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N1 journalist Maja Nikolić received the NUNS award for investigative journalism

25th May, 2023

N1 journalist Maja Nikolić is the winner of the “Dejan Anastasijević” annual award for investigative journalism, which is awarded by the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia (NUNS).

“It is a great honor to receive an award named after Dejan Anastasijević. It is also a big obligation, not only for me but also for all colleagues from N1”, Nikolić said when receiving the award.

She dedicated the award to the recently deceased editor of N1, Peđa Obradović. Nikolić received the award in the category of electronic media, for the documentary film “The Last Tribute”, within the documentary series “Under the Surface”.

“The Last Tribute” deals with the death of Senior Sergeant First Class Dejan Stojković during the rehearsal of the military exercise “Lightning Strike” on June 24, 2021 in Pešter. By claiming that he “suddenly fell ill” during the exercise, the Ministry of Defense led the public to think that it was a natural death of the soldier, but the autopsy report obtained by N1 shows that Sergeant Stojković’s death was violent and that he suffocated by inhaling toxic gases.

At the ceremony in the hall of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, the president of the Association of Independent Journalists of Serbia, Željko Bodrožić, said that all independent journalists show that the real journalistic scene is still alive even in these difficult times. “Investigative journalists especially marked the previous decade, because despite threats, pressures, eavesdropping, burglaries, systematic criminalization, dehumanization and other troubles, they produced hundreds of reports and articles exposing criminality and corruption,” said Bodrožić.

He stated that those who engage in corrupt activities and high-level crime are particularly targeted and threatened. “The labels of foreign mercenaries and traitors of Serbia are attached to them every day, while we are only citizens of Serbia who engage in the honorable work of journalism and our motive is to work in the public interest,” said Bodrožić.

The Ambassador of the United States of America in Serbia, Christopher Hill, congratulated all the nominees and winners, stressing that it is important to search for the truth. “This is a tough profession, especially in these times, freedom of the press and media is important not only for democracy in this country, but also for its future,” Hill said.

The award in the category of print media was given to Nemanja Rujević, Ingrid Gerkama, Nathalie Bertrams and Tristen Taylor for the article “Parrots as valuable as cocaine” about the smuggling of exotic birds, published by the Belgrade weekly Vreme.

In the category of online media, BIRN journalist Radmilo Marković received the award for his research “Belgrade – a paradise for wild construction and dubious legislation: BIRN found almost half a million disputed square meters”.

The “Dejan Anastasijević” Annual Award for Investigative Journalism was awarded for the 18th year in a row by the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia, with the support of the US Embassy.

Prizes are awarded every year for investigative journalistic works in three categories: electronic media (TV and radio), online media and print media, and for topics that are of exceptional importance to the citizens of the territory where the media is distributed, broadcast or used, they reveal and prove unknown facts that journalists have come to by their own work. This year, 45 journalistic works were submitted to the competition.