The situation of independent journalists and media continues to deteriorate around the world. Targeted killings of journalists in Mexico and court cases in Turkey are commonplace. Even within the EU investigative journalism can be life-threatening as demonstrated by the recent murders of journalists in Malta and Slovakia. Therefore, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, as part of its global efforts in support of independent journalism, will again award the annual Raif Badawi Award for Courageous Journalists at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair.
The award seeks to draw attention to the difficult conditions under which media representatives work in many Islamic societies. In reaction to emergent democratic impulses in recent years, authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and North Africa are systematically and ruthlessly undermining independent journalism. Elsewhere, free journalism is curtailed so as to avoid religious offense. The case of liberal Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes, exemplifies these developments. Many others have shared his fate since then.
The award, which does not involve monetary value, recognises professional and courageous journalists or media organisations from predominantly Muslim countries. At the same time, the award serves to keep Raif Badawi in the public consciousness.
Nominations can be submitted until 1 June. An independent jury of high-ranking media representatives will choose the winner.