The winner of GIPA-Friedman prize has been revealed

Written by Lasha on June 18, 2012 in Archive - Comments Off

Gipa-Friedman prize for the best journalistic work among participants was awarded to Nana Biganishvili from “Studio Monitor” for Investigative film:

“Opaque Rehabilitation”

Synopsis: project ”New Life of Old Tbilisi ” is being conducted by funds  founded by Tbilisi City Hall. In 2005-2011 these funds have received Tbilisi budget money (about 300 mln GEL) without tenders. Besides hundreds of millions of  budget money, Tbilisi City Hall grants to these funds real estate in historic districts of the city. Tbilisi Development Fund sells this property later.

Nana Biganishvili was awarded by  Pulitzer Prize winner journalist Joshua Friedman

Joshua Friedman’s speech:

“It’s very humbling to be able to present the first Joshua Friedman prize to Nana Biganishvili .

I really respect journalists who struggle to do their jobs in countries like Georgia. In my country it is relatively easy to practice journalism.

Facts are easily accessible and the constitution protects us from government control. All you have to do to succeed as a journalist in the US is work very hard, get your facts straight and be lucky.

Practicing journalism is like a drug addiction. If you’re born with this affliction, you don’t really have a choice of career. You must do it—whatever the obstacles. Most of us don’t do it for the money or fame—but for the satisfaction of revealing the truth to others.

The rest is learning your craft—understanding how to be ethical, understanding your own prejudices and biases so you can control them, perfecting a personal style for interviewing, reporting and writing—or broadcasting or taking photographs.

That is why institutions like GIPA are so important in countries with a young democracy like Georgia.

GIPA is quite unique. After  the Soviet Union fell, journalists from the west rushed into Eastern and Central Europe to set up such institutions to train young people with the journalism addiction to practice their craft well. We meant well but many of us didn’t realize it has taken 200 years, in the US for instance, to develop our craft. We were a little arrogant perhaps.

Now 21 years after Soviet Union fell that is clear. Our dream has not worked in many countries—but there is  an exception—Georgia—and primarily because of GIPA.

Unfortunately, those in power here are still afraid of a really free press—which is really essential if democracy is to flourish.

The system here  makes it hard to practice aggressive journalism. Newspapers and broadcast stations seem to be polarized—either entirely for or entirely against the government—and journalists working for them must go along with that or face losing their jobs.

In your neighbor to the east—Aderbaijan–  the situation is worse. Journalists are jailed, beaten, even murdered for trying to tell the truth to the public—and no one is punished for these attacks on journalists.

So really the people to be admired as we meet here are those who produce great journalism in the face of great obstacles—like those we recognize today. I want to thank GIPA for the opportunity to participate in honoring them.”

Video: Nana Biganishvili receiving award from Joshua Friedman






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