Serbia’s ‘CRTA’ Receives the 2018 Democracy Defender Award

The 2018 Democracy Defender Award. (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

U.S. one of 25 OSCE delegations to honor Serbian NGO ‘The Center for Research, Transparency, and Accountability’ at the March 16 award ceremony

On Friday, March 16, the United States joined 24 other OSCE delegations in presenting the 2018 Democracy Defender Award to the Serbian NGO “The Center for Research, Transparency, and Accountability” (CRTA).

CRTA, a grassroots organization that seeks to increase the accountability of Serbia’s public officials and institutions, won this year’s award for its outstanding contributions to Serbia’s ongoing democratic progress.

“The United States is proud that CRTA won this year’s Democracy Defender Award,” said USOSCE Chargé d’Affaires Harry Kamian, noting that “CRTA’s projects have increased transparency in public institutions, brought more citizens into the democratic process and, through its election monitoring efforts, provided the public with professional, impartial, and timely information in support of Serbia’s democracy.”

The award ceremony took place at Schwedenhaus Wien, and was preceded by a panel discussion on ‘Democracy in the Digital Age’ moderated by Human Rights Watch’s EU Director Lotte Leicht that included the International Press Institute’s Executive Director Barbara Trionfi, Professor for Empirical Social Science Methods at the University of Vienna Hajo Boomgarden, and CRTA’s Program Director Raša Nedeljkov.

Last year’s winner, the renowned Russian election monitoring organization ‘Golos’, also made an appearance at the ceremony in the form of a video message, in which Golos co-chair Roman Udot congratulated CRTA and highlighted the award’s significance for civil society.

Ambassador Liselotte Plesner, Denmark’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE, presented the award to CRTA’s founder and director Vukosava Crnjanski, who dedicated the award to the “citizens, civil society organizations, journalists, and activists in Serbia that committed their lives and careers to defending democracy”.

The 25 OSCE delegations sponsoring the award were Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada‎, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.