Naples, Italy- It started as a prize to recognize law enforcement officers and journalists who had the courage to call up the Mafia in Italy and expose their abuses, but it has become something of a far-reaching affair. Now the annual event is a tribute to press freedom and the heroism of those who dare to cover the horrors of war from the front lines, too.
This year’s European Prize for Investigative and Judicial Journalism honors our Fox News colleagues who have been injured and killed in Ukraine. Reporter Benjamin Hall was seriously wounded in March while covering the Russian army’s advance towards the capital, Kyiv. His cameraman Pierre Zakrevsky and local assistant Oleksandra “Sasha” Kovchinova were killed when they were all violently attacked.
Pierre’s wife, Michelle Ross Stanton, was at the majestic castle called Maschio Angioino in the center of Naples to receive his award. In tearful comments to some in the audience, “Mish”, as Pierre and her friends always call her, spoke of her husband’s passionate dedication to his work. She said that although the grief of her loss was always present, reviving him in front of a crowd was very difficult. But she explained why she needed to be there.
Funeral contract for FOX NEWS CAMERAMAN PIERRE ZAKRZEWSKI IN IRELAND
After the awards ceremony, Michele said: “I knew how important that was, because it’s about journalism. It’s about injustice in the world. It’s about human rights. And I think that’s so important that we have to continue with it. I know that Pierre is dead and he He does what he loves, and he lives the way he died. With courage and grace, that is, Pierre’s death leaves a great hole, a void in the hearts of many in the international press community who knew him, not to mention family and friends.”
Benjamin Hall’s bravery was also honored in Naples. He plans to continue the fight to light a light where there is darkness and not only that. In the notes I prepared before receiving the Benn Prize on his behalf, as I am about to get into the long boot of Italy in Milan, I note that he is a wonderful communicator and extreme on many topics—not just conflict. He has the power to make you laugh at some of life’s absurdities with his clever twists of phrase as much as he can capture the essence of horror and injustice.
In a video message to the organizers of the event, which also celebrated the Italian army’s war correspondents, Benjamin said the police uncovered a mafia operation. “But I think it is imperative that we continue to do this work, and that is very important for telling the truth. I believe that without journalists on the ground, you will not know the atrocities, the killings, the atrocities that are happening. Nor will you know the strength, courage and resilience of all these people who are fighting for good.” .
Benjamin Hall surprised Fox News colleagues with moving words six months after the deadly Ukraine attack
The prize was founded by a man named Massimo Scuderi who started his career in his native Sicily as part of the “Guardia di Finanza” or financial police, those who track anything from tax evasion to international trafficking. He was honored for his brave work by the Italian government and witnessed a lot in his life. But the story of Pierre, Sasha and Benjamin deeply affected him.
“I read a lot about it. I even watched the videos on your channel. I got moved by it, because I imagine three friends, in a car, talking and then in an instant, they never spoke again.”
The memory of Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova was also honored repeatedly throughout the evening. She had worked as a local ‘proven’ or a proficient on the ground for the Fox Ukraine team. An ambitious young journalist, a person who, according to a Fox associate, “lit up every room she entered” with her energy and positivity, was much loved by everyone who worked with her. Michelle says she will dedicate her life to keeping the legacy of Pierre and Sasha alive. Massimo Scuderi says he will do his best to locate Sacha’s family in Ukraine and eventually bring them to Italy to commemorate them in their presence.
OLEKSANDRA ‘SASHA’ KUVSHYNOVA’S FOX NEWS COLLEAGUES REMEMBER HER LIFE: ‘She had a special presence’
Meanwhile, Michelle shared the Zakrzewski family mantra that helps everyone get through their nightmare. It’s a hashtag. #BemorelikePierre. She is simple:
I love your family.
I love your friends.
do what you love.
Be the best you can be.
Because it was the best.
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