AEJ – Bulgaria has a runner-up award Human of the Year 2012

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The Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria (AEJ – Bulgaria) took a runner-up award Human of the Year 2012 of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) on Monday. The award is dedicated to outstanding contribution to human rights and was presented on Human Rights Day, December 10, during a ceremony in Sofia. Spas Spasov, a member of AEJ-Bulgaria and a corespondent of the ‘Dnevnik’ daily and the ‘Capital’in the town of Varna, had a special award for his journalistic integrity and for authoring journalistic works against racism. The motives for the awards are as follows:
AEJ – Bulgaria has implemented many initiatives promoting good journalism, including a platform for collecting data for the purposes of journalistic investigations and civic projects. The Association publishes monthly rankings of quality journalism and pseudo-journalism. In 2012, AEJ – Bulgaria has reported many cases of unethical conduct, acts of inspiring ethnic hatred and discrimination and pressure on journalists.
Spas Spasov is author of significant articles that serve public interest and condemn racism in society. He approached the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office with a hate speech case. He declared that the text named “Scum” of Kevork Kevorkyan should not be ignored. “Being silent is dangerous, sooner or later the silence will overwhelm us”, wrote Spasov. He is also very persistent in his criticism about large corporate structures in the town of Varna, which was the reason for receiving threats.
The collective figure of the ‘Eagle Bridge protester’ won the Human of the Year 2012 Award of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC). Eagle Bridge is a landmark in Sofia where strong protests were staged earlier this year against amendments to the Forests Act relaxing the procedures for building ski facilities and other infrastructure.’The Eagle Bridge protester stood up against a government which was abusing public authority for the sake of private interests and was abusing its sovereign, the citizens, thus undermining the very basis of representative democracy,’ said Margarita Ilieva, Director of the BHC Legal Programme, who chaired the award jury.
Among the winners were former nature Park director Toma Belev, the journalist Rossen Bosev , Radoslav Stoyanov (named Activist of the Year), Bivol.bg, an independent website for investigative journalism.
The Human of the Year Awards are of moral nature and do not carry any cash prizes.