Ahmet Şik laureate of UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2014
An international, independent jury of media professionals has named Turkish investigative journalist Ahmet Şik the winner of the 2014 UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Şik, 44, is an ardent defender of freedom of expression, and has devoted his career to denouncing corruption and human rights abuses. Between 1991 and 2011 he wrote for several Turkish newspapers, including Cumhurriyet, Evrensel, Yeni Yuzyl and, more recently, Radikal. He has also worked at Nokta magazine and Reuters News Agency as a photojournalist, and is a member of the Turkish Journalists’ Union.
The journalist had his first brush with the authorities in 2007, following a critical article in Nokta. On 3 March 2011, he was arrested and detained on charges of being linked to Ergenekon, an alleged terrorist organization. He risks 15 years imprisonment if convicted. The arrest was made just prior to the publication of his book entitled “The Imam’s Army”, which was seized and banned. The premises of the book’s publisher and Radikal, for whom Şik was working, were searched.
Released from detention in March 2012 while awaiting trial, Ahmet Şik resumed his professional activities as an investigative journalist. During the summer of 2013, he was injured while covering demonstrations in Istanbul’s Gezi Park.
The $25,000 prize is awarded annually as part of the celebrations for World Press Freedom Day on 3 May. It is funded by the Guillermo Cano Isaza Foundation and the Helingin Sanomat Foundation.
This year, the award ceremony took place at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters on Friday, 2 May. The ceremony will be followed by an international conference on 5 and 6 May, with a focus on journalists’ security, the struggle against impunity and trends in press freedom.
The laureats of the World Press Freedom Prize since its creation in 1997