An investigation by Le Soir and De Tijd newspapers and Knack magazine into the safety of implants used in Belgium has been awarded the Belfius Prize for the written press for 2018. The dossier examined the record for safety of the principal implants used, breast implants together with other types such as hearing-related cochlear implants (photo), as well as the controls carried out and the efforts made by manufacturers to have their products used by doctors.
The newspapers reported how one certification agency had lost its licence after a disastrous audit, while another was severely criticised. Spinal implants were found to burst inside patients, and manufacturers paid 25 million euros under the table to doctors for the favourable prescription of their products.
The Belfius Prize was created in 1963 for the written press by the bank, which was then known as Crédit communale. In 1969 categories were added for television and radio reporting. Later additions include sports reporting, photography and financial and economic news. Local press were added in 2013, and digital press in 2014.
The prize for written press is often awarded to two separate projects, one on each side of the language divide. However this year’s prize goes to a bilingual project, part of an international investigation on the implants question.
The prize for digital press went to Paris-Match for its series on migrants, police and human traffickers, competing against a report by La Libre on drug addicts in Liege. In the category of radio, Ghizlane Kounda won for her RTBF reporting on the Jewish community in Morocco for the series Transversales. A VRT report on the right-wing organisation Schild en Vriend won for television reporting.
And the biotechnology industry in Wallonia was the subject of the winning reportage by the newspaper L’Echo, which won in the category for economic and financial journalism.