BIRN Albania Journalist Wins Outstanding Merits Award

Lindita Cela has been named winner of CEI SEEMO's prestigious Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism in 2016 for her uncompromising investigations into corruption scandals and organized crime, including the problem of human trafficking in Europe.

The award was handed to Cela during the South East Europe Media Forum in Belgrade which started Monday and continues through Tuesday.

"[This award] is an appraisal of my 15-year-long career, but also a big responsibility for me and my colleagues in worsening working conditions, where investigative journalism as a profession is getting even more challenging and hard.

"[Today] journalists face not only hard working conditions, but also media face state control, especially in Albania, where reporting is being replaced by propaganda," Cela said during the ceremony.

Cela is an investigative journalist at BIRN Albania and an alumna of the the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.

For more than 15 years, she has covered complex stories that have had a major impact in Albania, showing courage and determination.

"Cela was awarded for her overall professional achievements and hard-hitting investigations exposing corruption scandals in the highest levels of power as well as revelations on Albania's organized crime networks, stretching from [Albania's] Accursed Mountains to the streets of Brussels," the Central European Initiative said.

This year's CEI SEEMO prize in the category of "Young Professional Journalists" went to Artsiom Harbatsevich, from Minsk, Belarus.

He has worked at Intex-press and Nasha Niva, and was honoured for investigations that had significant repercussions for his country.

A "special mention" was given to Iurie Sănduță, director of...

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