Slovene Meta Krese is the winner of the "Writing for CEE 2011" journalism prize

  • Award for the report on the living conditions of the Roma in Slovenia
  • Hans-Dietrich Genscher speaks about the EU crisis

Slovene journalist and photographer Meta Krese is the winner of the European "Writing for CEE 2011" journalism prize. For her critical report on the living conditions of the Roma minority in her home country, Ms Krese received the award on Tuesday evening. The award includes prize money of EUR 5,000 and has been awarded by Austria Press Agency APA and Bank Austria for the eighth time. Germany's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, was the guest of honour at this year's presentation in Vienna. He talked about the current challenges for Europe and his political experience with the reunification of Europe.

In her excellent report, Meta Krese focuses on the difficult living conditions of the Roma minority in Slovenia. Her critical and touching report called "Visiting the Roma of Dolenjska" was published in the Slovene edition of "National Geographic" magazine this March, accompanied with photographs by Arne Hodalic. From a first-person perspective, Mr Krese, who was born in 1955 in Ljubljana, explores the Dolenjska settlement, where families live in miserable accommodations without electricity and water supplies. It seems as though the world has forgotten about them. Ms Krese also examines the complex discrimination of the minority of between 7,000 and 12,000 people in Slovenia, who mostly live in segregated settlements. 

"The Roma are highly branded in our society, which unfortunately is also reflected in the journalists' attitude towards them," Ms Krese said at the presentation. The media therefore also reflect commonly known stereotypes about the minority, Ms Krese criticises. Her doubts about whether the description of the misery of the Roma in the media also catered for stereotypes had vanished after she entered the settlement, said Ms Krese, a graduated agronomist and cultural anthropologist. "There is a lot of misery only a few kilometres away from cities where most people live in style. It is not easy to come to terms with that fact."

The journalist therefore questions the Slovene legislation, including the prohibition of water supplies in illegal huts and the absence of social aid organisations whose employees often discriminate the minority as well. There are also better Roma settlements in Slovenia than the one described in Ms Krese's report, "but as long as the situation does not improve remarkably, it seems right to me to talk about it as much as possible," said Ms Krese.

Meta Kresa is a journalist and photographer who has worked for several Slovene newspapers and journals. She has received many awards for her journalistic and photographic works. The "Writing for CEE" journalism prize is aimed at encouraging the journalistic examination of Europe and European integration, and honours works that make a contribution to breaking down barriers.

The list of previous winners consists of the Czech journalist Lubos Palata (2004), the Bulgarian author Diana Ivanova (2005), the Bosnian journalist Sefik Dautbegovic (2006), the Austrian author Martin Leidenfrost (2007), Anna Koktsidou, who was born in Greece and raised in Germany (2008), the Austrian investigative journalist Florian Klenk (2009) and Bosnian author Azra Nuhefendic last year. The latter received the award for her report entitled "The Train", which describes a train ride from Belgrade to Sarajevo following the reopening of the rail line that had been out of service since the Bosnian War.

Members of the jury which meets in various constellations include the Czech communications expert Milan Smid, the Slovakian publicist Michael Berko, the communications advisor Ildiko Füredi-Kolarik, the Polish journalists Igor Janke and Pawel Bravo, the former advisor to the Czech president Jiri Pehe, the Hungarian radio journalist Julia Varadi, the Bulgarian author Janina Dragostinova, Bank Austria's CEE press officer Tiemon Kiesenhofer and the chairman of the jury, APA's editor-in-chief for foreign affairs Ambros Kindel.

The winning report is also available online at  www.apa.at/cee-award/.

UniCredit is a leading European bank with strong roots in 22 countries. Our overall global network embraces approximately 50 markets, with over 9,500 branches and more than 160.00 employees (as of 30 June 2011).
In the CEE region, UniCredit runs the largest international banking network with more than 3,900 branches. The Group operates in Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Enquiries: Bank Austria Media Relations International
 Tiemon Kiesenhofer, telephone +43 (0) 50505 - 56036
  e-mail: tiemon.kiesenhofer@unicreditgroup.at

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