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UCB : Journalists recognised for excellence in reporting on epilepsy

04/12/2012 | 01:41am US/Eastern
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• International Bureau of Epilepsy (IBE) and UCB announce winners of the 2011 Excellence in Epilepsy Journalism Award to improve understanding of epilepsy around the world

Brussels (Belgium), 12th April 2012 - 0700 CET - The International Bureau of Epilepsy (IBE) and UCB are pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Excellence in Epilepsy Journalism Award. The award aims to raise awareness about epilepsy across the globe. It recognises journalists who have excelled in reporting compelling and informed stories that engage the audience on this often misunderstood condition. Epilepsy is the most common, serious neurological condition, affecting up to 50 million people worldwide.1

Impressed by the standard of the articles submitted for consideration to the judging panel this year, Mike Glynn, award judge and President of IBE commented:

"We were pleased to receive almost 50 entries from 24 countries across the world. The importance of accurate, insightful journalism across the globe is important for the epilepsy community, who often face deep-seated stigma and misconceptions about the reality of the condition."

"Our hope is that over time, we can help to encourage more reporting that begins to break down these barriers to understanding and acceptance for many people living with epilepsy across the world."

An independent seven-member judging panel comprising media experts and people with first-hand experience of epilepsy were tasked with identifying responsible, original and informed stories from the 49 entries.

2011 Winners
Print Category:
The winner of the print category was Maj My Midtgaard Humaidan from Denmark for her article 'Living Amidst Seizures and Lack of Empowerment' that appeared in the Danish newspaper Fyns Amts Avis.

"We felt that this was a powerful and compelling piece of writing, something which really set this article apart," commented David Josephs member of the judging panel and UK Epilepsy Advocate.

"The entry brilliantly depicts the portrait of someone living with severe epilepsy and just how challenging this can be, not just for the person but for the entire family."

Broadcast Category:
Birthe Tønseth from Ireland was the winner in the broadcast category for her programme 'Life with Epilepsy' broadcast on Radio Telefís Éireann's RTÉ One.

"This programme looked at the lives of three people with different types of epilepsy, in an accessible and uplifting way through their personal stories," said Robert Cole, member of the judging panel from the Epilepsy Association of South Australia and the Northern Territory, Australia.

"The stories reference various challenges such as the symptoms, common problems, stigma and discrimination, but also the hopes, dreams and achievements of people living with epilepsy. The entry was well researched and a worthy winner."

Victoria Macdonald from the UK was also highly commended for her piece 'Patients Not told of Epilepsy Sleep Death Risk' which was broadcast on Channel 4 News.

"There was a high standard of entries in the broadcast category this year," said Robert Cole, member of the judging panel from the Epilepsy Association of South Australia and the Northern Territory, Australia.

"Victoria Macdonald's news piece highlighted the case of two families who lost daughters to Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), who had not been warned of the risk. SUDEP remains an important topic, and this entry was highly commended by the judges."

Online Category:
The winner of the online category was Comfort Mussa from Cameroon for her article 'Epilepsy Myths Promote Stigma, Prevent Care in Cameroon' that appeared on the Global Press Institute website.

"Comfort Mussa tackled an important issue in Africa, the demonising of epilepsy, and did so in a very compelling way," commented Joachim Mueller-Jung, member of the judging panel, Writer and Journalist, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany.

"The story explores how myths promote stigma and sheds light on the importance of sensitising the community to accept people with epilepsy to ensure optimal care."

Notes to Editors
About the Excellence in Epilepsy Journalism Award
The award is a joint initiative of the IBE and UCB and is open to consumer, health and medical journalists writing for print, broadcast or online outlets.
The international judging panel comprised the following judges:
• Mr Robert Cole, Epilepsy Association of South Australia and the Northern Territory, Australia
• Dr Carlos Acevedo, Vice-President of the International Bureau for Epilepsy Latin American Region and Editor, International Epilepsy News, Chile
• Mr Joachim Mueller-Jung, Writer and Journalist, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany
• Mr David Josephs, Epilepsy Advocate, UK
• Dr Mark Porter, GP & Medical Correspondent for The Times, UK
• Mr Randolph Siegel, President, Local Digital Strategy, Advance Publications, USA
• Mr Mike Glynn, President, IBE, Ireland

Entries were assessed on the following criteria:
Helps to increase the awareness and understanding of epilepsy
• Gives a voice to people with epilepsy
• Is conceptually or visually innovative and creative
• Is well structured, well researched and compelling
• Uses language responsibly when reporting or writing on epilepsy

Certain local restrictions may apply regarding this Award and it is only available where not prohibited or restricted by local laws and regulations. The award winners receive €4,000 each in travel vouchers and are encouraged to use their prize to defray travel costs related to further journalistic research and publications about epilepsy.

Reference
1. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs999/en/ [accessed 28th March 2012]

For further information
UCB
Eimear O' Brien, Director, Brand Communications, UCB
T +32 2 559 9271, eimear.obrien@ucb.com

IBE
Ann Little, Executive Director, IBE
T +353.1.210.8850 , ibedublin@eircom.net

About the IBE
Founded more than 50 years ago, the IBE is an organisation for people with epilepsy and professionals interested in the medical and non-medical aspects of epilepsy. The IBE addresses such social problems as education, employment, insurance, driving licence restrictions and public awareness, and supports its members through a range of innovative and important initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of people with epilepsy and their families. www.ibe-epilepsy.org

About UCB
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 8 500 people in about 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.2 billion in 2011. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels.

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