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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 30 January 2013

EU Prize awards excellence in health journalism for the 4th time

The winners of the fourth EU Health Prize for Journalists were announced by Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy at an award ceremony in Brussels yesterday evening. The winning articles, selected from 557 submissions from journalists across the EU, cover issues related to healthcare and health services - with an additional "special prize" on smoking cessation. The winners are:

1st place: Petr Třešňàk writing for Respekt magazine (Czech Republic) for his article "Adventures in ward 14", which tells the story of a psychiatric hospital ward dealing with the most difficult cases, and a dedicated nurse who made a difference.

2nd place: Ailbhe Jordan writing for the Medical Independent (Ireland) for her article "Is screening a waste of cash?" which takes a stark look at the debate on the value and cost-effectiveness of cancer screening, especially breast cancer.

3rd place: Daniela Cipolloni writing for Oggi Scienza magazine (Italy) for her article "All those lies spread by umbilical cord banks", which as its title suggests, looks at the controversial subject of conserving a baby's umbilical cord for future medical treatment.

Winner of the special prize: Tobias Zick writing for NEON magazine (Germany) for his in-depth article "Thick Air" which explores how smoking has gone from being 'cool' to 'uncool', in Germany by giving an overview of the historical, political, legal and philosophical angles of tobacco control.

Speaking from the award ceremony, Commissioner Borg said: "All four journalists awarded tonight pull no punches both in the topics they raise and the style in which they raise them. Though on diverse topics such as mental health, cancer screening, cord blood banking and tobacco control, the common thread in the winning articles is that they confront uncomfortable issues for which debate is needed at EU level".


The EU Health Prize for Journalists, now in its fourth run, aims to raise awareness on important health issues affecting the lives of people from across the EU – issues that the European Commission addresses through legislation or other initiatives. It also sets out to encourage and award excellent health journalism across Europe.

The main theme of this edition of the Prize was once again the 'Europe for Patients' campaign, which comprises a wide range of healthcare and patient safety-related topics. Active and healthy ageing was added to the list of topics, in light of 2012 being the European Year for active ageing and solidarity between generations. In addition, for the second year running there was a 'special prize' on smoking cessation, a topic linked to the Commission's priority work to fight tobacco.

The selection of the winners was a two-step process. National juries selected a national finalist for the main theme and, in some cases, a finalist from the special category smoking cessation. The EU jury, composed of European Commission officials, public health experts and journalists then convened in Brussels to decide on the 4 winning articles. All finalists were invited to Brussels to attend a Media Seminar and Award Ceremony.

The winner and two runners-up of the 4th edition of the EU Health Prize for Journalists receive prizes with a value of:

  • First prize € 6,000

  • 2nd prize € 2,500

  • 3rd prize € 1,500

  • Special prize on smoking cessation € 3,000.1

For more information about the EU Health Prize for Journalists and to read the winning and shortlisted articles, please refer to the dedicated website:

Follow us on Twitter: @EU_Health

Contacts :

Shirin Wheeler (+32 2 296 65 65)

Annemarie Huber (+32 2 299 33 10)

1 :

The Prize is funded with the budget of the EU Health Programme.

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