| Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom prize | MR Online

UNESCO awards World Press Freedom prize to Palestinian journalists

Originally published: Al Mayadeen on May 3, 2024 by Agencies (more by Al Mayadeen)  | (Posted May 04, 2024)

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) rewarded on Thursday the 2024 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to the Palestinian journalists covering the Israeli occupation’s atrocities in Gaza.

“In these times of darkness and hopelessness, we wish to share a strong message of solidarity and recognition to those Palestinian journalists who are covering this crisis in such dramatic circumstances,” said Mauricio Weibel, chairman of the International Jury of Media Professionals.

“As humanity, we have a huge debt to their courage and commitment to freedom of expression,” he added.

The reward serves to highlight the struggle of journalists covering perilous situations and pay tribute to their courage in light of the danger their face for the sake of fulfilling their duty.

“Each year, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize pays tribute to the courage of journalists facing difficult and dangerous circumstances,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said.

“Once again this year, the Prize reminds us of the importance of collective action to ensure that journalists around the world can continue to carry out their essential work to inform and investigate,” she underlined.

The number of journalists killed at the hands of Israeli occupation forces since the beginning of the genocidal war on the Gaza Strip currently stands at 141.

In addition, hundreds more were injured, their families were targeted, and their homes, offices, and media headquarters were destroyed.

The Gaza Government Media Office accused the Israeli occupation of deliberately targeting journalists with the aim of obscuring the Palestinian narrative, distorting facts, and preventing journalists from documenting the crimes of the Israeli occupation forces to the public.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the killing of journalists in Gaza, calling for the necessity of protecting them from the violence of the Israeli occupation forces and enabling them to perform their work.

During a seminar in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, the head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Nasser Abu Baker, confirmed that the Israeli occupation has killed 10% of Gaza’s journalists in an attempt to prevent them from conveying the truth of what is happening in the Strip to the world.

The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize

In a tradition spanning back to 1997, the esteemed UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was aimed at recognizing remarkable efforts in defending and promoting press freedom worldwide.

Named in honor of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist whose life was tragically cut short in 1986 when he was assassinated outside the headquarters of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogotá, Colombia, the prize serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of courageous and fearless journalism.

Established through the collaborative efforts of the Guillermo Cano Isaza Foundation (Colombia), the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland), the Namibia Media Trust, Democracy & Media Foundation Stichting Democratie & Media (The Netherlands), and the Thomson Reuters Foundation, this award represents a global commitment to championing the vital role of a free press in society.

As the sole prize of its kind bestowed upon journalists within the UN System, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize stands as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for press freedom and the courageous individuals who continue to uphold this fundamental human right, often at great personal risk.

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