The Winners and Runners-up of the European Press Prize 2024

On the eve of the European elections, European Press Prize Winners investigate the EU’s migration funding, the lack of accountability of oil companies, and deficiencies in elderly care.

The Nominees of the European Press Prize 2024

In the year of the European elections, European Press Prize 2024 Winners and Runners-up expose influential lobby groups meddling in EU legislation negotiations, confront EU authorities on migration issues and reflect on the hypocrisy of right wing ruling. Jury selects projects that are clear examples of holding power to account and that expose the many facets of European policies and their effect on the public.

The European Press Prize proudly presents Winners and Runners-up in the five categories of the European Press Prize, as well as a  Special Award recipient. The journey starts with close to 800 applications, evaluated first by the Preparatory Committee consisting of 21 journalists from all over Europe. The Shortlist of the European Press Prize is then passed on to the Panel of Judges, composed of Alan Rusbridger (Chair), Can Dündar, Clara Jiménez Cruz, Paul Radu and Natalia Antelava. The Judges make the last decision, identifying Winners and Runners-up for the five Categories, and deciding on the Special Award category.

Alan Rusbridger, Chair of the Panel of Judges of the European Press Prize: “This is what hope looks like. We have become so used to a narrative of gloom about the future of the news business that it’s easy to despair. But no one reading the entries to the European Press Prize could be anything but elated. Here are brilliant journalists finding things out; behaving with bravery and ingenuity; shining a bright light on the powerful and the corrupt. This is journalism at its best – and the judges felt privileged to be involved. Democracies depend on great journalism. We can be reassured it is still flourishing.”

The Innovation Award is won by Lapdogs of War: A Guide to Russia’s Wartime Oligarchs. The piece is an investigation into the role of Russian oligarchs in the war against Ukraine. It exposes how the richest Russians earned billions of dollars with defence contracts, producing, amongst others, the weapons used to kill civilians in Ukrainian cities.

The Investigative Reporting Award goes to Iraq Without Water: The Cost of Oil to Italy. In this investigation, the authors expose the detrimental effects, in Iraq, of unregulated oil extraction and water draining for extraction purposes. They also investigate the lack of regulations and accountability for European oil companies when they scale up their investments outside the EU.

The Migration Journalism Award is won by How Europe Outsourced Border Enforcement to Africa, an inquiry into the European Union’s migration funding. The author visits the border between Senegal and Mauritania to analyse the so-called EU externalisation policies and Senegalese police forces using surveillance equipment as part of multi-million euro, taxpayer funded projects.

The Public Discourse Award goes to We Have Betrayed a Generation. Violence against elderly people has been steadily on the rise in Slovenia. This piece recounts stories and testimonies of family members of the elderly who were subjected to such violence, relating it to the broader European issue of an ageing population, and the many deficiencies of the elderly care system.

Aside from the Winners, the Panel of Judges also accorded a special mention to Runners-Up in all five Award Categories. See the full list of all Winners and Runners-up at the end of this press release. 

The Special Award 2024

The Special Award 2024 goes to The Border Graves Investigation – a cross-border investigation between four media outlets that uncovered the existence of more than a thousand unmarked graves of migrants scattered around several European countries. This investigation illustrates that, while the EU passed a resolution that recognises the need for a coordinated database to collect details of deceased migrants’ bodies, the issue remains a legislative void.

After a unanimous recommendation of the Preparatory Committee, the Panel of Judges was in complete agreement with this project displaying the best of what the European Press Prize celebrates regarding how journalism is packaged and distributed: collaboration, creativity, courage, and context.

Back in Prague, with MDIF as a local partner and CAMP as Award Ceremony venue

For its 2024 Award Ceremony, the European Press Prize travels to Prague – the 2016 Awards were handed out in the Czech capital as well. This time, the European Press Prize partnered up with MDIF – Media Investment Development Fund, which has one of its local representative offices in Prague.

