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

 

Jailed Iran journalist wins Golden Pen of Freedom

INTERNATIONAL: Jailed Iranian journalist wins WAN Golden Pen of Freedom Award

IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community


PRESS RELEASE - INTERNATIONAL

16 November 2005

Jailed Iranian journalist wins WAN Golden Pen of Freedom Award

SOURCE: World Association of Newspapers (WAN), Paris

**For further information on the Ganji case, see IFEX alerts of 10 November, 7 September, 22, 9 and 2 August, 27, 21 and 14 July, 16, 10, 9 and 3 June 2005, and others**

(WAN/IFEX) - The following is a 15 November 2005 WAN press release:

Copenhagen, Denmark, 15 November 2005

Jailed Iranian Journalist Wins WAN Golden Pen of Freedom Award

Akbar Ganji, a leading investigative journalist who is now one of Iran's most renowned political prisoners, has been awarded the 2006 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers.

Mr Ganji, who is serving the fourth year of a six-year prison sentence, is the author of the book "Dungeon of Ghosts," in which he implicates the former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and other leading conservative figures in the murders of five writers and intellectuals in 1998. The book is said to have been a major factor in the conservative defeat in parliamentary elections of February 2000.

Mr Ganji has reportedly been tortured in prison and has gone on two long hunger strikes. He has defiantly refused to renounce his critique of the state, even if it could win his release. In a letter recently smuggled out of prison, he wrote: "Let it be known that if learning my lesson is to denounce my previous opinions, Ganji will never learn his lesson."

Mr Ganji was arrested in April 2000 following his participation in a Berlin conference in which political and social reform in Iran were publicly debated. He was sentenced to six years in prison in 2001 for "insulting religious edicts and figures, threatening national security and dissemination of propaganda against the Islamic system."

The Golden Pen award, which will be presented on Monday, 5 June, 2006, at the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum in Moscow, Russia, recognises Mr Ganji's outstanding defence and promotion of press freedom.

"Akbar Ganji fights for freedom of expression in Iran but his efforts are watched around the globe," said the Board of the Paris-based WAN, meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. "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."

The Board called for his immediate release.

Mr Ganji was originally sentenced to ten years in prison plus five years of internal exile, but the sentence was reduced to six months imprisonment on appeal. The Supreme Court, however, overturned the appellate court's decision and referred the case to a different appeals court, which sentenced him to six years in prison.

On 19 May 2005, Mr Ganji began a hunger strike that lasted for almost three months. He was granted prison leave for medical treatment at the end of May and used the opportunity to call for a boycott of the 17 June presidential election. He resumed his hunger strike for two months when he returned to prison, ending up in hospital due to malnutrition and poor health. He had lost more than 25 kilogrammes.

He ended the hunger strike and on 3 September, was discharged from hospital and returned to prison, where he remains today.

On 12 July, the United States government called on Iran to release Ganji "immediately and unconditionally."

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, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 72 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 10 news agencies and nine regional and world-wide press groups.


The information contained in this press release is the sole responsibility of WAN. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit WAN.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 



Save The Children: Ukraine: 21 Children Killed Or Injured In Horrific Week Of Violence

At least 21 children have been killed or injured in just a week in an uptick of violence across Ukraine, Save the Children said today... More>>


UN: Visionary ‘Blue Transformation’ Strategy To Enhance Underwater Food Systems

Record levels of fisheries and aquaculture production are making a critical contribution to global food security, the UN Ocean Conference under way in Lisbon, Portugal, heard on Wednesday...
More>>
Abu Akleh Shooting: Fatal Shot Came From Israeli Forces, Says OHCHR
Israeli forces were behind the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank - not indiscriminate Palestinian firing - the UN human rights office, OHCHR, alleged on Friday... More>>



UN Ocean Conference: Opens With Call For Urgent Action To Tackle Ocean Emergency
With climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution exacting a devastating toll on the world’s ocean — critical to food security, economic growth and the environment... More>>

World Vision: Deeply Concerned For Thousands Affected By Afghanistan Quake
World Vision is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in the wake of a powerful earthquake in the early hours of this morning... More>>



Malaysia: UN Experts Welcome Announcement To Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

UN human rights experts* today commended an announcement made by the Malaysian government that it will abolish the country’s mandatory death penalty and encouraged Parliament to take concrete steps to pass the agreement into law... More>>