The winners of the Contest

March 9, 2009

The best video and poster submissions to our contest

We are happy to inform you that HCLU got a lot of excellent photo & video materials highlighting a diversity of important issues in a groundbreaking way. The jury had a difficult task to choose the best three videos and posters. It always makes me happy to select the best ones – and makes me upset to reject others. But those who did not win this time should not be upset: we will use all good materials we got sooner or later, they serve a good case!

However, we received a great number of posters & videos - some of them are very high quality -  that did not fit for the purpose of our contest. Probably if we talk about drugs most people associate them with prevention: how to scare children not to use substances. Many people who did not read the contest announcement carefully sent us posters with a primary prevention message: “don’t take drugs”, “drugs are bad” etc. I don’t want to underestimate the value of drug prevention, but you have to understand that this contest was not about fear-based messages about the unintended harms of drugs – but about the unintended harms of drug policies.

Unfortunately the jury could not consider those submissions that did not follow the contest rules. I would like to emphasize that this does not mean that we don’t acknowledge the artistic qualities of these pieces, but we launched this contest to gain materials for a public campaign, with a simple and straightforward message to people: the current policies do not work, we demand change.

Let’s start with the videos!

1) Balázs Körmendi - Prohibition Does Not Work

This video combines a South Park-stlye absurd humour with easily digestible information on the negative consequences of drug policies. What we like is that it shows the huge gap between reality and the ivory tower of the UN drug control agencies, pointing out the two single most important unintended consequences of current drug policies: violation of human rights and lack of harm reduction. Some jury members had concerns about the final scene where the UN building collapses: may people associate it with the fall of the two towers in NYC? But I think the video is not offensive in any sense, the building symbolizes the structure of the international drug control system that is collapsing under the pressure of common sense, without any external act of terror.

2) Balázs Turai - Health Risk Assessment in D-Minor


You know what is great about this video? That it does not even mention drugs or drug policy, but still, its positive message cannot be more obvious than it is: drugs are risky if people abuse them, so let’s educate and equip them to avoid harms. This is the only reasonable public policy approach. If we don’t do that, if we deny reality, the results are disastrous.

3) Miha Ambroz - Handle with care


This video shows the dinamics of the illegal drug market: crime, uncertain quality, dirty money, corruption, violence, infections. This is a brutal world where money often changes hands and human lives have no value. There is no control and regulation: everybody fights everybody. The message is simple: stop prohibition and build a new drug policy based on solidarity and respect. We appreciated the professional quality of the clip: it is ready to broadcast on television.



And here come the winners of the poster category!

1) Beáta Berki - What makes them different?




We selected this poster for the best poster submission because it touches a very sensitive issue in the heart of current drug control: why do we prohibit some drugs and why do we make legally available others? Why responsible pot smoking is a crime and moderate wine drinking a tolerable, if not supportable habit? What makes a pot smoker and a wine drinker different? Not the risks. Not the harms. But a law based on prejudice, not on evidence.  This piece encourages people to rethink their discriminative attitudes to people who use illicit drugs.

2) Tamás Fogarasy - Drug Law Isolates


This poster reminds me of Pink Floyd’s everygreen album, The Wall. Our governments aim to fight drug problems with criminal laws – but what they propose as a solution for the problem became now a part of the problem. We constructed a Wall from fear and ignorance and it leads to the marginalization, stigmatization and social exclusion of those people who are most affected by the harms of drug use.

3) Tamás Kovács - I’m Not a Criminal


I always thought that the drug reform movement needs more ordinary, otherwise law-abiding people to come out from the closet and speak out against prohibition. This poster shows two young people to contrast stereotypes with reality. 


Posted by Peter Sarosi