The FINANCIAL — Geneva, 6 June (PEC) – The current Arab uprising since the beginning of the year has led to serious hopes that the dawn is opening for freedom of the press in the Arab region.
The world followed this miraculous wave in the Arab region through the dissemination of information by courageous activists. At least ten local and foreign journalists were killed in the line of duty.
The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) award committee has chosen 3 laureates for its 2011 award. The three awards will be handed on 8 June in Geneva: to the President of the Tunisian syndicate of journalists Neji Bghouri, to Ahmed Abdelaziz, representing the bloggers of the revolution of Egypt who made the 25th January revolution a success, to Khaled Said, representative of the Libyan opposition on behalf of the non-governmental-organization NGO Libyan Human Rights Solidarity (LHRS), based in Switzerland.
In honoring the laureates of the PEC award this year, the PEC pays tribute to the courage of millions of Arabs participating in the current uprising.
In so doing, the PEC also encourages the move towards strengthening the development of independent media institutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
The PEC will also honor with a certificate Ambassador Abdullah Falah Abdulla Al-Dosari, permanent representative of the State of Qatar to the UN in Geneva for his supportive role in in strengthening the PEC cause.
The PEC board and award committee has chosen Ahmed Yousuf Behbehani, CEO of the Kuwaiti magazine Al Yaqatha, as Honorary President of the PEC, for his continued support for the PEC prize for three years in a row.
PEC President Hedayat Abdelnabi expressed her belief that the current Arab uprising and the success of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions open the way forward for democracies to flourish and for freedom of expression to prevail.
Abdelnabi added that the media casualties in the Libyan conflict, five journalists so far, opens the eyes of UN member states to the fact that media are being confronted with risks and dangers which are unprecedented in a manner that may convince a cluster of states to join the PEC project of a convention to protect journalists in conflict zones and during civil unrest.
PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen noted that the current uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have shown that new technologies of the Internet age like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and mobile phones can circumvent measures taken by dictatorships to silence the truth.
“It has been proven that this connectivity has allowed information to flow through the Internet and is a very encouraging development” added Blaise Lempen.
He stressed that “Human Rights Solidarity-Libya has played a very important and crucial role in informing the world at the outset of the uprising in Benghazi. Through Skype, its officials connected with the opposition in Libya, and sent out videos and information to the world despite the news blackout and the absence of independent journalists”.
The PEC award is an annual award inaugurated in 2009 and goes to individuals and organizations that play an important role for the protection of journalists.
In June 2010 the PEC award went to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines and handed to the Center for media Freedom and Responsibility (CMER), in 2009 the PEC award went to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms- MADA – for its role in revealing media restrictions imposed on foreign and local journalists covering the Gaza war.
The PEC award 2011 is sponsored by the mission of the state of Qatar-Geneva, Ahmed Yousuf Behbehani, Hotel Intercontinental-Geneva, Union suisse des journalistes francophones, and the Geneva Press Club.
The laureates of this year’s award will address a news conference at the Geneva Press Club on 8 June at 14:00 hrs.
This event will be followed by the PEC award ceremony.