IPI to hand 2014 awards to prominent Iranian journalist and an edgy Middle East news site

On Monday, 14 April at a special Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa, IPI will present its 66th World Press Freedom Hero Award to Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, the former editor, and in some cases founder, of four reformist dailies, Kayhan, Jame’eh (later Tous), Neshat, and Asr-e Azadegan, which were all successively shut down by Iran’s authorities.

Photo by EPA /A. Taherkenareh

Photo by EPA /A. Taherkenareh

Shamsolvaezin was jailed numerous times for his criticism of government policies, the longest detention period being the 17 months he spent in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in 2000-2001 in connection with an article criticizing capital punishment that was deemed insulting to Islamic principles.

Courageous Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin to be honoured for his bravery and professionalism; Al-Monitor to receive award for its ‘unrivalled reporting and analysis’; and a special tribute to Nelson Mandela

Courageous Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin to be honoured for his bravery and professionalism; Al-Monitor to receive award for its ‘unrivalled reporting and analysis’; and a special tribute to Nelson Mandela

IPI recently spoke to Mr. Shamsolvaezin about the award:

“Despite President Hassan Rouhani‘s pledges that the Iranian press will enjoy more freedom we are noticing that the press community is facing further difficulties. I am personally incapable of becoming the editor-in-chief of the paper I intended to publish two months ago; the Iranian judicial authorities have interfered and officially banned me from publishing my paper but I believe that this step by IPI will influence the attitude of the Iranian regime toward journalists.”

Mashallah Shamsolvaezin

He is the third Iranian journalist to receive the award, the others being Akbar Ganji and Faraj Sarkohi. See the list of all IPI Press Freedom heroes here.

IPI Free Media Pioneer Award 2014

At the awards ceremony, IPI will also present this year’s Free Media Pioneer Award winner - Al Monitor, an edgy news and commentary site launched in the aftermath of the Arab Spring that brands itself as “the pulse of the Middle East“.

IPI Executive Director, Alison Bethel McKenzie;-
Al Monitor‘s unrivalled reporting and analysis exemplify the invaluable role that innovative and vigorously independent media can play in times of change and upheaval. It’s editors and contributors produce a must-read daily overview of a complex region in a coherent, introspective and independent way. Its team includes some of the best minds and analysts from around the world who cut through the daily chaff and give readers an insightful summary of what is happening.

Special tribute to a special friend of press freedom

Beside presenting these two prestigious awards, during the Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) – IPI will pay a special tribute to Nelson Mandela who’s life and legacy remain an inspiration for defenders of press freedom around the world.

Nelson Mandela, IPI World Congress 1994, Cape Town;- A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy…

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