May Chidiac laureate of UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Day Prize 2006 received by the Director-General
May Chidiac, the Lebanese journalist who is this year's recipient of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Day Prize, was received by UNESCO's Director General on April 11.
At this meeting, which was also attended by Ms. Samira Hanna-El-Daher, Ambassador of the Lebanese Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, May Chidiac thanked the Director General and the members of the independent jury for recognizing her, and through her, all Lebanese journalists who have been the victims of attacks.
Ms. Chidiac stressed the importance of UNESCO's support for freedom of expression and press freedom for all media professionals. She stated that she is determined to continue as a journalist in spite of the irreversible damage wrought by the car bomb that targeted her in September 2005.
The Director General expressed his congratulations that the 2006 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize recognizes a journalist of "great courage," who retains a "firm determination," in spite of the physical challenges that she must overcome. The Director General was delighted to learn that Ms. Chidiac will come to receive her prize in person on 3 May in Sri Lanka on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.
Mr. Matsuura used the occasion to recall the necessity of all UNESCO member states to defend freedom of expression, as well as to take initiatives that ensure greater safety for journalists in the exercise of their profession, as the number of media professionals wounded, taken hostage, or killed in the performance of their professional duties only continues to increase.
The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Day Prize is awarded each year on World Press Freedom Day (May 3), which in 2006 will be celebrated in Colombo (Sri Lanka). The Prize - an award of 25 000 dollars - is financed this year by the Cano Foundation, James and David Ottaway, former President of World Press Freedom Committee and former Washington Post reporter, respectively, and UNESCO.
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