The Prize

The Prize

All ten winners received their prize at the Award Ceremony! 

Watch the full Award Ceremony here


After receiving 500 applications from all over the world, the European Commission has awarded the 2017 Lorenzo Natali Media Prize to ten amateur and professional journalists for outstanding reporting on development, poverty eradication and freedom of religion. The Award Ceremony took place in Brussels during the European Development Days (EDD) on 7 June at 18:00.

We would like to congratulate the Grand Prize winner Saurabh Sharma from India for his story ‘Shanno’s Story Takes A Hard Look At What It’s Like To Live On The Streets Of Varanasi’, published in Youth Ki Awaaz. In this profile piece, Sharma paints the picture of young Shanno’s hardships on the street, but sheds an intense light on how much harder it is to be a girl while facing these circumstances.

Congratulations to the regional winners in the professional and amateur categories: Martin Kaba (Africa – Amateur Category), Daniel Addeh Midodji (Africa – Professional Category), Nehal El Sherif (Arab world and Middle East – Professional category), Umar Shah (Asia and the Pacific – Amateur category), Saurabh Sharma (Asia and the Pacific – Professional category), María García Zornoza (Europe – Amateur category), Peter Lykke Lind (Europe – Professional category), and Fernanda Maldonado Mocelin (Latin America and the Caribbean – Amateur category). Winners of the freedom of religion or belief outside the EU prizes are Ousmane Drabo (amateur) and Delphine Bauer (professional). More information about the winners and their work can be found here.

Keynote speakers at the Award Ceremony included European Commissioner Neven Mimica in charge of International cooperation and Development, Stefano Manservisi, European Commission Director-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), and Ján Figeľ, Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union

The winners have been selected by an independent jury who are experts in the fields of development, journalism and human rights. Jury members included Sanitsuda Ekachai (Bangkok Post and Press Council of Thailand), Nazila Ghanea (University of Oxford), Richard Jones (Devex), Julie Majerczak (Reporters Without Borders), Ines Pohl (Deutsche Welle), Alana Rizzo (Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism), and Sybella Wilkes (UNHCR).

Lorenzo Natali 

Lorenzo Natali was born in Florence on 2 October 1922.

After World War II, his political career blossomed as a member of the National Council of Italy’s Christian Democratic Party and a deputy in the Abruzzi constituency, which he represented in seven successive parliaments.

He worked in many government posts, notably as under-secretary to the Prime Minister, and went on to serve as a Minister with various portfolios, including Shipping, Tourism, Culture and Public Works.

In November 1976, Italy appointed him to the European Commission. From January 1977 until January 1981, he served as vice-president with responsibilities for enlargement, the environment, nuclear safety, and relations with the European Parliament.

Natali played an important role in the success of EU membership negotiations with Greece, and helped launch the accession process with Spain and Portugal. He also helped implement key measures to combat pollution and improve living conditions across Europe.

In January 1981, Natali’s appointment as vice-president was renewed and he was given responsibilities for Mediterranean policy, enlargement and information. Four years later, and until January 1989, he was again reconfirmed, this time with responsibilities for cooperation and development policy in the European Commission led by Jacques Delors.

It was within this portfolio that he established a broad network of relations with the governments and leaders of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

Lorenzo Natali died in Rome on 29 August 1990. The Media Prize that bears his name has subsequently been an integral part of the European Commission’s development policy for more than 20 years.

Lorenzo Natali’s name would become synonymous with the Prize awarded to media professionals who defend the freedom of expression, democracy, human rights and development.



The Lorenzo Natali Media Prize will be awarded to one amateur and one professional journalist from each of the following regions: Africa; the Arab World and the Middle East; Asia and the Pacific; Latin America and the Caribbean; and Europe. One amateur and one professional journalist will receive the same prize in the special Freedom of Religion or Belief category. All winners will receive a prize of € 5 000 at an Award Ceremony to take place during the 2017 European Development Days (EDD) at Tour&Taxis, Brussels on 8 June at 11:30 AM and we would like to invite you to be there by registering here by 13 May for the 11th edition of EDD:


Submissions were pre-evaluated by journalism schools under the direction of Dr. Nico Drok, President of the European Journalism Training Association, who put forward a final selection of nominated pieces of journalist work for further evaluation by the Grand Jury.

The Grand Jury is composed of journalism experts working in different areas of development, human rights and journalism.


Sanitsuda Ekachai, Columnist and Former editorial pages editor, Bangkok Post and Board member, Press Council of Thailand

Sanitsuda Ekachai

Sanitsuda Ekachai is a veteran Thai journalist based in Bangkok. Her former positions at the Bangkok Post, a leading English-language newspaper in Thailand, included editorial columnist, editorial pages editor, and feature editor.

