Belarusian Association of Journalists Wins World Press Freedom Prize

Democratic forces in Belarus have been protesting the brutal regime since August 2020. Photo: European Parliament
Democratic forces in Belarus have been protesting the brutal regime since August 2020. Photo: European Parliament

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) has been named as the laureate of the 2022 UNESCO / Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, following the recommendation of the International Jury of media professionals. 

The Award Ceremony will take place on 2 May in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference, and be streamed online.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) was formed in 1995 as a non-governmental association of media workers with the objective of promoting freedom of expression and independent journalism in Belarus.

It brings together over 1300 associated journalists, and is a member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).

In August 2021, following the raiding by police of its offices in Belarus, the Supreme Court of Belarus ordered the dissolution of the organization, at the request of the country’s Ministry of Justice.

The $25,000 Prize recognizes outstanding contributions to the defence or promotion of press freedom especially in the face of danger. It is named after Guillermo Cano Isaza, the Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá, Colombia, on 17 December 1986.

It is funded by the Guillermo Cano Isaza Foundation (Colombia), the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland), the Namibia Media Trust, Democracy & Media Foundation Stichting Democratie & Media (The Netherlands), and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The 2022 World Press Freedom Day Global Conference will take place from 2 to 5 May in a hybrid format in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Under the theme “Journalism under Digital Siege”, the Conference will discuss the impact of the digital era on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information and privacy.

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Rakesh Raman