The European Press Prize Award Ceremony, at CAMP

Majka Nemcova, MDIF’s Chief Operating Officer, as well as Board member of the European Press Prize: “Recognising quality journalism has become ever more important in a world of disinformation and declining trust in media. With press freedom deteriorating and being chipped away in many parts of this region, I am particularly pleased that this year’s ceremony is in Prague to celebrate the best journalism pieces from across Europe and to remind us of the essential role of independent, trustworthy media for democratic societies, contributing to governance, accountability, and respect for human rights.”

The venue for the 2024 Award Ceremony is CAMP – Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning. CAMP aims to improve the public debate on the development of Prague, their goal being to serve as an open platform, a ‘base camp’ for anyone interested in Prague’s joint planning and functioning.

“Journalism is vital for a thriving democracy. It empowers people to be informed and to make responsible decisions, rather than acting out of ignorance or misinformation. As the director of an inclusive institution dedicated to fostering dialogue about urban development among residents, politicians, and journalists, I am delighted that our Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning can host such a significant event,” says Ondřej Boháč, director of The Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Prague), where CAMP is based.




Kazakhstan-Xinjiang, the Border of Tears, by Léa Polverini, Robin Tutenges, published by (France)


We Still Live: What Is Life Like in Russian-Occupied Mariupol? by Hessel von Piekartz, Erik Verwiel, Titus Knegtel, Joris Heijkant, published by De Volkskrant (the Netherlands)


Where the World Splits Apart, by Henning Sussebach, published by Die Zeit (Germany)


In collaboration with the European Data Journalism Network, the 2024 Innovation Award focuses on work that uses Data Journalism in innovative ways, either in the journalistic process or in the final publication. Of course, as is true each year: all innovative projects were welcomed in this category.


Lapdogs of War: A Guide to Russia’s Wartime Oligarchs, by Vitaly Soldatskikh, Ekaterina Reznikova, Roman Badanin, Katya Arenina, Boris Dubakh, published by Proekt (Russia)


The Sound of Bullets: The Killing of Colombian Journalist Abelardo Liz, by Carlos Gonzales, Natalia Arena Chaves, Tania Tapia Jáuregui, Diego Forero, published by Bellingcat (International), Cerosetenta (Colombia)



Iraq Without Water: The Cost of Oil to Italy, by Sara Manisera, Daniela Sala, published by Irpi Media (Italy), The Guardian (United Kingdom), Alternatives Economiques (France), Geographical Magazine (United Kingdom)


The EU Fight Against Child Pornography Stokes Fears of Widespread Online Surveillance, by Apostolis Fotiadis, Ludek Stavinoha, Giacomo Zandonini, published by Le Monde (France), Balkan Insight (Serbia), El Diario (Spain), Solomon (Greece), Die Zeit (Germany), De Groene Amsterdammer (the Netherlands), Netzpolitik (Germany), IrpiMedia (Italy), Domani (Italy)



How Europe Outsourced Border Enforcement to Africa, by Andrei Popoviciu, published by In These Times (international), Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting (United States)


The Pylos Shipwreck, by Stavros Malichudis, Iliana Papangeli, Corina Petridi, Stefanos Levidis, Christina Varvia, Georgia Skartadou, Andreas Makas, Ebrahem Farooqui, Dimitra Andritsou, Peter Polack, Eyal Weizman, Jasper Humpert, Miriam Rainer, Salma Barakat, Zac Ioannidis, Elizabeth Breiner, Armin Ghassim, Sulaiman Tadmory, Timo Robben, Sebastian Heidelberger, Giorgos Christides, Katy Fallon, Lydia Emmanouilidou, Julian Busch, published by Forensis, STRG_F:  ARD/Funk (Germany), The Guardian (United Kingdom), Solomon (Greece)



We Have Betrayed a Generation, by Nataša Markovič, published by (Slovenia), Media 24 (Slovenia)


Migrants From “Culturally Distant Countries” Are Already Here, in Their Hundreds of Thousands. They Were Invited by the PiS Government, by Bartosz Józefiak, published by OKO.Press (Poland)



