Eritrean-born journalist Dawit Isaak awarded UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017

Dawit Isaak in Sweden circa 1987-88
© Kalle Ahlsén
30 March 2017

Dawit Isaak, an imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist, has been chosen to receive the 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. Mr. Isaak was arrested in a crackdown on the media that occurred in September 2001. The last time he was heard from was in 2005. His present location is unknown.

An independent international jury of media professionals recommended unanimously Mr. Isaak in recognition of his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression, and the recommendation was endorsed by the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

“Defending fundamental freedoms calls for determination and courage – it calls for fearless advocates,” said Irina Bokova. “This is the legacy of Guillermo Cano, and the message we send today with this decision to highlight the work of Dawit Isaak.”

“Dawit Isaak joins a long list of courageous journalists who have persevered to shed light in the dark spaces; keeping their communities informed against all odds,” said Cilla Benkö, President of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017 Jury. “Some have given their lives in the pursuit of truth. Many have been imprisoned. Dawit Isaak has spent nearly 16 years in jail, without charge or trial. I sincerely hope that with this award the world will say, ‘Free Dawit Isaak Now.’”

Dawit Isaak, a playwright, journalist and writer, moved to Sweden in 1987, where he later became a citizen and went into self-imposed exile. After the independence of Eritrea, he returned to his homeland to become one of the founders and reporters of Setit, the first independent newspaper in the country. He was known for his critical and insightful reporting.

The Prize will be awarded during the celebration of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, hosted in Jakarta, Indonesia this year in the presence of the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo.

Created by UNESCO’s Executive Board in 1997, the annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honours a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and, or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.

The $25,000 Prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogotá, on 17 December 1986. It is funded by the Cano Foundation (Colombia) and the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland).

****

For more information, contact:

Sylvie Coudray, +33 1 45 68 42 12; s.coudray@unesco.org
George Papagiannis, +33 1 45 68 17 06; g.papagiannis@unesco.org


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Take Action

Eritrean Satellite Television is an international non-profit organization. Please support us by:

Donate

Sign up

Volunteer

Spread the word

Top Leaders

Top 50 Most Earned Points (All time)

1
+6196pt earned points
2
+5185pt earned points
3
+5024pt earned points
4
+4567pt earned points
5
+3295pt earned points
6
+2960pt earned points
7
+1514pt earned points
8
+1495pt earned points
9
+720pt earned points
10
+702pt earned points
11
+515pt earned points
12
+495pt earned points
13
+480pt earned points
14
+466pt earned points
15
+402pt earned points
16
+395pt earned points
17
+377pt earned points
18
+333pt earned points
19
+285pt earned points
20
+280pt earned points
21
+275pt earned points
22
+264pt earned points
23
+245pt earned points
24
+233pt earned points
25
+230pt earned points
26
+215pt earned points
27
+210pt earned points
28
+200pt earned points
29
+188pt earned points
30
+185pt earned points
31
+171pt earned points
32
+170pt earned points
33
+170pt earned points
34
+155pt earned points
35
+152pt earned points
36
+145pt earned points
37
+145pt earned points
38
+135pt earned points
39
+130pt earned points
40
+125pt earned points
41
+125pt earned points
42
+120pt earned points
43
+120pt earned points
44
+120pt earned points
45
+112pt earned points
46
+112pt earned points
47
+110pt earned points
48
+110pt earned points
49
+110pt earned points
50
+110pt earned points

Upcoming Events