Free Media Pioneer Award

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"The annual Free Media Pioneer Award was established by International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, in 1996 to honour individuals or organisations that have fought against great odds to ensure freer and more independent media in their country or region. The Award is co-sponsored by the U.S.-based Freedom Forum, a non-partisan, international foundation dedicated to free press and free speech."

Previous Winners



"The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, has announced its decision to honour the Mizzima News Agency with its 2007 Free Media Pioneer Award. Managing Editor Sein Win will receive the prize on behalf of Mizzima News at an award ceremony on 15 May, during the IPI World Congress in Istanbul, Turkey (12-15 May 2007).

"Mizzima News was founded in August 1998 by a small group of Burmese journalists in exile with the declared aim of "promoting awareness about the ongoing situation in Burma and promoting democracy and freedom of expression in Burma by improving the flow of information in and out of the country and through advocacy and lobbying." Today, it has a head office in New Delhi, India, as well as a news bureau in Thailand, and a team of some 30 employees, including Burmese and foreign journalists, in Bangladesh, Burma, China, India and Thailand...

"Against this backdrop, Mizzima News has continued to provide accurate and timely news and information on Burma for both Burmese and English readers and viewers, including a daily e-mail service; websites ( and; a monthly journal, which is often the only source of print news for exiled Burmese, particularly those living on Thailand’s western border with Burma; videos and podcasts; and alerts on press freedom violations."


"The International Press Institute (IPI) has announced its decision to honour the independent newspaper, Yemen Times, with its 2006 Free Media Pioneer Award. Mr. Raidan Al-Saqqaf, Member of the newspaper’s Board of Directors, will receive the prize on behalf of the Yemen Times at an award ceremony on 30 May, during the forthcoming IPI World Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland (27-30 May).

"Founded in 1990 by Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, a prominent economist and human rights activist, who was also its editor and publisher until his untimely death at age 46 in a traffic accident in 1999, the Yemen Times started publishing on 28 February 1991. Yemen’s first and most widely-read English-language newspaper, its declared aim is "to make Yemen a good world citizen.""


"At the IPI World Congress and Annual General Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, 21-24 May 2005, the founder of SW Radio Africa Gerry Jackson received the 2005 Free Media Pioneer Award on behalf of the independent radio station from IPI Chairman Wilfred Kiboro, IPI Director Johann P. Fritz and Chris Wells from the Freedom Forum.

"In her acceptance speech, Jackson said, "There is no end to the repression of the people of Zimbabwe," and it should be remembered "regimes only win if you allow them." On the question of financing, Jackson called on the international community not to allow the radio station to die saying it was important that the Zimbabwean people have a voice.


"Central Asian and Southern Caucasian Freedom of Expression Network (CASCFEN), Baku

"Launched in August 2001, the Baku-based network was created by media organisations from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in order to share information and better coordinate their press freedom activities. Its declared aim is to "protect freedom of expression and of the press in the region" as outlined by Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


"The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, has decided to honour the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), one of the few independent media councils in Africa, with the 2003 Free Media Pioneer Award.

"The 2003 Free Media Pioneer Award was to have been presented at an award ceremony during the IPI World Congress in Nairobi, Kenya, originally scheduled for 1-4 June 2003. However, warnings about a "credible threat" of a terrorist attack on foreigners and commercial aircraft compelled IPI to cancel the event.

"Founded in June 1995 by media proprietors, editors and journalists, the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) was not allowed to operate until 22 May 1997, when it was finally registered by the government of Tanzania. Working within a system of antiquated media laws dating back to colonial rule, the MCT was borne out of the realisation that Tanzania’s media


"Launched on 9 June 1997 by 17 editors and journalists from leading independent media, Danas (Today) has managed to provide an accurate, impartial view of events occurring in the region while standing up to constant pressure from the Serbian authorities.

"The newspaper withstood threats, administrative harassment, stiff fines and censorship during Slobodan Milosevic's war on the independent media and was banned by the Serbian Ministry of Information in October 1998 for violating a decree on "Special Measures in Circumstances of NATO's Threats With Military Attacks Against Our Country", which banned any coverage deemed "unpatriotic" and forbade reporting that, in the government's view, fomented "defeatism, panic and fear" in the face of possible Western military intervention over Kosovo. It was able to resume publishing soon after the ban was imposed by registering and printing in Montenegro, where the decree did not apply.

"In July 2000, a Danas correspondent, Miroslav Filipovic, was sentenced to seven years in prison for espionage and spreading false information after writing a series of articles that documented atrocities committed by the Yugoslav Army in Kosovo. He was released within days of opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica's swearing in as the new president of Yugoslavia in October 2000.


"Launched in November 1999 by Steven Gan and Premesh Chandran, Malaysiakini (Malaysia Now) has gained tremendous popularity with its mix of unbiased news coverage, investigative journalism, in-depth analysis and commentary written in English and Malay. Its declared aim is "to test and push the boundaries of free speech and press freedom in Malaysia by providing credible and up-to-date news and analysis" and "to counter the culture of self-censorship in the mainstream media."


"IPYS, Peruvian Press and Society Institute In recognition of its commitment to freedom of expression and of the press in Peru and the Andean region in general, the International Press Institute presented the "Free Media Pioneer 2000" award to the Press and Society Institute (IPYS).

"Founded in Lima in 1993 by editors and journalists in response to the growing number of press freedom violations in their country, IPYS is the only institution in Peru that systematically monitors freedom of opinion and expression. It is based on the principles of freedom of the press in a democratic society and accepts the different ideologies of its members.


"The Ethiopian Free Press Journalists’ Association (EFJA) was awarded the International Press Institute’s annual Free Media Pioneer Award on May 19 in Taipei in recognition of their struggle to promote press freedom and improve the standards of journalism in Ethiopia.

"Since its inception in 1993, "EFJA became the target of state repression," Kifle Mulat, President of the EFJA, said in accepting the award. "Its members became victims of constant harassment, intimidation, detention, arbitrary arrests and fines. In the process several EFJA members have lost their lives."


"Radio B-92, the principal independent radio station in Serbia, hes been named by the Executive Board of the International Press Institute as the Free Media Pioneer of 1998. The station received the award on May 27, 1998 at IPI World Congress in Moscow.


"AJI, Alliance of Independent Journalists, Indonesia "The Alliance of Independent Journalists was formed in 1994 in the wake of the banning of the three most independent and critical titles in Indonesia: Tempo, DeTik, and Editor. Since its inception it has faced constant harassment and victimisation from the government. Article 19 of the Indonesian Press Law prohibits the publication of an unlicensed newspaper or magazine, and Article 154 of the Indonesian Criminal Code bears the expression of "feelings of hostility, hatred or contempt toward the government." These laws have been utilised to jail members of AJI following the publication of their magazine, Independen, which has been critical of the government.


"The independent Russian television channel, NTV, was the first recipient of a new award established by the IPI and the Freedom Forum to honour an individual or an institution which has fought against all the odds to ensure freer and more independent media in the country in question. At the award ceremony it was stated that: "this richly deserved award is in recognition of NTV's outstanding professionalism and commitment to a democratic media system... "