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Nominees announced for the 10th Anniversary landmark edition of the Mediterranean Journalist Awards

The Anna Lindh Foundation announces the shortlisted nominees of the 2017 Mediterranean Journalist Awards. This years’ edition represents a landmark event, marking the 10th edition of the Awards programme since its creation in 2006 by the Foundation and International Federation of Journalists for the programme The International Ceremony will take place on 6 December 2017 at the European Parliament in Brussels.
The nominees for the 10th edition of the Mediterranean Journalist Awards are:


Valeria Cardi: “The Smuggling Game”, published in Thomson Reuters Foundation. Millions of people fleeing conflict and poverty are gambling their futures and life savings with people smugglers ­ strangers who play with their lives in dangerous cat-and-mouse chases with border authorities known as ‘The Game’. The smuggling rings exploit consumers thousands of miles apart ­ migrants seeking freedom or opportunity and their families back home and in the West, who are willing to pay to ensure their loved ones make it. The Thomson Reuters Foundation speaks to Syrian, Pakistani and Afghan migrants, who often used multiple smuggling rings to make the long journey to Europe. We asked: Who wins and who loses as rising numbers risk everything to reach safety?

Charlotte Boitiaux: “Mission Aquarius" published in Info Migrants – France 24. The web-documentary “Mission Aquarius” follows a humanitarian boat and its crew of rescue workers as they sail off the coast of Libya over a 10-day period in the month of May, 2017. For more than a year, the Aquarius - a former fishing boat - has been patrolling the Mediterranean Sea to assist the thousands of migrants who, each day, attempt the perilous crossing to Italy. Split into four episodes, the report aims to document both the humanitarian disaster that is unfolding on Europe’s doorstep and the endeavour of rescue workers on the frontline of the crisis. It gives equal coverage to the plight of desperate migrants stranded at sea and to the dozen crew members who put their everyday lives on hold in a bid to save the lives of others.

Umberto Bacchi. "Organic yogurt wins migrants’ freedom from exploitation in Italy” published in Thomson Reuters Foundation. The article tells the story of a group of African migrants who set up an organic yogurt business in Italy. Like thousands of others, Suleiman Diara and his friends fled poverty in Africa dreaming of better opportunities across the Mediterranean. But life in Italy proved harder than they had imagined. After several years working in exploitative conditions on fruit and vegetable farms, a riot forced them to rethink their situation and take control of their own future. They now run a small social enterprise that has been praised by the UN as an example of sustainable agricultural development. It also provides work opportunities to Italians with Asperger syndrome. Theirs is a story of emancipation from exploitation, entrepreneurship, integration and resilience – the word which translated into the Bambara language became the name of their yogurt.
The high-level event will gather a delegation of journalists from across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, and senior media practitioners and partners and the International Journalist Awards Ceremony with international media partners and high level officials and representatives of the Euro-Med region.


Darrin Zammit Lupi: “ Rescue on the Mediterranean”” published in Reuters Wider Image. The nominated works were shot over the Easter weekend (14 to 16 April) in 2017 during a series of back-to-back migrant rescues at sea carried out by the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) a few miles of the Libyan coast, whilst Darrin was on a five-week long embed on their ship “Phoenix”.  Close to 2,000 migrants were rescued by MOAS over those three days. Unfortunately, there were also fatalities, with seven confirmed dead, though the actual figure is believed to be higher. They were published in a special feature on the Reuters Wider Image multimedia website on April 19.

Yannis Behrakis: “A Mediterranean drama” published in Reuters. Following a deal between Turkey and the EU on March 2016, the routes of migrants and refugees have shifted. The vast majority of migrants and refugees try to reach Europe are coming from North Africa. Over 100,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Italy this year making a perilous trip from Libya, about 3,000 died attempting the trip. Many NGO’s are conducting Search and Rescue missions in central Mediterranean Sea trying to save lives. The Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms is one of the most active in this mission. They operate with two vessels and they have saved thousands of lives in the last 2 years in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas.

