Zaruhi Mejlumyan wins Free Media Awards

Zaruhi Mejlumyan, a journalist working for the website www.hetq.am, has been awarded by the Fritt Ord Foundation (the Freedom of Expression Foundation), Oslo, and the ZEIT Foundation.

The Fritt Ord Foundation and the ZEIT Foundation honoured independent journalists and media from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. The 2017 Free Media Awards go to Meydan TV, Zaruhi Mejlumyan, Anton Naumlyuk and Sergei Jolkin. The prize amounts to EUR 15 000 for each of the prize laureates. The awards will be bestowed at the Free Media Awards conference in Kiev under the auspices of Fritt Ord of Norway and the ZEIT Foundation of Germany from 8 to 11 October 2017.

Armenian journalist Zaruhi Mejlumyan (1978) writes about the judicial system and violations of human rights in her home country. In particular, she writes about wrongful convictions, gaps in the judiciary and how they are dealt with. She uses investigative reporting techniques in her work. On several occasions, Zaruhi Mejlumyan’s experience and persistence helped reopen “frozen” and protracted court cases, serving as a basis for submitting applications for judicial review. She was nominated by Karine Asatryan, editor-in-chief of A1+ TV-online.

The prize amounts to EUR 15 000 for each of the prize laureates. The awards will be bestowed at the Free Media Awards conference in Kiev under the auspices of Fritt Ord of Norway and the ZEIT Foundation of Germany from 8 to 11 October 2017.

Meydan TV is an Azerbaijani Internet platform. The exile media was founded in Berlin in 2013, when the media and journalists in Azerbaijan were persecuted and their reports were subjected to censorship of various kinds. Meydan TV reports courageously and objectively, despite a myriad of reprisals. The station’s reports from and about Azerbaijan have an especially large audience on social media. Meydan TV was nominated by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the Human Rights House Foundation, Oslo, and jury member Ane Tusvik Bonde.

The Russian journalist Anton Naumlyuk (1984) reports for Novaja Gazeta, MediaZona and Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe about the Russian judicial system’s cases against the citizenry of Crimea, especially against Ukrainian political prisoners and Crimean Tatars. His articles and reports on extreme examples of legal injustice and violations of human rights in Russia and Crimea have created quite a stir internationally. His photo reports capture the plight of people who are suffering abuse at the hands of the authorities. Anton Naumlyuk was nominated by the Human Rights Information Centre of Ukraine, Human Rights House Foundation, Oslo, and jury member Ane Tusvik Bonde.

The caricature artist Sergei Jolkin (1962) from Moscow used to work as an architect; since 1999, he has published drawings daily that ruthlessly depict political conditions in Russia. In a fitting, concise manner, Jolkin gives an account of both the unbridled exercise of power and the absurd aspects of the authoritarian national government. Each day, his drawings are carried in Deutsche Welle and Radio Liberty. Sergei Jolkin was nominated by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and jury members Alice Bota and Guri Norstrøm.

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The jury for the Free Media Awards consists of six individuals: Ane Tusvik Bonde, regional manager for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus at the Human Rights House Foundation in Oslo, Alice Bota, Moscow correspondent for DIE ZEIT, Guri Norstrøm, Berlin correspondent for NRK, Martin Paulsen, Eastern Europe expert with a PhD in Russian from the University of Bergen, Stefanie Schiffer, director of the European Exchange in Berlin, and Stephan Wackwitz, head of the Goethe Institute in Tbilisi.