At a ceremony in London on Thursday nightnight, Index presented its 11th awards. “The Guardian Journalism of the Year” award went to Egyptian campaigner and journalist Ibrahim Eissa. Ibrahim Eissa is no stranger to oppression. During his career in Egypt he has been repeatedly harassed, fired and jailed. In 2008 he spent a few months in jail because he had questioned the health of President Mubarak. In a dictatorship, even the health of the president is a state secret. But Eissa is a disciple of the truth – he founded his own magazine at the age of 15 and called it Al Haqiqa (The Truth). Last October, in the run up to elections, the 82 year old Mubarak was taking no chances; Eissa, an almost lone voice of independence and resistance, was sacked from his job as editor in chief of the newspaper al-Dostour. Now, just a few months later, it is Mubarak who is unemployed and Eissa is the prize winner. In his acceptance speech the modest Eissa said: “I consider this to be a prize for Tahir Square”.
Other prize winners were Chinese Human Rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (disappeared by the Chinese state nearly a year ago – the award was accepted on his behalf by his wife), the Tunisian online news service Nawaat.org, Indian artist MF Husain and the Belarus prisoners of conscience. One would expect that today would be a day in which the free world’s media would celebrate these prize winners. But have you noticed any coverage of these awards in your newspaper?
Article first published as Freedom of Expression Award Winners on Technorati.