The Border Graves Investigation, by Tina Xu, Gabriele Cruciata, Eoghan Gilmartin, Danai Maragoudaki, Barbara Matejčić, Leah Pattem, Gabriela Ramírez, Daphne Tolis, Rachel Oldroyd, Felicity Lawrence, Ashifa Kassam, Lorenzo Tondo, Manisha Ganguly, Pamela Duncan, Ben Heubl, Kristiana Ludwig, published by Unbias the News (international), The Guardian (United Kingdom), Solomon (Greece), Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)

“Journalists are under attack, but we can still write history.” – Beata Balogová

On June 6, 2024, we celebrated the best of European journalism at our annual Award Ceremony. A big highlight of this year’s programme was the incredible Keynote held by Beata Balogová. Beata is the editor-in-chief of SME, a major daily and news site in Slovakia. Beata was nominated for the Public Discourse Award in 2019 and she won the Public Discourse Award one year later, in 2020. From 2021 onwards, Beata has been a valuable member of the Prize’s Preparatory Committee. Read her full speech below. 

Beata on stage during her Keynote at the 2024 Award Ceremony.

Dear friends of journalistic excellence,

We are here to celebrate the power of journalism in its many forms. However, first, I would like to talk about hate. Hate targeting journalists every day, and we absorb it as if it were in our job description.

After the murder of my colleague Ján Kuciak and his fiancé Martina, I believed that politicians understood that verbal attacks against journalists can morph into a bullet that pierces our bodies.

Six years later, there is more verbal aggression accumulated in public space than before the murder. I am talking about Slovakia, but hate has become a form of warfare against journalists in many other nations.

“I hope that people like you will be shot, hanged or at least expelled from Slovakia, you Jewish-Bolshevik prostitute. There will be celebrations that day, but you will not see them, because you will be dead. We should rather set you on fire, because you are not worthy of a bullet.”

Some politicians thought that hate is like a trained fight dog that they can release into societies and point fingers at any enemy they chose. But they are wrong. Once released, hate can no longer be controlled.

One of the most protected men in Slovakia, Prime Minister Robert Fico was recently shot five times. He fortunately survived the assassination. Editors of all major newspapers and sites condemned the act.

But politicians in power immediately launched attacks on the media. They said journalists should apologise to Fico for critical stories suggesting that his government was corrupt, that his party nominees abused power, and for questions about his luxury apartment and how he paid for it. They demanded apologies for investigations based on verified sources and facts.

In his first public speech after the tragedy, Fico suggested that journalists were part of the evil force that influenced the assassin to commit the horrendous act.

It seems that not only in Slovakia, but in many other countries, we need to go back to basics and explain to the public how exposing power abuse, conflicts of interest, nepotism, fraud, or corruption differs from spreading hate.

We need to be clear in explaining the difference between disinformation sites and actual investigative and data journalism conducted by media with transparent ownership.

“Dirty anti-Slovak prostitutes, swine of George Soros. You and your American whore president look like two curly-haired hogs, and you will go to the slaughterhouse soon. I hope cancer will eat your body away.”

“We absorb it as if
it were in our job description.”

Since politicians legitimised hate against journalists, common people feel justified sending me such insults.

Populists and autocrats often argue that critical free media unfairly join the political fight. They say journalists should only report on the activities of the government and not control it. If they want any power to control, they should run for election.

Since independent media show little or no understanding for the redefinition of their role as mere poles for a microphone, populists and autocrats have started using and legitimising disinformation sites, channels with murky ownership backgrounds, and propagandists with no journalism background.

These sites do not cause them discomfort by posing critical questions. They readily pass on old conspiracy theories coated in fresh makeup, work with opinions rather than facts. They fatally deform society’s relationship with the truth.

Most importantly, they do not practise journalism to serve the public interest. They do not practise journalism at all.

I wish that those who trust disinformation channels understand that free media serve them even when they disagree with their content. Journalism serves the citizens regardless of their political preferences.

If it were not for excellent journalists, we would have never really learned how the friends of Vladimir Putin were able to shield their fortunes from EU sanctions. Many people in Hungary would have never learned how serious the spread of hospital-acquired infections is in their country, and how many people die simply because the government downplays and denies this problem.

Little did we know how the fight against child pornography could be misused for unjustified mass online surveillance across Europe. Without the excellent work of my colleagues, some doctors could continue sexually abusing their patients without much public attention.

