The Machiavelli Award 2020 has been awarded to Marion Koopmans, professor of virology, and Diederik Gommers, chairman of the Dutch Society for Intensive Care. This was announced today by the Board of the Machiavelli Foundation. The award is granted annually for a remarkable achievement in the field of public communication.
“Koopmans and Gommers receive the prize because of their relentless efforts to make the science about the coronavirus accessible to a broad public. Enthusiastically and tirelessly, they are able time and again to distinguish facts and fables about the virus in an understandable language”, according to the jury report.
“The deliberate search for dialogue with doubters of science and opponents of policy has contributed to a greater understanding, especially among young people”, continues the jury report. “It is to Koopmans and Gommers’ credit that they have made informing a broad public their vocation alongside their daily work in the so urgent fight against the coronavirus. A vocation that both exercise with great self-evidence and skill”.
The award will be presented on Monday 15 February by Marja Wagenaar, chairperson of the Machiavelli Foundation, in Press Centre Nieuwspoort (The Hague). It is the 32nd time that the award will be granted. Due to the corona measures, the award ceremony will not be physically accessible to the public this year, but can be followed live from 17.00 hours via NPO Politiek.
Previous prize winners included Elliot Higgins of journalism collective Bellingcat, “the endangered mayor” Jos Wienen, SheDecides, Hugo Borst & Carin Gaemers, the Dutch Safety Investigation Board, RTL Nederland, Mayor Eberhard van der Laan, Bauke Vaatstra, H.K.H. Princess Máxima, national coach Bert van Marwijk and investigative journalist Jeroen Smit.
Daan Heerma van Voss, writer and journalist, will give the annual Machiavelli lecture, entitled: “In defence of the conspiracy theory. A story about chaos, fear and pizza”.