Iason Athanasiadis: “Nostalgia for the present in Tunis’s belle époque downtown” published in Political Critique. A psycho-geographic portrait: Nostalgia for the present in Tunis’s belle-époque downtown. Who are the true protagonists of the city: the residents or its buildings? In shooting this story over a three-year residency in Tunis, the photojournalist switched the humans to the traditional role played by buildings in photography, that of backdrops. He sought out situations that delved into the soul of a city departed, and illustrated the constant interplay and coexistence between Tunis' now-faded, colonial-era modernity, and the medieval, indigenous architecture of its Medina.


Annalisa Camilli: “Le bateau sans nom” published in XXI Internazionale. Almost seven hundred migrants died in a tragic shipwreck on April 18th 2015 the deadliest ever happened in the Mediterranean Sea. Migrants departed from Garabulli beach, a traffic hub East of Tripoli, in Libya, on an over packed wooden boat. During the crossing they called the Italian Coastguard asking for help, because the boat was too crowded and was in distress. Just 28 people survived while hundreds sank. For six months the journalists have investigated the shipwreck searching the 28 survivors, who are now living all over Europe and through their testimonies they recreate a choral account of the tragic event, made by the witnesses

Kübra Gümüşay: “Speechless: When language made me lose my words” published in Bref Magazine. The essay “Der Rest war Schweigen / Speechless” by Kübra Gümüsay describes the power of language, words and their limitations - how, at times, language can turn into prisons. She uses the example of marginalised minorities such as hijab wearing Muslim women whose voices are rarely heard, to describe the impact of language when used as a tool explain, make oneself “understood“ by others, strangers. She discusses the impact on spirituality and wonders: What happens to us when we are forced to expose our most intimate religious feelings? Gümüsays new quest is finding words for life’s inexplicable things.

Emmanuel Haddad: “Semeurs d’espoir” published in We Demain. In the breadbasket of Lebanon, a collective of Syrian, Lebanese and French farmers is harvesting heirloom seeds to support the development of ecological agriculture in the Middle-East, and to ease the hunger of besieged citizens in neighboring war-torn Syria. Through this initiative, Syrian farmers are able to feed their community, but also to recover their self-sufficiency from the Syrian State. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, Bouzourna Jouzourna helps Lebanese farmers to recover their heirloom seeds and support micro-gardening in the Syrian refugee informal settlements that sprouted in the countrySyrian refugee informal settlements that sprouted in the country.


Jaafar Abdul-Karim: “Does the Arab World need a women's rights revolution?” broadcast in DW. The episode was broadcast in the framework of the “Shabab Talk” programme aired on DW. “Shabab Talk”, a political talk show targeting young people, provides the space for a direct open dialogue between Germany and the Arab World. Since 2015, the show toured the Arab World to report on challenges facing the younger generations in the countries of the MENA region including: Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Qatar, Sudan, Libya, Iraq and Mauritania. This episode, aired in the framework of the Global Media Forum, opens a debate about the issue of gender inequality in the Arab World.

Benjamin Delille: "L’Europe vue du détroit: les migrants reprennent la route de Gibraltar” broadcast in RFI. « L’Europe vue du détroit : le retour des migrants à Gibraltar » is a 20 min long radio documentary which gives a picture of a place that have known migration flows for decades, and which has been replaced at the core of the attention of international medias this summer. The number of migrants crossing the Strait of Gibraltar has grown dramatically this summer for various reasons (growing danger in Libya, changing migratory policies in Morocco, etc.) but despite that, it seems that the situation in South Spain has not changed. Migrants are hided form tourists, kept in centers or left to associations, with no contact with the local life. And when they can leave, they try to go north as fast as possible, to bigger cities like Madrid or Barcelona, or to France and the rest of Europe.

Dina Demrdash & Shaimaa Khalil: “British, Female and Muslim” broadcast in BBC. In the wake of the Brexit vote in the UK, reports warned that Muslim women are the no.1 target for hate attacks. In this documentary, two BBC journalists (reporter Shaimaa Khalil and producer Dina Demrdash) - who come from the UK Muslim community themselves - talked to women from different ages and backgrounds, and brought to the audience some strong stories and testimonies on what it is like to be a Muslim female in today’s Britain. The report ran on BBC domestic TV and radio channels and on BBC World TV, and received massive praise for bringing to the audience some rare voices of everyday Muslim women. It has made equally strong impact of social media and online outlets, with nearly 1.5 million views on Facebook alone.

Find out more about the 10th Anniversary of the Mediterranean Journalist Awards