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Tuesday 10 June 2014

Eskinder Nega awarded 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom

The 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has been awarded to Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega, who is serving an 18-year jail sentence.

The award was presented Monday in Turin, Italy, during the opening ceremonies of the 66th World Newspaper Congress, 21st World Editors Forum and 24th World Advertising Forum, before 1,000 publishers, chief editors, CEOs, managing directors and their guests.

Eskinder Nega is an Ethiopian publisher, journalist and blogger who is serving an 18-year jail sentence under anti-terror legislation. Mr Nega was arrested on September 14, 2011 after publishing an article criticising his government’s use of the 2009 Anti-Terror Proclamation to jail and silence critics, including Ethiopian actor and activist Debebe Eshetu.  He was sentenced on 23 January 2012 and denounced as belonging to a terrorist organisation.

“This award recognises the courage of Eskinder Nega to speak out despite the risks that saw him jailed under his country’s draconian and overly broad anti-terror laws,” said WAN-IFRA President Tomas BrunegĂ„rd, speaking on behalf of the Board.

“We call on the Ethiopian government to release Eskinder Nega and all journalists convicted under the sedition provisions, including Solomon Kebede, Wubset Taye, Reyot Alemu,and Yusuf Getachew”, said Mr BrunegĂ„rd, who recently visited Ethiopia as part of an international mission that found that the country’s publishers and journalists practice journalism in a climate of fear.

The Golden Pen of Freedom is an annual award made by WAN-IFRA since 1961 to recognise the outstanding action, in writing or deed, of an individual, a group or an institution in the cause of press freedom.

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