An article by an Italian journalist describing how foreign workers, mainly illegal immigrants, are treated in southern Italy has won the 2006 edition of the EU Journalist Award, organised by the European Commission.

In his article I Was A Slave In Puglia, published in the magazine l'Espresso, Fabrizio Gatti informs the public about the difficult situation foreign workers face such as being subjected to working conditions the author equates to slavery.

Posing as a migrant worker, Mr Gatti used thorough research and vivid narration to illustrate "the difficult situation of Europe's second-class citizens who experience severe discrimination based on their ethnic origin", according to the jury.

The award is a European Commission initiative honouring journalists whose work contributes to a better understanding of diversity and discrimination.

In an award ceremony organised in Brussels yesterday, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Commissioner Vladimir Spidla said the media's role in raising awareness of these important issues cannot be underestimated.

Second and third place went to a Hungarian and a Belgian journalist, respectively.

The 2007 edition of the EU Journalist Award was launched in February for articles published in any of the 27 member states between January 1 and September 30, 2007.

More information about the award can be found at www.stop-discrimination.info.

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