julie Laurenz together with Nicky Troll are the new winners of the Africa Prize; John Njoroge is awarded the second Africa Prize and Mary Corrigall the third Africa Prize.
The European Commission, in co-operation with the African Union’s Commission, supports efforts to improve training and standards in journalism. ( ). One of the current projects is an independent Pan African Media Observatory to help track the media landscape in Africa and also bring mediation when needed. Projects to improve training for journalists are also underway.
The competition for the 2009 Natali Prize has already been launched. All the selected entries will be analysed through an anti-plagiarism system to prevent such a reoccurrence. The deadline for entries is 30 th June 2009.
The Natali Prize was created in 1992 by the European Union to promote quality journalism in memory of Lorenzo Natali, former vice-president of the European Commission in charge of cooperation for the development between 1985 and 1989.
The Natali Prize for journalism is awarded to journalists for outstanding reporting on the issues of human rights, democracy and development. The 2008 Lorenzo Natali Prize received entries from more than 1500 journalists from more than 150 countries.
The 2008 jury was made up of representatives of TV5 Monde, Le Monde, Courrier International, AFP Foundation, Reporters without Borders, World Association of Newspapers, Amnesty International France, the 2007 Grand Prize winner.
In 2008, the subjects dealt with by prize-winners included:
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.
To participate in the 2009 competition, a journalist must have:
published/aired a work in the written press, on radio or television or internet between January 1 st 2008 and June 15 th 2009 which covered the issues of democracy, human rights and/or development;
send in their entries before the 30 th of June 2009.