Her expertise includes rural development, gender, human rights and Thai Buddhism. Sanitsuda has received several national and international awards for her civic journalism. Now retired, she serves as a board member of the Press Council of Thailand and still writes columns for the Bangkok Post. 





Nazila Ghanea, Associate Professor of International Human Rights Law​, University of Oxford

Nazila Ghanea

Nazila Ghanea is Associate Professor of International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford.

She is a member of the OSCE Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief, on the Board of Governors of the Universal Rights Group, on the Editorial Board of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion and is an Associate of Oxford Human Rights Hub.

She has authored and edited a number of academic and UN publications. Her publications include Human Rights, the UN and the Baha’is in Iran and was co-author (with Heiner Bielefeldt and Michael Wiener) of the 2016 Oxford University Press publication Freedom of Religion or Belief: An International Law Commentary.



Richard Jones, Partnerships Editor, Devex

Richard Jones

Richard oversees editorial content for multimedia campaigns and media partnerships at Devex. Previously an associate editor, he covered the full spectrum of development aid in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, supervising a team of correspondents and writers, penning articles and conducting high-level video interviews at events across the EMEA region. Currently based in Barcelona, Richard brings to bear 13 years of experience as an editor in institutional communications, public affairs and international development. His development experience includes stints in the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Ecuador.





Julie Majerczak, Director of the Brussels office, Reporters Without Borders

Julie Majerczak

Julie Majerczak is the Head of Reporters Without Borders’ Brussels Office. She has represented the press freedom NGO at the EU level since May 2016. Before joining RSF, Julie was a journalist for 17 years. She moved to Brussels in 2002 to report on EU affairs for the French daily newspaper Libération for which she worked for ten years. She also reported for the French daily newspaper Le ParisienRTL radio and the online media outlets Contexte and Novethic. Before that, Julie worked in politics as an MEP assistant and as a political adviser to a French environment minister. Born in Paris, she has a Master in Law and is a graduate of Sciences Po Paris.




Ines Pohl, Editor-in-chief, Deutsche Welle

Ines Pohl

Pohl joined Deutsche Welle in 2015 and began her tenure in DW’s bureau in Washington, D.C. Pohl is particularly interested in questions of democratic legitimacy and transition. She is passionate about human rights and the role of democratic structures in developing countries. Ines Pohl is a strong advocate for the use of social media to enhance the connection between audiences and journalists in the digital age.

As a 2005 Nieman fellow at Harvard University, Pohl focused her work on immigration, and the impact of religion and leadership. She is also a published author and serves as a member of the board of trustees for “Reporters without Borders” and for “Youth against Aids”.

Previously, Ines Pohl was the editor-in-chief of Die Tageszeitung “taz” for six years. Under her leadership, the national daily German newspaper launched a new weekend edition and restructured its website, now one of Germany's most popular news sites.


Alana Rizzo, Board Memeber, Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism

Alana Rizzo

Alana Rizzo is a reporter with more than 10 years of experience. Graduated from PUC Minas Gerais, Mrs. Rizzo worked in some of Brazil’s main media outlets, such as Estado de São Paulo and Veja, and used to cover cases of corruption at the federal level as well as human rights issues. Lately, she was covering the operation Car Wash, the biggest corruption investigation ever in the country, for Epoca Magazine. She has won the Esso Award 2008 (the most prestigious award for journalists in Brazil) and the IPYS/International Transparency 2009. Mrs. Rizzo holds a Master in Communications  (IE Business School/ Spain) and is on the board of directors of ABRAJI (Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism). In 2017, Mrs. Rizzo was chosen with other seven international journalists to attend the Journalism in Residence Program of Chicago Booth Business School. 




Sybella Wilkes, Senior Communications Officer, UNHCR

Sybella Wilkes

Sybella Wilkes started her career with UNHCR in Kenya in 1992, working on the Somali refugee crisis as a press officer. She moved to the UN Rwanda Emergency Office in 1994 where she was the press officer for the UN during the genocide. For the following six years  she worked as a journalist, mostly with Associated Press Television and National Geographic. From 2004-2006 Sybella worked with the United States Agency for International Development in Rwanda as Development Outreach Officer. In 2007 she returned to UNHCR as Regional Public Information Officer, based in Damascus, Syria covering the Iraq refugee crisis. In 2009 Sybella moved to Geneva to take up the position of Spokesperson and Senior Communications Officer.  Published books include: One Day We Had to Run! (Evans Brothers) 1994 and Out of Iraq (Evans Brothers) 2009.


Lorenzo Natali Media Prize 2017 Jury Meeting Video