Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press 2012 goes to Jordanian and Egyptian journalists
A Jordanian and an Egyptian journalist have won the 2012 edition of the Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press, winning €10,000 each for their entries for the best opinion article and investigative report respectively. They were chosen from 160 applications submitted.
They received their awards on Saturday from the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, in the presence of Mrs. Gisèle Khoury-Kassir, widow of Samir Kassir and President of the foundation that bears his name.
Suleiman al-Khalidi, a Jordanian journalist, won the prize in the "Opinion Article" category for his article: "Shattered humanity inside Syria's security apparatus"published in English by Reuters on 26 May 2011. The article is a rare opinion piece, based on the visceral and brutal experience of the journalist. Al-Khalidi's experiences all culminate in his conclusion in a way that makes it both universal and deeply personal: "I am haunted by the human cost of the Arab uprisings for people seeking the sort of freedoms which others elsewhere in the world take for granted".
Pakinam Amer, an Egyptian journalist, won the prize in the "Investigative Report" category for her article: "The curious case of Reda Hilal" published in English in Al Masry Al Youm daily on 1 July 2011. The article provides a detailed and well structured investigation into the case of a disappeared Egyptian journalist. While dealing with an extremely sensitive issue, the article handles the subject matter boldly and with finesse. Moreover the article manages to elegantly capture the emotions and frustrations that must be faced by the friends and families of thousands in similar situations, in Egypt and elsewhere.
Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst said: "The Award was set up in 2006 by the European Union to restate our commitment to the memory of Samir Kassir, to his battle for freedom of expression, and, through his name, to all those who continue to fight for their freedoms. This 7th edition takes place while many journalists, particularly in this region, continue to pay a heavy toll for their work". Drawing attention to the special significance of the 2012 edition of the Samir Kassir Award, she remarked: "As the Arab uprisings continue to be at the centre of the news, sadly, many journalists and other media professionals continue to pay a high price for their coverage. In this region and since the uprisings, every 12 days a media professional has been killed".
The Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press is granted by the European Union, and rewards journalists who have distinguished themselves through the quality of their work and their commitment to democracy and the rule of law. Organised every year since 2006, the Samir Kassir Award honours the memory of the Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir who was assassinated on 2 June 2005 in Beirut. The competition is open to 18 countries in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf.
As in previous years, an independent jury of seven personalities from amongst the Arab and European press selected the winners. (EU Neighbourhood Info)