Last update: 21 April 2022

Regulations for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize:

Article 1 – Purpose

UNESCO established the World Press Freedom Prize in honor of Guillermo Cano, a Colombian journalist who died in the exercise of his profession. The purpose of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is to reward each year a person, organization or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if risks have been involved. The objective of the Prize is in conformity with UNESCO’s policies and is related to the program of the Organization in the field of communication and information and, more specifically, to the priority given to promoting an enabling environment for freedom of expression and freedom of information. 

Article 2 – Designation, amount and periodicity of the Prize

2.1 The Prize shall be entitled “UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize”.

2.2 The Prize shall be funded by voluntary contributions from States, international agencies and organizations, as well as other entities and shall consist of recurrent payments to be deposited in a special account opened for that purpose in accordance with the Financial Regulations of UNESCO. The value of the Prize shall be of a minimum of 25,000 USD and determined by the Director-General in consultation with the donors on the basis of the contributions received, the interest on the sum deposited in the special account in accordance with the Financial Regulations of UNESCO, and the charges to be borne by the account for the cost of administering the Prize.

2.3 The prize also consists of a certificate and an object symbolizing the award and granted to the prize winner.

2.4 All funds received and the interest accrued thereon shall be kept in a special interest-bearing account for the Prize.

2.5 The full staff support and operating/management costs of the Prize, including all costs relating to the award ceremony and public information activities shall be fully covered by the Cano Foundation and other donors. To this end, the Director-General shall determine a mandatory overhead cost amount to be applied and charged against the funds in the Special Account, which is to be established under the Financial Regulations for the Prize.

2.6 The Prize shall be awarded yearly. 

Article 3 – Conditions/qualifications of candidates

Candidates shall have made a significant contribution to press freedom anywhere in the world representing all types of media including digital media. Prizes may be conferred upon individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organizations.

Article 4 – Designation/selection of the prize winner(s)

The prize winner shall be selected by the Director-General of UNESCO on the basis of the assessments and recommendations made to him/her by a jury.

Article 5 – Jury

5.1 The Jury shall consist of one independent member, representing all types of media including digital media, from each of the six regions as defined by UNESCO, in other words six persons appointed in their individual capacity by the Director-General of UNESCO for a period of three years, renewable once.

5.2 Representatives and alternates of Members of the Executive Board may not be appointed as jurors. Jurors involved in a real or potential conflict of interest shall recuse themselves from further deliberations or be requested by the Director-General to do so. The Director-General may replace members of the Jury on legitimate grounds.

5.3 The Director-General shall appoint the President of the Jury. Members shall receive no remuneration for their work, but will receive allowances for travel and accommodation, where required. A quorum of four will be required for jury deliberations to proceed. The working languages for the Jury’s deliberations shall be English and French.

5.4 An ad hoc working group of three Jury members, one of whom is the President, shall make a pre-selection to reduce the number of candidates to no more than twelve, if necessary. The working group should give priority to the candidates most frequently nominated. Any dispute over the pre-selection shall be settled by a simple majority vote of the members of the Jury, and the Jury may amend the final list of candidates accordingly.

5.5 The Jury shall conduct its business and deliberations in conformity with these Statutes and shall be assisted by a member of the UNESCO Secretariat designated by the DirectorGeneral. Decisions shall be taken by consensus to the possible extent, and otherwise by secret ballot until a simple majority is obtained and with the President having a deciding-vote in the event of equal votes.

5.6 The Jury shall deliberate every year by electronic means.

5.7 The Jury shall recommend only one prize winner to the Director-General of UNESCO.

Article 6 – Nomination of candidates

6.1 When UNESCO has received the funding for the Prize, as indicated in Article 2 above, the Director-General of UNESCO shall officially invite the submission of nominations to the Secretariat of the Prize, by 15 February, from the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, as well as from international and regional professional and non-governmental organizations active in the fields of journalism and freedom of expression. The Jury shall vote, by electronic means, around 15 March and shall notify the Director-General of its choice.

6.2 Nominations shall be submitted to the Director-General by the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, and by international and regional professional and non-governmental organizations active in the field of journalism and freedom of expression. A self-nomination cannot be considered.

6.3 Each nomination shall be accompanied by a written recommendation, which shall include, in English or French, inter alia:

(a) a description of the candidate’s background and achievements;

(b) the candidate’s contributions of major importance to the promotion of freedom of the press, submitted to the Jury for consideration;

(c) a definition of the candidate’s contribution to the Prize’s objectives.

(d) a high-resolution photo portrait of the candidate.

Article 7 – Procedure for the awarding of the Prize

7.1 The Prize shall be awarded by the Director-General at an official ceremony held for that purpose on 3 May, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. UNESCO shall present to the prize winner a check for the amount of the Prize, together with a diploma and an object symbolizing the award. UNESCO shall officially announce the name(s) of the prize winner.

7.2 The prize winner, shall, if possible, give a lecture on a subject relevant to the work for which the Prize has been awarded. Such a lecture shall be organized during or in connection with the prize ceremony.

7.3 Work produced by a person since deceased shall not be considered for the Prize. If, however, a prize winner dies before he or she has received the Prize, then the Prize may be presented posthumously.

7.4 Should a prize winner decline the Prize; the Jury shall submit a new proposal to the DirectorGeneral.

Article 8 – Sunset clause – mandatory renewal of the Prize

8.1 After a period of six years, the Director-General of UNESCO together with the donors will undertake a review of all aspects of the Prize and decide about its continuation or termination. The Director-General will inform the Executive Board of UNESCO about the results of this review.

8.2 In case of termination of the Prize, the use of any unspent balance of funds shall be determined by the Director-General, in accordance with the Financial Regulations of the Prize.

Article 9 – Appeals

No appeals shall be allowed against the decision of UNESCO with regard to the award of the Prize. Proposals received for the award of the Prize may not be divulged.

Article 10 – Amendments to the Statutes of the Prize

Any amendment to the present Statutes shall be submitted to the Executive Board for approval.