TURIN (Italy): Jailed Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega has been awarded the 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).
The award was presented here on Monday 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, says a press release.
A free-thinker and relentless advocate for freedom of expression, Mr Nega has become an emblem of Ethiopia’s struggle for democracy. Over the past decade his commitment to human rights has placed him in jail on at least seven occasions.
Eskinder Nega is being held in Kaliti Prison outside of Addis Ababa, serving an 18-year sentence as a convicted “terrorist” for having challenged the very same laws used to imprison him, and for questioning whether the Arab Spring protests could be repeated in Ethiopia.
Accepting the award at the request of Mr Nega’s family, who were unable to travel from their home in the United States, Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye – himself a former prisoner of the Ethiopian regime, jailed alongside Eskinder Nega for 11 months between 2011 and 2012 – said: “We must remember that Eskinder Nega at many points faced a choice.
Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2014