Lekso’s Award 2021 – The Winners of the Best Human Rights Works are Announced

On December 9, in connection with the International Human Rights Day, the Tbilisi Human Rights House held an event to discuss the challenges and needs of Georgian human rights defenders.

An award ceremony for the winners of the Lekso’s Award was also held at the event. The award will be annual and will honor journalists who strive to protect human rights through their professional activities.

The award ceremony was chaired by Baia Pataraia, Human Rights Defender and Chairperson of the Tbilisi Human Rights House. He said the idea of ​​establishing the award arose after the tragic events of July 5th.

“I am glad that the idea of ​​establishing this award arose, despite the fact that the idea of ​​establishing Lekso Lashkarava’s award echoed after the events of July 5, when about 50 journalists were attacked, verbally and physically abused for covering human rights violations. Journalists working on human rights abuses often become targets themselves, which is to blame for government and police inaction. An example of this is the events of July 5, which caused a great loss. In order to honor the name of Lekso Lashkarava, we have decided to establish this award,” said Baia Pataraia.

The Lekso’s Prize nominees were revealed in two categories:

Best Human Rights Video Report:

    • Keti Nadibaidze – Formula TV;
    • Guga Maisuradze – “TV Pirveli”;
    • Tornike Mandaria and Davit Koridze – “Radio Liberty”.

The winners of the Lexus Prize were Radio Liberty journalists Tornike Mandaria and Davit Koridze, for the story – Superstition and Pride, which reflected on the July 5 preparatory period and developments.

Tornike Mandaria says that human rights are the cornerstone of journalism and he hopes that their story will bring about beneficial changes.

“Journalism is complicated all over the world, but in our region and in Georgia, where the state of the media has never been even close to ideal, today there are especially difficulties. We have to deal with social stigmas, restrictions on access to public information, attacks by the authorities and attempts to discredit. And on July 5, when we were at the forefront of defending equality and freedom of expression, we became the target of a massive physical attack. Human rights are a cornerstone of journalism, and I hope that seeing the footage we have been exposed to in the face of physical injury will soon bring shame and empathy to many people,” Tornike Mandaria said in a statement.

The second category of the Lekso’s Award included the best human rights articles. Among the nominees we saw regional media representatives whose work reflected the challenges facing LGBTQI + people and children’s rights.

Nominees for Best Human Rights Article 2021:

  • Lisa Torosyan – Aliq Media;
  • Nino Vartapetiani – TV Company “Borjomi”;
  • Gulgun Mamedkhanova – OC Media.

The winner of the award was Nino Vartapetiani, a journalist of Borjomi TV. The article was about anxiety and depression in children, which was exacerbated by the pandemic reality.

Nino Vartapetiani spoke about the process of preparing the article.

“It is a great honor and motivation to work with more diligence on human protection materials. Children’s mental health in a pandemic is a problem that is not visible on the surface. There is a shortage of psychologists and social workers in the regions, working on these communities. I tried to conduct research, I was interviewed by psychologists working in this field, and according to the respondents, I was better able to present the problem, ”said Nino Vartapetiani in her speech.

Nino Vartapetiani told us that the existence of such a prize is an appreciation of the human rights media and an additional motivation.

“This award will increase the motivation for journalists who are already working in the field of human rights to cover more issues that may not be visible on the surface. Assessing the aspirations and challenges faced by the human rights media will bring about positive change, including encouraging regional media, which will face far greater challenges at times. You need a lot of work in the regions to highlight the essence of the problem, there is a lot of resistance,” said a journalist from Borjomi TV.

The Lekso’s Prize will be an annual award honoring the work of media professionals who work in the field of human rights and strive to bring challenges to a large audience.

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