October 23, 2013, London – Syria took central stage at this year's Award Ceremony for the Anna Lindh Journalist Award, with 2 of the 5 Prizes bestowed in recognition of distinguished reporting on and from Syria. The International Jury, chaired by renowned TV journalist Tim Sebastian, also underlined the crucial impact of reporting on Syria in relation to the wider regional media agenda, and praised the courage of those journalists who continue to risk their lives to expose the reality of the situation on the ground in Syria.
Speaking on behalf of the Jury, Sebastian said: "Journalists working across the Middle East today have an enormous responsibility to report on the complexity of the unfolding events in the region. With Syria, we recognise today young journalists who have risked there lives to take us to the voices of people on the ground and expose the day-to-day reality they are facing."
The 7th edition of the Anna Lindh Mediterranean Journalist Award took place for the very first time in the premises of the Thomson Reuters Foundation in London.
The Prize for the Press Category was awarded to the Lebanese journalist Rania Abouzeid for her piece in the New Yorker on the situation in Syria “A black Flag and a Cup of Coffee in Raqqa”, which also won the jury’s recognition as an outstanding piece of work. Moreover, the special award for this year went to the Syrian Basma Atassi for her piece “Drawing hope in Syria” in Al Jazeera English.
Andre Azoulay, President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, stated: “Syria is a crucial issue for the Euro-Mediterranean region. There will not be the possibility to build a common future in the Mediterranean without a free and democratic Syria.” Adding that: “The Foundation is committed with the Syrian Civil Society and will work for supporting the citizens on the ground in their challenge to build an open and pluralistic reality in the next years. As an international actor, we will not wait and we cannot wait.”
Hayam Hassan, from Palestine, won the Radio Award for her piece in the BBC “Slavery in Mauritania” and Leila Ghandi from Morocco won the TV Award for her “Leila Ghandi in Palestine” piece on 2M TV. The New Media Award was given to Sout El Shabab/La voix des jeunes, France, with recognition also given to Mairav Zonszein from Israel.
The Mediterranean Journalist Award is a leading regional Award which aims at rewarding exceptional journalistic productions, contributing to a better understanding of the diversity of cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean region. It promotes the positive role played by journalists in providing balanced and informed coverage of cultural issues in the region.