On October 8, 2019 the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig awards its "Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media".
The laureates will be chosen in a twofold testing process with established criteria. First, the candidates undergo an expert review. Then, a jury consisting of the members of Foundation Council and Foundation Board selects the laureates.
Critical and courageous journalists and media representatives have not only friends but also enemies. It is in the nature of things that the decision of the Media Foundation for certain laureates can be seen equally critical. We are pleased that we are thereby contributing to a lively public debate in the spirit of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
The procedure in detail:
Anyone may propose candidates for the prize. The nomination period ends on 28 February 2019.
First, a team of media experts evaluate, if and to which extent the candidates correspond to the nomination criteria of the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig:
“The prize is intended for distinguished journalists, publishers and media institutions from around the world that are committed to the cause of protecting and expanding freedom of the press, and in doing so display a willingness to take risks, great personal commitment, persistence, courage and a firm belief in democracy.
Nominee is a person, who strengthens the protection and the development of the freedom of press and who uncovers abuses, despite all obstacles, difficulties and significant personal risks. The intention of the prize also includes journalistic quality, especially technical professionalism, relevance of facts and an outstanding implementation in a decisive sense.”
The criteria for candidates
a) must address a relevant subject or notable subject of general interest,
b) shall also apply as a contribution to the strengthening of freedom of the press; for instance, if it had to overcome obstacles,
c) requires a far superior commitment,
d) requires journalistic quality,
e) requires more factors, which have to be assessed in particular.
For each of these criteria, the team of valuators can award up to 10 points based on thorough research. Thus, a candidate can reach a maximum of 50 points.
The jury’s decision about the award of the prize follows a multistage process. After each ballot, the members of the jury constitute a decision for their favorite. In the first round of voting, each member of the jury has three votes, which have to be distributed to three candidates. Here, every candidate receives one vote. The five candidates with the most votes will participate in the second round of votes. Other candidates will be considered only in a tie of votes. In the second round of voting, the “shortlist”, every member of the jury has one vote. The decision on who receives the prize (and if there will be one laureate or more) occurs by a qualified majority (2/3 of the votes) at the end of the second round of voting. Abstentions are not valid. In general, the prize is awarded in equal share to three laureates. A single award is also possible. It is at the discretion of the jury to nominate worthy candidates again for the following year.