» UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is renewed for a period of six years
20.10.2016 - Communication & Information Sector

UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is renewed for a period of six years

Guillermo Cano Isaza. © Marisol Cano Busquets

The renown UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize has been renewed for a six-year term, which was decided by the Executive Board at its 200th session this week. The UNESCO Member States also agreed to include digital media in the candidatures.

This is the leading prize in the UN system that recognizes heroism in journalism.

Every year, the Prize honours a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defense and/or the promotion of press freedom, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. Each Laureate has shown dedication to freedom of expression and information, and in some cases, the Prize itself has also had a significant impact on these fundamental freedoms. Some of the awarded journalists were freed from prison, shortly after receiving the Prize.

To give more weight to the Prize, the previously fixed award of 25,000 USD will now be the minimum, based on the contributions received. Furthermore, the Executive Board agreed that the candidates can represent all media, and therefore digital media is included as of next year too.

Another modification was made with regards the number of Jury Members, which have been reduced from 12 to 6, each one representing one region. In case of an equal vote, the President has a deciding vote about the winning candidate.  

The Prize has been established in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in 1986.

The 30th anniversary of his assassination will be commemorated with an event on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity in Colombia, on 2 November 2016. While working as the editor of the daily El Espectador, Mr Cano Isaza was murdered at the entrance of the newspaper’s building.

The building itself was destroyed in a bomb attack three years later.

It is in the pursuit of ending such attacks, and other threats against freedom of expression, that the Prize will continue to award media or individuals who have shown particular commitment to freedom of expression and information, especially in difficult circumstances.  

Submissions for the 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize are now open. The deadline is 15 February 2017. Candidates should be submitted by filling out the form in English or French. Regional and international and regional non-governmental organizations working for press freedom and UNESCO Member States can submit candidates.

The rules of the Prize are available here. Every year, the Prize is marked by a ceremony on World Press Freedom Day, which will be held in Jakarta in Indonesia next year.

For more information, please visit the web page or contact Flavie Romer.

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