Ambassador Tefft Presents Investigative Journalism Competition
December 10, 2012
U.S. Ambassador John F. Tefft presented the winners of the Second Annual U.S. Embassy / Ukrainska Pravda Investigative Journalism Competition Monday December 10 after an Ambassador’s Forum speech by Mimi Chakarova, winner of the 2011 Daniel Pearl Award. The competition recognizes exceptional written and video reports of young journalists and journalism students in Ukraine. The first place winner in each category will travel to the United States on a professional study tour. This year’s first place winners were: Mykhailo Tkach for his written report on the leadership at the Pechersk Lavra monastery and Ihor Koltunov for his video report on corruption in Ukrzaliznytsya, the state railway company.
COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS
1. Mykhailo Tkach, journalist for the “Hroshi” (“Money”) investigative show for Studio 1+1, collected tons of documents ranging from the police interrogation transcript to photographs of lavish banquets, exposing dubious commercial activities and luxurious lifestyle of the head of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery.
2. Serhii Shcherbyna, journalist of Ukrainska Pravda, first published this article in UP October 11. The well-documented report shows that the businesses of the President's son Oleksandr Yanukovych not only grow at a striking pace domestically, but also have quietly entered international markets – with the help of the richest Ukrainian, Rinat Akhmetov. The article also points out that the international arm of the President's son's businesses use the services of foreign lawyers to help them pay less taxes in Ukraine.
3. Kateryna Kaplyuk, journalist of Forbes.ua, contributed, with her September article, into tracking the developments around the Dnipro-Teteriv forestry or Sukholuchchya. This investigation confirms concerns, raised by a number of journalists and politicians earlier, that the forest is being gradually seized for exclusive use as hunting grounds for the inner circle of the President of Ukraine – much like the estate of Mezhhir’ya and carried out by the same or similar intermediary entities.
1. Ihor Koltunov, native of Kharkiv, is now a journalist for the Agents of Influence (Агенти впливу) investigative show at NTN television channel in Kyiv. His investigation into corruption in Ukrzaliznytsya, the state railway company, aired in March 12 edition of the show. The investigation conducted on the trains in Zaporizhzhia oblast, includes interviews with former Ukrzaliznytsia employees, some of whom wouldn't disclose their identity, and subsequent follow-up by high law-enforcement officials in Kyiv makes the report an example of high quality investigative journalism.
2. Natalia Sedletska, host of the Tender News show on TVi presented an investigation of the purchase of school buses by the Ministry of Education in an August edition of her show and then followed up in September. She started with confirming an incident in which a newly purchased school bus burned completely, with passengers including children narrowly escaping injuries – an occurrence the Minister of Education vehemently denied. Digging deeper, she discovered that the contract to purchase buses and the subsequent movement of the funds paid bears evident signs of large-scale corruption.
3. Oksana Trokoz, Zhytomyr correspondent for Channel Five and a range of local media, made a report on various methods contravening the election law that the authorities used in villages of the oblast, to ensure advantage for pro-government candidates in parliamentary elections. The report aired in Channel Five news in October and was an early alarm regarding the problems that plagued elections to the Rada, as became obvious on the day of the vote and in subsequent conflicts over vote count and tabulation.