Hamburg, 21 April 2010 – Journalist Maziar Bahari to accept the award on 7 May 2010 in Hamburg on behalf of his Iranian colleagues.
The Henri Nannen Prize 2010 for special services rendered to press freedom has been awarded to Iranian journalists, who are subject to violent reprisals in their country for attempting to report truthfully about Iran. Since they are not allowed to leave their country and many of them are behind bars, the Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, who lives in London, will accept the award at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg on behalf of his colleagues. Bahari himself spent months in solitary confinement in Iranian prisons.
Illegal arrests and abductions of journalists by police and security forces, state monitoring of media, violent attacks and maltreatment and a growing number of journalists on the run characterize the current situation of the free press in Iran. Since the controversial re-election of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in summer of 2009, the regime's distrust toward members of the media in Iran and abroad has solidified. To prevent independent reporting, it not only threatens, jails and deports journalists, but also shuts down newspapers, censors websites and articles, blocks parts of the mobile communications network, and interferes with the broadcasts of TV channels. Since the summer 2009 elections, journalists and bloggers have repeatedly been arrested and in some cases not released again to date. In Iran, journalists imprisoned by the state cannot assert any rights whatsoever at the present time. The organization "Reporters without Borders" is very concerned about the situation in Iran.
stern magazine's Editor-in-Chief Thomas Osterkorn says: "It's hardly overstating matters to say that Iran is one of the world's biggest prisons for members of the media at this point. The colleagues who suffer under the regime and don't stop fighting for a free press have our sympathy and admiration. We are pleased that Maziar Bahari, who himself was incarcerated and tortured in Iran's Evin Prison, will be accepting the prize for his oppressed colleagues."
Born in Iran in 1967, Maziar Bahari worked as a correspondent for Newsweek in Iran. His documentaries about Iran and Iraq earned him a name as a documentary filmmaker as well. During the riots following the presidential elections of 2009, Bahari was arrested and forced to spend 118 days in solitary confinement in Evin Prison in Teheran. He was denied a lawyer, as well as any contact with his family. The journalist was released in October 2009 as the government yielded to international pressure. Bahari has since worked towards the release of his imprisoned colleagues and has repeatedly and publicly denounced the Iranian regime for the conditions of his own confinement and the violent reprisals he was subjected to.
This year marks the sixth anniversary of the Henri Nannen Prize. Apart from the award for services to press freedom and a prize for journalistic lifetime achievement, the best journalistic works published in German-language print media last year will also be honored. The "Henri 2010" drew 878 entries from journalists from 186 print and online publications (in the categories Reportage, Investigation, Documentary, Humor and Photojournalism). The awards administered by Gruner + Jahr and stern come with total prize money of 35,000 Euro.
For more information on the Henri Nannen Prize: www.henri-nannen-preis.de
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