Press release

Henri Nannen Award for services to freedom of the press goes to Robert M;eacute;nard

Hamburg, 21 April 2009 – "Reporters without Borders" founder will be honored for his lifelong commitment to freedom of the press at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus on May 8, 2009

55-year-old Frenchman Robert Mé;nard will be awarded this year's Henri Nannen Prize in the ‘freedom of the press' category for his fearless fight for freedom of the press and opinion. The renowned journalistic prize will be awarded by Gruner + Jahr publishers and stern magazine at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg on May 8, 2009.

Robert Mé;nard studied philosophy before he became a print and radio journalist in the late 1970s. Together with three other journalists, he founded the organization "Reporters without Borders" (Reporters sans fronti;egrave;res) in 1985, and was its secretary general from 1990 to 2008. He has lobbied for democracy, freedom of press and protection of human rights his entire life.

With spectacular activities which always made a great impact, he informed the world's public of violations against the rights of freedom of expression and information. Over and over again, he has emphasized that there is no freedom without freedom of the press, and he successfully campaigned for the release of detained journalists. Mé;nard is something of a national celebrity in France and the European Parliament awarded him the Sakharov Prize for his commitment. The journalist was also made a Knight of the French Lé;gion d'honneur (Legion of Honor). He has been arrested several times, most recently in 2008 for the "Reporters without Borders" protest against China's human rights policy.

In September 2008, Robert Mé;nard stood down as secretary general of "Reporters without Borders" and became honorary president of the organization. Since then, he has become director of the "Doha Center for Media Freedom" in Qatar, which founded the Al Jazeera broadcasting station and which now also lobbies for persecuted and abused journalists. This is where Mé;nard wants to continue his fight for freedom of expression. He cannot imagine a life that is not committed to the values of democracy, freedom and human rights. It was these values that gave his life meaning, said the winner of this year's Henri Nannen Award.

Says Andreas Petzold, editor-in-chief stern magazine: "The work of Robert Mé;nard deserves our utmost admiration and support. His commitment to freedom of the press at considerable personal risk is exemplary. With his commitment, he has saved lives and rendered outstanding services to democracy. It is this achievement that we particularly honor in the form of the Henri Nannen Award for freedom of the press."

This year marks the fifth time that the Henri Nannen Award has been presented. In addition to outstanding commitment to freedom of the press and lifetime achievement, the prize honors the best work in the categories reportage, investigation, documentation, humor and photo reportage. For the award, journalists submitted 948 articles from 208 print and online publications. The prize is worth a total value of 30,000 Euros.

For further information on the Henri Nannen Award, please

Your contact for further enquiries:
Susanne Hacker
Kommunikation Henri Nannen Preis
Gruner + Jahr AG
Phone +49 (0)40-3703-2797