Today, on World Press Freedom Day, GIJN was honored with its first award, the Difference Day Honorary Title for Freedom of Expression. Awarded by two prominent Brussels universities, VUB and ULB, the Honorary Title is given annually “to a journalist, writer, artist, cultural thinker or any other person, association or institution that has made a vital contribution to protect and promote freedom of thinking and expression in an ever changing, democratic society.”
At a gala event this evening at Brussels’ prestigious BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, GIJN Board Vice-chair Margo Smit accepted the award on behalf of GIJN’s membership, board, and staff. “With this award you are sending a message to our global network that we are not alone, that the forces working toward press freedom, independent media, and accountability are still alive and fighting back,” Smit told the crowd. “And for that we are deeply grateful.”
Past Winners: In 2015 the Difference Day Honorary Title went to imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. Last year, Algerian writer Djamila Benhabib and Charlie Hebdo journalist Zineb El Rhazoui were awarded for “their important contribution to the safeguarding and promotion of the freedom of thought and speech in a democratic world in constant evolution.”
For the GIJN award, go to the last quarter of the video and start at 1:37:18.
(Photo Credit: Ides Debruyne)