On September 27, an award ceremony was organized in Chisinau, Moldova in cooperation with the Investigative Journalism Centre (IJC) for the young journalists in order to award the best investigations. A competent jury (Ms Sarmite Elerte, Chairperson of the Board; Dr Alex Grigorievs, Vice-chair of the Board; Ina Prisacariu – Strategic Development Officer, IJC; Vladimir Thoric – Editor, RISE Moldova; Valentina Enache – lecturer at the University of European Studies) carefully analyzed the investigations.
The first prize was given for the investigation produced by students Daria Rusu of the Moldova State University and Doinita Babalic of the Free International University of Moldova – “A Hotel in Chisinau Posted a Map Where the Baltic States Have Been Replaced with Russia” [„Un hotel din Chișinău a afișat o hartă pe care Țările Baltice au fost înlocuite cu Rusia”], which was published in the Ziarul de Gardă newspaper.
The second prize went to student Victoria Ciumac of the Moldova State University, who analyzed what the Broadcasting Coordinating Council does and does not do to combat propaganda. Her material, under the title of “The BCC Failed to Combat and Sanction Russian Propaganda” („CCA a eșuat în combaterea și sancționarea propagandei rusești”), can be found on the portal Unimedia.info.
The third material, posted on the portal moldova.org, concerns the mystery of Moldovan books sold on an American website without the author’s consent. Its author Ionela Costis, student of the Moldova State University, received an honorable mention for thorough work on this project. Present at the award ceremony, Sarmite Elerte, chair of the BBSA board, mentioned the need to expose propaganda and to have journalists actively involved in this process: “We understand how important it is to compare Russian propaganda in different countries. Russian propaganda often comes as a real fact based on half truth and mixed with false information. But the purpose of journalism is to diminish and stop this phenomenon, as much as possible, through investigative materials,” said Sarmite Elerte.
Viorica Zaharia, the mentor of the teams involved in the project, underlined that such projects for students are very few and that they deserve more attention, in order to give students the opportunity to get involved in and produce journalistic investigations already in their student days.
Daria Rusu, a participant in the project, says she has learned a lot of interesting things: what a journalist should do in crisis situations, where information can be collected when the possibility of information is limited. “I am glad that I had the opportunity to have this valuable experience. In the future, I hope to do even better investigations,” the student said. “Through this project, I had the great opportunity to gain good experience in investigative journalism, the experience that we cannot get at university lectures. In addition, our material was published in a newspaper that is popular in Moldova,” mentioned Doinita Babalic.