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RFE/RL Journalists Recognized for Investigative Work in Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Moldova

RFE/RL Ukrainian Service journalist Natalie Sedletska, receiving the Transatlantic Leadership Network’s inaugural “Freedom of the Media” award. l-r: TLN Executive Vice President Dr. Sasha Toperich, Natalie Sedletska, TLN President Dr. Daniel Hamilton.

WASHINGTON—Reporters from across RFE/RL’s services were awarded top honors this week for their work uncovering corruption in their home countries.

On December 7th, Natalie Sedletska, a journalist for RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, was recognized for her reporting for the program Schemes: Corruption in Details, receiving DC-based think tank Transatlantic Leadership Network’s inaugural “Freedom of the Media” award. Schemes, an RFE/RL program dedicated to investigating and exposing high-level corruption that was created in the wake of the 2014 Maidan Revolution, was previously awarded the top prize in Ukraine’s National Investigative Journalism Competition this past September. Sedletska dedicated her award to her team of investigators at Schemes, additionally bringing attention to the case of RFE/RL journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, jailed since March 2021 in Russia-occupied Crimea:

“This award is an accomplishment that would not be possible without my colleagues from the Schemes investigative team, supported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Also I want to use this opportunity to remember my colleague Vladyslav Yesypenko, RFERL contributor, and another dozen reporters who are currently in jail in Crimea, occupied by Russia. Journalism is not a crime.”

Bulgaria’s Anti-Corruption Fund honored the work of three investigative journalists from RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service at its annual Red Line ceremony dedicated to recognizing journalism exposing corruption in Bulgaria on December 9 – International Anti-Corruption Day. Boris Mitov’s “in-depth and consistent efforts to uncover the dependencies of judiciary, executive and legislative power,” were recognized with the Supreme Court Award. Earlier this year, Mitov investigated the rapid rise in wealth of former Bulgarian politician Delyan Peevski, amid allegations of corruption and money laundering. The Fund also awarded Genka Shikerova a Special Award for Investigative Journalism, for her reporting in February on the systematic deforestation of Bulgarian forests, while Damyana Veleva was honored in the young journalist category for her work in revealing that more than 400 villages in Bulgaria have not had regulated water supplies since the 1950s,. The ceremony can be re-watched on Facebook Live.

Also on December 9, Moldova’s National Agency for Integrity (ANI) awarded RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service a “Diploma of Gratitude” for supporting the fight against corruption through clear and thorough reporting. Part of Moldova’s renewed efforts to tackle corruption, the ANI was recently revamped to act as a check on the wealth of top public servants and politicians. The agency applauded the service for “the clarity of its reports on the changes made to the laws regarding the National Agency of Integrity, conflict of interest, and integrity [of public officials].”

-- Erica Stefano