The prize is named after Natasa Vuckovic Lesendric (1966–2011) who -- in partnership with WAN-IFRA and UNESCO -- founded and ran a distribution system and then a printing plant for the independent press of Serbia under the régime of Slobodan Milosevic.
Natasa introduced modern practice to distribution and printing plant management to Serbia under very difficult conditions while encouraging actions that supported press freedom and assuring that young people became aware of this concept. She made sure the plant offered support for starting and sustaining a national newspapers in education programme, in which newspapers are used as a supplemental text for teaching all kinds of subjects, and for such events as holding a 3 May Press Freedom Day poster contest at the printing plant, using excess newsprint.
Later, she became assistant minister for media in the Serbian Ministry of Culture. She died in 2011 at age 46 of breast cancer.
THE 2012 WINNER
The latest winner in this special category is RotOcéan, an innovative digital printing plant on the French island department of La Réunion.
WHAT THEY DID:
Children ages 6 to 16 create newspapers with the help of their professor and RotOcéan team and come to the printing house to see their copies printed on the ink-jet digital printing press that also prints the leading mainland French newspapers for the country. Parents pay a symbolic 1 Euro for their child’s participation. The project accounts for 10 percent of the company’s total effort, which has involved more than 1000 students in the last two years. At left, CEO Hubert Pédurand with students at the last step: when they see the result. The project also works with a project involving Le Monde cartoonist Plantu to explore press freedom via political cartoons.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID:
"The commitment of this printing plant is amazing, as is the fact that they want to increase it. Digital printing provides an economical way for a child to get a “real” copy of the newspaper they produced, and the parent payment system is a wise way to make sure it is taken seriously."
THE 2011 WINNER
The first winner of this special category was Sinag Publishing and Printing Services (Philippines) and publishers of two weeklies for doing free journalism training seminars.
WHAT THEY DID
The owners of this modest operation, Raia E. Dela Peña-Landicho and Ruel Landicho,, believe strongly that it is their duty to offer this kind of service: “We believe that in a time when press freedom is being attacked in our country ... it is important to teach our youth that journalism is not just a ‘dangerous job’ as most people here perceive nowadays but a noble profession -- a vocation and not just a career “
To encourage the young to embrace and develop a love of journalism, the plant regularly offers Sinag Journalism Training Seminars that are free and open anyone, but particularly to students in the region.
Participants need provide only their own food and something with which to write. Seminar topics include news and feature writing, opinion writing and cartooning.
The sessions are highly popular with an overwhelming 1000 participants at the first edition (now limited to a maximum of 300).