IWPR Trainees Receive Bosnian Prize

Reporters honoured for work on those facing discrimination and exclusion.

IWPR Trainees Receive Bosnian Prize

Reporters honoured for work on those facing discrimination and exclusion.

Minela Jašar and Ajdin Kamber have won a prestigious award for their reporting on the country’s marginalised and vulnerable groups.
Minela Jašar and Ajdin Kamber have won a prestigious award for their reporting on the country’s marginalised and vulnerable groups. © Photos: Jašar by TV N1; Kamber from personal archive.
Friday, 5 February, 2021

Two former IWPR trainees who went on to become successful journalists in Bosnia have won a prestigious award for their reporting on the country’s marginalised and vulnerable groups.

Minela Jašar, now a host and reporter with N1 Television, won the 2020 Srđan Aleksić Award for best TV journalist after being nominated by a group of NGOs for her contribution to socially responsible journalism.

“IWPR taught me to recognise a good story, to research it properly, and to develop a serious approach to writing. We were also taught to pay a lot of attention to photography. With such an experience, the doors to the world of journalism were opened for me.”

Ajdin Kamber won the second place in a separate category, together with his colleague Hilma Unkić, for a series of stories in which they challenged prejudices about migrants and people with disabilities.

“Receiving the journalism award named after a man who is a symbol of courage, justice, and humanity is a great honour for me and a motivation to continue to focus on vulnerable groups in my reporting.”

The jury explained that the authors presented marginalised people “in a creative and unusual way”, showing the audience “who these people really are".

The Srđan Aleksić award is given annually for highly professional reporting on marginalised and vulnerable groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). It was established in 2010 at the initiative of the Helsinki Parliament of the Citizens of Banja Luka, the Cure Foundation, and the Association of Young Journalists of Republika Srpska.

The award was named after a young Serb man who was beaten to death by Bosnian Serb soldiers in the town of Trebinje during the war for protecting a Muslim citizen they were harassing.

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Minela Jašar
Minela Jašar

Jašar and Kamber were trained by IWPR and its local partners within the project Tales of Transition, in 2013 and 2010 respectively. This project aimed at raising awareness about transitional justice processes in BiH through training journalists to report professionally and objectively on these issues.

As part of the training and mentoring she received from IWPR, Jašar produced high-quality multi-media stories that were published by IWPR and the local media in the region.

(See Lonely Life for Bosnian Refugee Family and Bosnian Village Relives Wartime Trauma).

Shortly after completing the training, she joined TV N1 - a regional partner of CNN - where she has worked ever since as a reporter, producer and presenter.

Jašar said that working on the stories for IWPR was her “first serious step in journalism”.

“IWPR taught me to recognise a good story, to research it properly, and to develop a serious approach to writing. We were also taught to pay a lot of attention to photography. With such an experience, the doors to the world of journalism were opened for me,” she continued. “When I think about it now, maybe the stories I did for IWPR – which had a very strong human angle – sparked my interest in human stories that led to the Srđan Aleksić Award”.

Jašar emphasized that the decision to give space in her reports and interviews to disenfranchised workers, miners, new mothers and others was the best and bravest decision she had made in her professional career.

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Ajdin Kamber
Ajdin Kamber

After Kamber’s IWPR training, he continued to work as a local trainer and reporter and produced a number of stories over a five-year period that were widely republished in the region.

Kamber is now a freelance journalist, photographer, and video reporter who regularly contributes to Deutche Welle and focuses mainly on human rights, minorities, migrants and post-war transition in BiH.

“Receiving the journalism award named after a man who is a symbol of courage, justice, and humanity is a great honour for me and a motivation to continue to focus on vulnerable groups in my reporting,” he said.

Kamber explained that he and his colleague Unkić felt that migrants and people with disabilities deserved more attention in the local media, which is why they chose to wrote about them.

“These individuals are faced with discrimination and stereotypes on a daily basis, but they are also full of optimism and positive energy, despite constant pressures they are under,”  Kamber said. “I’ve learned a lot from them.”

He added that the time he spent with IWPR has had a lasting impact on his work.

“The skills and the knowledge I gained while I was working as a reporter for IWPR still have a strong influence on my work today, particularly on my choice of subjects and the way I research and approach my stories,” Kamber said. “A five-year experience of working with IWPR has significantly shaped my whole career.

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