Lyubomyr Ferens from Ukrainian TVI was the first winner of Ukraine’s new prize for best investigative journalism of the year, organized jointly by Yanukovychleaks.org and SCOOP. The prize was awarded on June 6 at the “Mezhyhirya” festival, named after the ex-president Yanukovych’s residence outside of Kiev. Lyubomyr Ferens had investigated the police’s explanation on the shooting incident that resulted in the death of four activists in January.
The official explanation of the incident was, that police weapons could not have been used. But the reporter interviewed eyewitnesses and specialists, experimented with shots against an effigy, and this led to the conclusion that the shots could actually have been fired by the police’s weapons. The important factor was not the type of weapon, but the type of of ammunition.
The jury’s argumentation was that Ferens’ work was precise and concrete, and he was commended for taking the time for a meticulous documentation of this burning issue in a very turbulent period.
The festival took place in the hangar, where the documents from the president’s archives were dried, after journalists rescued them in a water reservoir when the president fled. The operation to save and publish the documents is now known under the name “Yanukovychleaks”. The journalists behind the project had also undertaken the big task of organizing the conference and the competition, and the jury found the winner among a highly professional group of nominees.
The winner says: “I am really happy to receive the SCOOP prize. I have reached the finals of other competitions before, but never actually won.” He remembers the work process as going on under a lot of pressure. Witnesses and experts were afraid to go on the record, and he was walking up and down the Maidan and into hospitals to find his sources. His award-winning TV investigation is the result of one week’s intense research work.
The SCOOP prize consists of 1000 Euros and a sculpture, created by Vasil Tatarskij.