On August, 18 the final of the contest “Unmask with YouControl” took place. The jury and spectators chose two runners-up and the winner.
On August, 18 on the waves of the Kyiv Dnieper river a ship party was held on the occasion of the final of the contest of investigative journalism “Unmask with YouControl”. Receipt of applications for participation in it began on June, 6, on the Journalist’s Day, and ended on July, 10. Of 86 investigations, that were submitted, the YouControl team chose 12 finalists. Their works were judged by the professional jury and guests of the party – about one hundred journalists and public activists from all over Ukraine.
The event began with a speech of the CEO and founder of the company YouControl Sergi Milman: “Two and a half years ago our social program started. Then we began providing journalists and public activists with free access to the system. And now we have something to thank them for. They made comments and suggestions on improving YouControl and on the basis of them we were able to improve the system. We are also grateful to them for their support at hard times, when we had to fight attacks from the Security Service of Ukraine. And now we are glad that on the basis of the data from the system hundreds of investigations have been carried out and these investigations influence the efficiency of the authorities’ activity and increase the level of responsibility of business.”
After the opening speech Sergi Milman announced the names of the finalists who started preparing for the presentation of their investigations. Among them there were:
In the nomination “Regional Backstage” (investigations that revealed a local “betrayal”):
• Oleksandra Hubytska, Mariia Rever (“Nashi hroshi. Lviv”)
• Bohdan Krasovskyi (“Nashi hroshi”)
• Hryhorii Ivanchenko (project “Zemelni skhemy”)
In the nomination “Star of Investigations” (investigation of an all-Ukrainian scale):
• Yuliia Makarenko (program “Narodna prokuratura”, Channel 112)
• Olena Orlova (TRK “Lavanda”)
• Mariia Kuhel (“Nova hazeta”)
In the nomination “We Have Followed Them Up” (the case was decided):
• Alona Bereza (“Nezalezhnyi hromadskyi portal”)
• Myroslava Stankevych (“Ni koruptsii”)
• Vlad Bodnar (“Vinnytska ahentsiia zhurnalistskykh rozsliduvan”)
In the nomination “Expert of YouControl” (the investigation which would be impossible without the system):
• Taras Zozulinskyi (“Ukrainian Energy Production”)
• Volodymyr Datsenko (“Ni koruptsii”)
• Vlad Bodnar (Vlasno.info)
While the finalists were preparing for their presentations, experts of YouControl conducted a game-like master class. They turned into an investigator and a corruptionist and demonstrated how the system and its new functional could help in the work of a journalist. After this performance the twelve best contestants began presenting their works. The audience and the jury determined how interesting and of which quality the investigations had been, and how well they had been presented:
• Olha Shalaiska – the project manager of “Blohery za dobre vriaduvannia”, the executive director of NGO “Center of Social Initiatives “ATOM”;
• Denys Bihus – the founder and head of Bihus.info, a group of anti-corruption and information projects from NGO “BOOK 14” and “Kantseliarska sotnia”;
• Oleksa Shalaiskyi – the editor-in-chief of the Internet resource “Nashi hroshi”, a member of the Board of the Anticorruption Action Center;
• Oleksandr Liemienov – the founder of NGO “StateWatch”, a lawyer and expert in anti-corruption policy;
• Sergi Milman – the CEO and founder of the company YouControl.
By the number of points Oleksandra Hubytska and Mariia Rever took the third place for their investigation “Highway Sportsmen” . The second place was taken by Alona Bereza with the material “The Deputy of the Regional Council Faces Three Years of Deprivation of... Work ... if an Anticompetitive Conspiracy in the Tender Is Proved”. They received tickets for the Lviv Media Forum, which will be held in May 2019.
“I am pleased to be among the twelve finalists and even to take one of the prize-winning places. I have been with YouControl for more than two years. I am one of those people who joined the company social program at its beginning. Now almost 100% of all investigations are based on the information received from the system,” Alona Bereza, a journalist of the “Nezalezhnyi hromadskyi portal”, said.
And a victory was gained by Bohdan Krasovskyi for the material “Alternative Energy Production. To Heat Everyone”. For his thorough work he received a cryptic laptop of an investigator with many installed useful services, that will help him in his activity.
At the end of the event the jury members took the floor. Denys Bihus urged journalists and activists not to rely on the prosecutor’s office in initiating proceedings on the basis of their investigations. According to him, in such cases it is necessary to translate a journalistic text into a legal language. He offered his colleagues to address the lawyers of his project “Tysny (Push)” for the assistance in such “translation”. Olha Shalaiska, on the contrary, appealed to the audience with a request not to forget to write for ordinary readers first of all. In her opinion, in such cases the investigations would be successful with the people. And Oleksandr Liemienov encouraged the participants of the event to support each other, to share topics and not to lose faith in the fact that their work will have positive influence.
“God created journalists, and YouControl made them equal. This is a huge plus and a “problem”. Earlier only a few investigators in Ukraine could prove that someone was a brother or a parent-in-law of somebody, that they lived in one and the same apartment. But now more than 330 journalists have access to the system and at the touch of a button they get all the necessary information. It is clear that the “button” is the same for everyone, journalists are in the same conditions, so now they have to look for some other “weapon” to stand out. YouControl did good and foredoomed us to become even more professional than we had been before,” Oleksa Shalaiskyi assured.
The final point of the party was an emotional game – a drum circle, where all in attendance were able to create a single stream of sound from various musical instruments. It became a personification of the idea that the power of people, in particular journalists and activists, was in unity.