Online guide for journalists writing about Belarus. Find out who's who in business, society or politics, get practical tips and contacts, and read about other journalists' experiences. Got some more questions? Get in touch with us.
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Who is organizing the competition?

Belarus in Focus is coordinated by Solidarity with Belarus Information Office, in cooperation with the Polish Press Club. The main sponsor is the Nordic Council of Ministers. Other partners include: the European Federation of Press Clubs, Office for a Democratic Belarus, the German Marshall Fund, Civic Belarus, House of United Belarus, and the Belarusian Association of Journalists.

Competition description

There are two categories of entrants to the Competition: professional journalists (people whose articles are regularly published in return for payment) and citizen journalists (those who publish on a blog open to the public). Those entering the professional journalist category should work for a publication that publishes either in one of these countries, or in the international press.

The article submitted must have been published between December 19, 2010 and November 15, 2011 in the European or international press.

    It should:
  • deal with socio-economic and/or human rights issues in Belarus following the 2010 presidential elections;
  • be of high journalistic quality;
  • not contain any xenophobic, discriminatory, or offensive statements, or be untruthful or misleading.

If the article was written in any language other than English, a translation into English should be provided, as well as the original. If accepted for publication, articles not originally written in English will be professionally edited or retranslated into English. All articles will be translated into Belarusian. The judging panel will pay attention to the content of the article above stylistic issues.

Who can apply?

This competition is open to professional journalists and citizen journalists who are raising the level of awareness regarding human rights and socio-economic issues in Belarus within the European Union.

The Competition is not open to employees of Solidarity for Belarus Information Office or their family members, or anyone else connected to the Competition.

How to enter the competition?

Entrants should submit their entries using the entry form on the competition website. Postal entries will not be accepted.

All entries must be received by 11.59pm on November 15, 2011. Any entries received after this closing date will not be accepted. The organizers reserve the right to change the closing date where the entries are of insufficient quality. No responsibility is taken for entries that are lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical other reason. Proof of delivery of the entry is not proof of receipt. The organizers shall not be responsible for the return of entries.

Entries must include full name, home address, email, mobile and/ or home phone number. Entrants must state whether they are a professional or citizen journalist when entering.

Entries should be the sole original work of the entrant. Any evidence of plagiarism may result in the entrant being removed from the Competition. Professional journalists must enter in the professional category or they may be disqualified.

Incomplete entries, entries on behalf of another person and joint entries will not be accepted. Up to three articles may be submitted per person.

How will entries be judged?

Entries will be evaluated by a panel of experts via email. This is a group of people who are invited by Solidarity with Belarus Information Office in collaboration with the Polish Press Club to take part. The organizer may assign one person. Persons invited to join the panel will include editors of international media. The judges’ decision will be final and Solidarity with Belarus Information Office will not enter into any discussion or correspondence concerning the results.

Judging will take place between November 16 and December 20, 2011. Members of the panel will use the criteria above (see competition description) to assess the articles.

The winner will be the person who is ranked the highest by the jury. Second and third places will be awarded for both categories. There will be seven runners-up whose articles will be recommended for publication.

The panel will rank the entries according to a 3-point system. The panel of judges will select a shortlist of 3 entrants from each category, as well as seven runners-up for each category. If two or more entrants receive the same number of points, the panel will revote. If there is no consensus following the second re-voting, the chairman of the panel will make the decision.

The panel’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into with entrants and/or Finalists. Full details of the judging panel can be provided on request.

The expert panel will review and rank all submissions by December 31, 2011.

How will the winners be announced?

The top ten entrants in each category will be notified by the first week of January. The top three entrants will be invited to a workshop with Belarusian journalists, hosted by Press Club Polska, in February 2012 in Warsaw. Runners-up may also be invited if any of the finalists are unable to attend. The official announcement of results will take place during a press conference, to be held during the journalist workshop in February.

What is the prize?

The top three entrants from both categories will be invited to attend a two-day workshop with Belarusian journalists that will be held in Warsaw in the first two weeks of February.

During this time, a press conference will be held at which the prizes will be officially presented to the winners.

The following prizes will be awarded:

Professional journalism:Citizen journalism:
1st place: 2,000 EUR, 1st place: 1,000 EUR,
2nd place: 1,000 EUR, 2nd place: 500 EUR;
3rd place: 500 EUR; 3rd place: 250 EUR

Prizes will be transferred to the bank accounts of winners within one month after being officially awarded the prize. Winners will be responsible for paying any taxes that are due.

Seven articles by runners-up will receive a recommendation to be published in a bi-lingual book, alongside the articles of the winners.

Key dates

September 5, 2011 — launch of the competition

November 15, 2011 — closing date for entries

November 16 — December 31, 2011 — judging takes place

January 2012 — entrants notified

February 2012 — 2-day workshop with Belarusian journalists



Winners of Belarus in Focus 2011

Recent competition articles