The Ján Kuciak Award is given to journalists from Central and Eastern Europe who in their professional work uphold values such as openness, courage, and uncompromising reporting on socially relevant topics. February 2022 marked the fourth anniversary of the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírova. Ján Kuciak was a Slovak investigative journalist working for Aktuality.sk, Ringiers news service in Slovakia. He focused mainly on investigating tax fraud by Slovak businessmen with ties to top-level Slovak politicians. He and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírova, were murdered on February 21, 2018 at their home in Slovakia.
In the third edition of the #AllForJan Award, the jury chaired by Peter Bárdy, editor-in-chief of the Slovak portal Aktuality.sk, decided to honor the Romanian journalist Andrei Popoviciu for his article “‘They can see us in the dark’: migrants grapple with hi-tech fortress EU” telling the story of how technology dehumanize migrants who are trying to get asylum in Europe. The author showed how cameras and devices that can detect a heartbeat are among the new technological tools being increasingly used by European police to stop migrants from crossing borders, and push them back when they do.
Mark Dekan, CEO Ringier Axel Springer, founder and jury member of the #AllForJan Award: “Today, four years after the murder of Ján Kuciak, courageous reporting is more important than ever. Andrei is putting light on the mechanism of how exclusion works, on the individual person, on the story. He is revealing the backgrounds of a system. This is what Jan Kuciak was dedicated too and what caused a turn in the history of a country. Andrei takes this mission even further by publishing his stories in several languages, in several countries. Independent investigative reporting, showing the truth to the world is essential for freedom of speech and democracy. This is what the #AllForJan Award is all about.”
Andrei Popoviciu is an independent Romanian journalist writing about human rights, conflict, migration and foreign affairs. His articles have appeared in The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, Libération, and Der Spiegel, among others. The nominated article first appeared in The Guardian and is the result of a journalistic investigation into the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers at EU borders.
The jury composed of Peter Bárdy, editor-in-chief of Aktuality.sk, head of the #AllForJan Award jury, Mark Dekan, CEO of Ringier Axel Springer, Valdo Lehari jr., Vice-President of ENPA; Iveta Radičová, Dean of the Faculty of Media, Pan-European University, Bratislava and former Prime Minister of Slovakia, and Ewa Ewart, filmmaker, reporter, Polish journalist with TVN24 and TVN24BiS evaluated the submitted works and chose the winner.
The #AllForJan Award gala was accompanied by the MEDIA for FREEDOM Summit, an online conference on the contemporary threats to the free and independent media. This year it was held under the theme “Media Hacking. A new frontier in the war for democracy”. The organizers of the Media For Freedom Summit were: the European Magazine Media Association (EMMA) and the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA). The event partners were: Reuters Institute, POLITICO Europe, European Center for Press and Media Freedom, European Federation of Journalism, Association of German Magazine Publishers, Sektor 3.0, Digital Media Campus, Ringier Axel Springer Polska.
Andrei Popoviciu’s award-winning article can be read here: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/mar/26/eu-borders-migrants-hitech-surveillance-asylum-seekers