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Writing for CEE journalism prize goes to Florian Klenk

  • Distinguished prize for European integration awarded for the sixth time
  • Civil rights activist Bärbel Bohley talks about the time of hope and the time of bitter reality

Florian Klenk, the deputy editor of the Viennese newspaper Falter, has been awarded this year's Writing for CEE journalism prize, and a recognition award went to the Bulgarian writer Vlado Trifonov. Florian Klenk received the award, which was presented for the sixth time by Bank Austria and the Austria Press Agency, along with EUR 5,000 for a report that appeared in the Berliner Zeitung in August 2008. It is entitled "Hinter dem Zaun" (Behind the wire) and is about the inhuman conditions in a refugee camp located in Ukraine near the border to Slovakia and Hungary. It also addresses the general situation on the Schengen border, which has even made it impossible for many people to travel to the funerals of their closest relatives on the other side of the border.

The article by Florian Klenk examines these issues from a critical perspective, which is what the journalism prize aims to reward. "We want to recognise journalists who examine the topic of European integration in their work," said Anton Kolarik, head of the department for Identity & Communications at Bank Austria. "Writing for CEE is one of the most distinguished journalism prizes in Europe, and we are extremely pleased that contributions were submitted from 15 different countries again this year. The media plays an important role in educating and shaping the opinions of society. We at Bank Austria also support European integration at many levels, which is why this prize is particularly important to us!"

Besides the topic of migration, with all of its consequences, side effects and responsibilities, the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago was another focus of this year's awards ceremony. The guest speaker and former East German civil rights activist Bärbel Bohley explained that the period before the wall fell was a "time of hope" for the citizens of Eastern Europe. Then came the "time of bitter reality". Thus, despite or even in light of the "fanfare" in celebration of the 20th anniversary, we also need to take a critical look below the surface. Ultimately, she has abided by one thing her entire life: "Stand up and say no".

The list of prize winners up to now includes the Czech journalist Lubos Palata (2004), the Bulgarian writer Diana Ivanova (2005), the Bosnian journalist Sefik Dautbegovic (2006), the Austrian writer Martin Leidenfrost (2007) and the radio journalist Anna Koktsidou (2008), who was born in Greece and grew up in Germany.

This year's awards ceremony corresponded with the relaunch of the Writing for CEE web site. Visit  Austria Press Agency - Journalism Prize "Writing for CEE" to read the texts by this year's winner and other outstanding articles about European integration.

About UniCredit Group
UniCredit is a major international financial institution with strong roots in 22 European countries as well as representative offices in 27 other markets, more than 10,000 branches and approximately 168,000 employees at 30 June 2009.
In the CEE region, UniCredit operates the largest international banking network with around 4,000 branches and outlets.
The Group operates in the following CEE countries: Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Requests:  Communications CEE 
  Silvana Lins  
 Phone: +43 (0) 50505 56036 
 E-mail : silvana.lins@unicreditgroup.at

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