It seems far away, but thanks to excellent journalistic work, we can learn how oil exploration in Iraq deprives locals of drinking water — the oil that Europeans need and use.

Excellent journalism takes you to Bakhmut or Mariupol so that you can sense how people live through unimaginable horrors in places where the war tears their lives apart, but they must continue living it. At least they try.

Can boys recover from years of sexual abuse? Is there any help for an injured soldier from Ukraine who did not sleep for 45 days? How did we become so indifferent to the older generation, and the humiliation they experience in places where people should die with dignity?

Some of the authors of these stories are here with us tonight.

“You do
write history.”

No propagandist, no disinformation site, no blogger paid by Putin will take us to these places where we need to combine the deepest of our humanity with reporting skills, empathy, and the ability to give voice to the voiceless.

Besides, we journalists are often blamed for the decline in people’s trust in the media and spread of misinformation and fake news.

Yet, misinformation, cyber warfare, and fake news factories thrive not because journalists from independent media do substandard jobs. They thrive because some governments are the biggest disseminators of misinformation and hate. Some attacks against journalists are, in fact, state-sponsored online hate campaigns.

We do not shy away from self-reflection. We do make mistakes. Most likely every day in every newsroom. But these mistakes do not appear because we have too much freedom and they in no way give the right to political interventions.

Hatred is not a consequence of our journalistic work. It’s a technique of the powerful to prevent us from doing our work.

Much of that hate targets female journalists, degrading them as sexual objects, attacking their credibility.

Sometimes, when I tell my male colleagues that I receive vulgar and aggressive messages, they say they are sorry and think they know what I’m talking about. When I have them read these messages, they are horrified.

Many female journalists in Slovakia and Hungary and many other countries withdrew from the public eye after such attacks. One of the reasons why Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová did not run for re-election was the hateful messages she and her family received. In Hungary, women are disappearing from the top management of the remaining free media.

Please do not tell female journalists that the media environment became rough and that those who can’t handle it should save themselves by leaving.

The Hungarian prime minister does not need to personally attack journalists, he has built a whole propaganda media empire, which does the dirty work on his behalf.

Orbán has made media capture the number one political export product that his counterparts in Slovakia have been eager to follow.

Right now, the public broadcaster as well as the biggest private television are under attack. If journalists at the news department of the privately owned Markíza lose their fight for editorial independence, it will have a very serious impact on press freedom in Slovakia.

I want to thank our Czech colleagues and the international community for raising their voice and expressing solidarity.

Yet, compared to our colleagues who work in war-torn regions and risk their life for telling the story, we are privileged.

We are not helpless. There are many sources of hope. For example, moments like tonight, when we celebrate the best works of our profession. They are seen and heard.

Despite all the political efforts to redefine and weaken the essence of journalism, the European Press Prize remains the guardian of journalistic standards ensuring that in five years or even in a decade, generations of journalists will have reference points.

Your stories. These are the golden standards of journalism.

Originally, I planned to close my piece with a selection of insults I received recently. However, I have decided to instead quote my friend Carlos Dada, an award-winning journalist and the founder of El Faro, whose life was in danger in El Salvador and today works from exile.

When we last met in Sarajevo I asked him what his message would be for his colleagues in Slovakia. But I feel this message is for all of us.

“They are threatening you and attacking you because you excel in your work. It is frustrating to see that the worst and most deceitful political narratives are becoming so powerful. Personally, I have been frustrated because it seems that our efforts have no impact.

But I like to read a lot of history and draw lessons from what I read. Every historical chapter has an end, and when it closes, people look back and try understanding what happened. They often rely on your work to do so. There will be nothing else that helps the next generations understand what happened but our stories. That’s why, in these difficult times, we must be more rigorous, intellectually clear, and morally sound.

We have the privilege of writing the chapters of our countries’ and the world’s history. It is indeed a privilege.

This is why the work you do is so crucial. Yet, in your daily routines, it may not seem that way. I understand it may feel like you’re sacrificing a lot with little return. But that’s not the reality. You do write history.”