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Skhemy become Global Shining Light Award finalists

15.05.2023, 17:45
Photo: Radio Liberty
Photo: Radio Liberty

A journalistic investigation into the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians by the Russian military in Kharkiv oblast, published by Skhemy (Radio Liberty), entered the finals of the 2023 Global Shining Light Award – a prestigious award from the Global Investigative Journalists Network (GIJN).

Radio Liberty reports this, citing the contest's organizers.

The Skhemy's work is among the six finalists in the Large Outlets category. The rest of the finalists in this category are from Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, Spain, Venezuela and South Africa. Six more finalists in the Small and Medium Outlets category will be announced on May 16.

The international jury commended the team's efforts to investigate the Russian war crimes in Ukraine, choosing the report "How Volunteers Buried Civilians en Masse in Izium" by Kira Tolstyakova and Valeria Yegoshyna for the finals.

This investigation from the series on the de-occupied part of Kharkiv oblast features the testimonies of volunteers who collected the bodies of those killed in Izyum and buried them in a forest, and identifies the specific Russian soldiers who might have been involved in torturing and the murder of those buried in the Izium forest.

"For a finalist spot, the jury chose one Schemes story that not only exposed the origins of mass graves in the Kharkiv region, but also found evidence of civilian torture, and identified the overlapping Russian occupation brigades behind these systematic human rights abuses. The reporters even unearthed conversations in which Russian soldiers discussed their crimes. While the team used documents and open source tools, this emotionally powerful story revolved around interviews with volunteers who had to bury hundreds of fellow Ukrainians," reads the message by the GIJN.

In addition to the main authors, Kira Tolstyakova and Valeria Yegoshyna, the following people contributed to the report: Skhemy executive producer Natalka Sedletska, cameraman Kyrylo Lazarevych, director Pavlo Melnyk, graphic designer Maksym Asyka, journalist Heorhiy Shabaev, multimedia editor Anna Peterimova.

The competition attracted a record 419 applications from 84 countries. "Following an exhaustive review process by GIJN staff that surfaced a shortlist of 50 outstanding investigative stories, a jury panel of veteran investigative editors from five global regions selected 12 finalists (six finalists in the Small and Medium Outlets category and six in the Large Outlets category – Ed.) from 11 different countries," the organizers note.

The winners will be announced at the 12th Global Investigative Journalism Conference (GIJC23) — the world’s premier international gathering of investigative and data journalists — to be held from September 19-22 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Skhemy is a journalist investigation project started by Radio Liberty in 2014.

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