Reporters Without Borders Award

The Reporters without Borders awarded me the 2004 Press Freedom Award for the two stories below, which I entered in the online journalism competition.
I conducted the documentation for the stories jointly with US photojournalist Scott Squire, traveling to Romania for a second time during January 2003. Scott's work is available on his website, at  
Mental Health Care in Romania: Aching for More Than Pills, 18 Apr 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
At the Center for the Rehabilitation of
Handicapped People in Bucharest

A bureaucratic jungle can reduce Romania’s mental hospitals into a modern-day Bedlam. But there are a few bright spots in the grim picture. 
Dr. Gheorghe Tanase turns around and cranes his neck to peer over the heads of the some 100 men packed into the room. All of them are facing a television tuned in to an American soap, though it is obvious that not all of them are really watching. Instead, some stare straight ahead at the wall in front of them as if trying to pierce the whitewash. “Who wants to speak with the press? Mr. Mircea!? Please, Mr. Mircea, come here.” It takes a while for a short man to force his way through tight rows of men sitting shoulder to shoulder on wooden benches. They do not look, though, as if they [...]  
At the mental asylum in Plataresti,
25 km southeast off Bucharest
Romania's Health System: Sick and Getting Sicker, 18 Apr 2003, By ANCA PADURARU for Transitions Online, bylined to Dumitru Balaci alias
Romania was already spending less on health care than any other country in Europe. Now, high-handed attempts at reform have left the system poorer still and Romanians even more poorly cared for. 
Romania’s health care system is on the brink of collapse and facing a crisis likened by professionals in the field only to the situation 60 years ago. But then Romania, like all of Europe, was at war, and had lost two-thirds of its territory. Now the population is being besieged by its own government, medical professionals are saying in an increasingly vitriolic showdown with the government. For the past two months, doctors, patients, pharmacists, and drug suppliers throughout Romania have been taking to the streets. The latest [...]