Three Imprisoned Iranian Women Journalists Win UNESCO Prize
The annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honours a person, organization or institution which has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom.
Niloofar Hamedi, Elaheh Mohammadi, and Narges Mohammadi have been named as the laureates of the 2023 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, following the recommendation of an International Jury of media professionals.
The Award Ceremony took place on 2 May in New York, in the presence of Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO. “Now more than ever, it is important to pay tribute to all women journalists who are prevented from doing their jobs and who face threats and attacks on their personal safety. Today we are honouring their commitment to truth and accountability,” said Audrey Azoulay.
Niloofar Hamedi writes for the leading reformist daily newspaper Shargh. She broke the news of the death of Masha Amini following her detention in police custody on 16 September 2022. She has been detained in solitary confinement in Iran’s Evin Prison since September 2022.
Elaheh Mohammadi writes for the reformist newspaper, Ham-Mihan, covering social issues and gender equality. She reported on Masha Amini’s funeral, and has also been detained in Evin Prison since September 2022. She had previously been barred from reporting for a year in 2020 due to her work.
Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi are joint winners of both the 2023 International Press Freedom Award by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), and Harvard’s 2023 Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. They were named as two of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2023.
Narges Mohammadi has worked for many years as a journalist for a range of newspapers and is also an author and Vice-Director of the Tehran-based civil society organization Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC).
She is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence in Evin Prison. She has continued to report in print from prison, and has also interviewed other women prisoners. These interviews were included in her book “White Torture”. In 2022, she won the Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) Courage Prize.
Created in 1997, the annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honours a person, organization or institution which has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. It is the only such prize awarded to journalists within the UN System.
It is named for 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.
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