World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Golden Pen of Freedom award to Iranian journalist

Golden Pen of Freedom awarded to Iranian journalist Akbar Ganji

SOURCE: World Association of Newspapers (WAN), Paris

**Updates IFEX alert of 23 November 2005; for further information on the Ganji case, see alerts of 20 March 2006, 10 November, 7 September, 22, 9 and 2 August 2005, and others**

(WAN/IFEX) - The following is a 5 June 2006 WAN press release:

Moscow, Russia, 5 June 2006 - Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Iranian Journalist

An Iranian journalist who spent the last six years in jail for criticising the Iranian authorities has been awarded the 2006 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize from the World Association of Newspapers.

Akbar Ganji, a leading investigative journalist who is now one of Iran's most renowned dissidents, dedicated the award to "all Iranian dissidents and freedom-fighters."

"And in this category, more than anyone the prize should go to those who fought for freedom and human rights and were, as punishment, slaughtered during what came to be known as the 'Serial Murders'," he said, referring to the murders of dissident intellectuals by Intelligence Ministry agents in the late 1990s. Mr. Ganji wrote extensively about these cases, implicating leading conservative figures from the ruling establishment in the murders. The Ministry said "rogue agents" were responsible for the killings.

The award was presented Monday, during the opening ceremonies of the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum, the global meetings of the world's press, which drew more than 1,700 newspaper executives and editors to Moscow, Russia. The awards ceremony was the first opportunity for Mr. Ganji to address an international audience since his release from prison in March.

Mr. Ganji dedicated his prize to others as well - prisoners who were executed while serving their sentences in 1987, journalists who have been tortured and paralyzed, dissidents deprived of their social rights and imprisoned, and Iranians who have been forced into exile "only because they dared to think and live differently."

Mr. Ganji was arrested in 2000, following his participation in a conference in Berlin in which political and social reform were publicly discussed. He was convicted in 2001 of "insulting religious edicts and figures, threatening national security and dissemination of propaganda against the Islamic regime."

He spent most of his term in solitary confinement. He was tortured, and went on months-long hunger strikes, prompting both UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and US President George Bush to call, in vain, for his early release. When he was released on 18 March, he weighed only 48 kilograms (108 pounds).

In presenting the award, the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum called on the Iranian regime to respect the right of its citizens to freedom of _expression.

"Though he is out of prison, Ganji is not yet free," said George Brock, President of the World Editors Forum, who presented the award. "Free political discussion is harder now than it was when his sentence began. The reformist movement is on the wane. Hard-liners have taken over Parliament and ultra-conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is purging reformists from government. Iran's judiciary has closed down more than 100 pro-democracy publications in the past five years, including the papers that Ganji wrote for. It is unlikely that any newspaper would risk publishing Ganji's writings today."

The award citation from WAN said: "Akbar Ganji fights for freedom of _expression in Iran but his efforts are watched around the globe. His remarkable resistance to repression and his steadfast refusal to be silenced, at great personal cost, is an inspiration to journalists everywhere. It is through courageous journalists who do not capitulate - even in the face of long prison terms and even death - that freedom advances."

Read Mr Ganji's full acceptance speech at: http://www.wan-press.org/article11184.html

WAN, the global association of the newspaper industry, has awarded the Golden Pen annually since 1961. Past winners include Argentina's Jacobo Timerman (1980), South Africa's Anthony Head (1986), China's Dai Qing (1992), Vietnam's Doan Viet Hoat of Vietnam (1998), Zimbabwe's Geoffrey Nyarota (2002), and Uzbekistan's Ruslan Sharipov (2004). The 2005 winner was journalist Mahjoub Mohamed Salih of Sudan.

The Paris-based WAN defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 73 national newspaper associations, newspapers and newspaper executives in 102 countries, 11 news agencies and nine regional and world-wide press groups.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news