The Belarusian Association of Journalists receives the 2022 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

Press release | UNESCO

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has been named the winner of the 2022 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, following the recommendation of the international jury of media professionals. The awards ceremony will take place on May 2 in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day Conference, and will be streamed online.

BAJ was established in 1995 as a non-governmental association of media workers with the aim of promoting freedom of expression and independent journalism in Belarus. It brings together more than 1,300 associate journalists and is a member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).

In August 2021, following the police raid on its offices in Belarus, the Supreme Court of Belarus ordered the organization to be dissolved, at the request of the country’s Justice Ministry.

“By awarding the award to the BAJ, we support all journalists around the world who criticize, oppose and denounce politicians and authoritarian regimes by conveying truthful information and promoting freedom of expression,” said Alfred Lela , president of the international jury of the prize, and founder and director of an Albanian media organization. “Today we salute and praise them; we find a way to say: we are with you and we appreciate your courage.”

“For 25 years, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize has drawn the world’s attention to the bravery of journalists around the world who sacrifice so much in the search for truth and accountability,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director General of the UNESCO. “Once again, their example inspires us and reminds us of the importance of ensuring the right of journalists around the world to report freely and safely.”

The $25,000 prize recognizes outstanding contributions to defending or promoting freedom of the press, especially in the face of danger. It bears the name of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist murdered outside the offices of his newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 17, 1986. It is financed by the Guillermo Cano Isaza Foundation (Colombia), the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland) , the Namibia Media Trust, Democracy & Media Foundation Stichting Democracy & Media (Netherlands) and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The 2022 World Press Freedom Day Global Conference will be held May 2-5 in a hybrid format in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Under the theme “Journalism Under Digital Siege”, the conference will discuss the impact of the digital age on freedom of expression, safety of journalists, access to information and privacy. Over 50 sessions featuring dozens of speakers, World Press Freedom Day 2022 will bring together relevant stakeholders such as policy makers, journalists, media representatives, activists, officials cybersecurity and legal experts to explore these issues and develop concrete solutions to deal with threats to the press. freedom and privacy in the digital age.

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