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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ORT Journalist Awarded for Belarus Reports

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- A Belarussian journalist working for Russia's ORT television and an Austrian radio reporter were named Monday as the winners of an annual $20,000 journalism prize for their "impartial and reliable reporting."

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe awarded its Prize for Journalism and Democracy to Pavel Sheremet of Belarus and Austria's Friedrich Orter.

The prize, first awarded in 1996, is given by the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly to reporters or organizations that have helped develop principles of human rights and democracy.

Sheremet was cited for his "admirable courage in his independent and reliable reporting on the lack of free expression in Belarus and on violations of human rights, including disappearances of opposition politicians and journalists."

Orter of Austria's ORF state radio was given half of the prize for his reporting in the Balkans and in Afghanistan, according to the OSCE's Copenhagen-based assembly.

"These two journalists have contributed in an outstanding way to the promotion of the OSCE principles on democracy and human rights through their impartial and reliable reporting," said Gert Weisskirchen, a German lawmaker with the assembly.

Past winners include Russian journalist Andrei Babitsky and Adam Michnik, a former Polish dissident and editor of Poland's first independent newspaper.

Last year, it was given posthumously to both Jose Luis Lopez de Lacalle, a prominent Spanish newspaper columnist who was shot to death, and Ukrainian opposition journalist Georgy Gongadze.

The prize will be presented during the parliament assembly's annual session on July 6-10 in Berlin.