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Discrimination in the spotlight - 29/04/2010

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Annual EU competition celebrates journalism that sheds light on discrimination issues in Europe.

About 16% of Europeans questioned in a recent EU survey say they have been victims of discrimination at least once in the last year. The findings suggest discrimination is a widespread problem and not limited to minority groups.

The EU has extensive laws against discrimination, with the first gender equality legislation dating back to 1957. In 2000 the EU adopted groundbreaking laws against discrimination in the workplace on grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, age and sexual orientation. Racial and ethnic prejudice was also banned in education, social security, healthcare and access goods and services, including housing.

But for laws to be effective, people must also know and assert their rights. The media can help raise awareness, and the journalist award acknowledges those who do just that.

For the sixth year running, reporters from across the EU submitted samples of their work on discrimination to a jury in their country. The stories had to have been published in newspapers, magazines or online. Each national jury picked its favourite, leaving the final decision to an independent panel of media professionals and experts. The winners were announced today by justice commissioner Vivian Reding, who also launched the start of this year's award.

As the EU has proclaimed 2010 the year against poverty, an extra award was granted this time for the story best showing the link between financial hardship and discrimination.

The journalist award is just one of many activities organised as part of the ongoing anti-discrimination campaign, which promotes partnerships and information-sharing across the EU. Since its launch in 2003, it has conducted poster and photo competitions, sporting events and conferences. The campaign's methods are diverse, but its aim is clear: to stir debate on discrimination, and on how equality and diversity benefit us all.

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