This week, imprisoned journalist Khadija Ismayilova will be honoured with the annual UNESCO / Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize in recognition for her contributions to freedom of the press.
“Khadija Ismayilova highly deserves the Prize and I am happy to see that her courage and professionalism are recognized,” stated Ljiljana Zurovac, President of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2016 Jury, in a press release.
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 in 1986), the UNESCO award will be handed out as part of World Press Freedom Day events on May 3, 2016.
An annual event, World Press Freedom Day highlights the state of press freedom around the globe. This year, three significant aspects of press freedom are designated as priorities:
- access to freedom of information as a fundamental human right
- protection of press freedom from censorship and surveillance overreach
- ensuring safety for journalists (both online and offline).
As well, World Press Freedom Day 2016 coincides with the 250th anniversary of the world’s first freedom of information law (Sweden) and the 25th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration of press freedom principles.
Still imprisoned in Azerbijan, Khadija Ismayilova will not be able to receive her UNESCO award in person on May 3. With increasing numbers of journalists facing harassment, imprisonment and violence in unstable regions, events like World Press Freedom Day are critically important to raise awareness about freedom of the press and the safety of journalists overseas.
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