French and Danish journalists share first prize in the 2008 journalist award "For diversity, against discrimination".
"Coming out" in the macho world of football, converting to Islam and becoming a stranger in your own country, defying statistics and clichés to succeed in spite of prejudice – we encounter discrimination in many forms, often highlighted in the press. Of the 545 articles entered in this year's competition, two were awarded joint first prize: the French journalist Pascale Krémer's article "Homophobia and football: the lesson of Chooz"(Le Monde) and the Danish journalist Ole Hall's "Danish Muslims are subject to harassment" (Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten).
The Portuguese journalists Christiana Martins and Marisa Antunes were awarded third prize for "Racism and elites" (Expresso). A special prize was also awarded to the Greek journalist Mika Kontourousi for "Yuzyan “breaks” the borders of her tribe" (Eleftheros Tipos), a portrait of a Roma woman whose choices challenge the role imposed on her by her community and wider society.
The journalist award is a flagship of the "For diversity, against discrimination" campaign, launched in 2003 and financed by the EU Progress programme. It honours print and online journalists who decry the prejudice, exclusion and discrimination still too frequently experienced by people of a certain origin, religion, age, gender, handicap or sexual orientation.
A Portuguese journalist, Maria Do Céu Neves, won the 2007 competition. In researching her article "Portuguese contribute to new kind of slavery in Europe" (Diário de Noticias), she spent three weeks with a group of Portuguese temporary workers cultivating hothouse tomatoes in The Netherlands under appalling conditions.
Her experience shows us that the human conscience often evolves faster than our laws. Although her work had a great impact in Portugal, including on television, it still hasn't led to the changes in the law she was seeking – for example to ensure that migrant workers can sign a written contract in their own language. Maria nevertheless hopes to alert those who seek work abroad to the exploitation they may encounter.