Ján Benčík ceremonially accepted the European Citizen's prize on October 11, at the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels. The EP decided to grant him this award in July.
Benčík, a Slovak blogger and civil activist, was nominated by Slovak MEP and head of the Slovak delegation at the European People's Party (EPP), Ivan Štefanec (of the Christian Democratic Movement), the SITA newswire wrote.
“I hold this award in high esteem, and I would like to dedicate it to all the people in Slovakia and in Europe who daily engage in the fight against acts of extremism, be it in the online world, or in their own milieu,” Benčík said, as quoted by SITA. “I am glad that in my country, as well as in many others, civic initiatives appear that actively deal with this danger. Unfortunately, extremists are often one step ahead of us, and governments should, in order to preserve freedom and democracy, do more to reveal and punish their activities.”Read also:Read more
Benčík is a role model of a brave citizen who does not want to just passively watch extremism grow – both on the internet and in real life – but rigorously collects evidence of the acts of extremists, and publishes them. With his activities which are freely available, Benčík in fact supplies information to the security forces of the state, according to Štefanec.
The European Citizen's prize, introduced in 2008 by the European Parliament, is intended to reward each year those individuals or groups who have particularly distinguished themselves in boosting European integration by the expression of European cooperation, openness to others and practical involvement in the development of mutual understanding.
12. Oct 2017 at 0:16 | Compiled by Spectator staff