Media Award


In cooperation with the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig, ECPMF will develop the Foundation’s international “Prize for the Freedom and the Future of the Media” and establish it as a “European Prize for the Freedom and the Future of the Media”.

For 13 years the Leipzig Media Foundation has been awarding the existing prize to journalists, authors, organisations and media houses. The Leipzig Media Award is meant to honour journalists, publishers, authors and institutions from all over the world who dedicate themselves to ensuring and developing the freedom of the press by demonstrating willingness to take risks, strong personal commitment, persistence, courage and democratic conviction. The media award refers to the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. By attracting public attention, the award wishes to encourage them, and to encourage everyone else to help and protect them. 

The list of laureates from the past 13 years is evidence of the desire to broadly defend and promote freedom of expression and the press on a European and international level. Among others The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald, Fabrizio Gatti, Oleg Kashin, Alan Johnston, Gideon Levy, La Voz de Galizia, Anna Politkovskaya (our picture shows her at the award ceremony) and Seymour Hersh have all been awarded this prize.

The “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” is endowed with 30.000 Euros. Proposals of candidates can be made directly to the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig. A brief informal reasoning and a vita of the suggested candidate should be sent to:  


Laureates of the Leipzig Media Award



Jafar Panahi was born on 11 July, 1960 in Mianeh, Iran. After studying directing at the Iran Broadcasting University in Tehran, where he was able to familiarize himself with world cinema, he began his professional career completing TV projects and working as an assistant director. In 1995, his first film, The White Balloon, was awarded the Golden Camera at the Cannes International Film Festival. In 1997, he received the Golden Leopard at Locarno Film Festival for The Mirror. His film The Circle (2000), which was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, was banned in his home country. The same is true of most of his subsequent work, including Offside (2006, Silver Bear at Berlinale Film Festival), This Is Not a Film (2011), Closed Curtain (2013, Silver Bear at Berlinale), and Taxi Tehran (2014, Golden Bear at 2015 Berlinale). In addition, Panahi received several other awards such as The Golden Coach 2011 of Cannes Film Festival and the Sacharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2012 of the European Parliament. After Iran’s presidential elections in 2009, Panahi openly supported the opposing Iranian Green Movement. On 1 March, 2010 he was arrested together with his wife and daughter by Iranian police, and was initially jailed for three months without charge. In December 2010, he was sentenced to six years of prison for “propaganda against the system” and a 20-year ban was placed on his work. Despite all this, he frequently manages to publish new films. His latest work, Taxi Tehran, was awarded the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival.



Jafar Panahi Source: private


Nedim Şener was born in 1966 in Germany. In 1990, he completed his studies in economics at Istanbul University. Since 1991 he has worked for various Turkish newspapers: He began at Ilk Haber, worked from 1992 to 1994 for Dünya, moved to Milliyet from 1994 to 2011, and has been with Posta since 2011. He has published several books dealing with topics that include corruption, fraud, organized crime, tax evasion, the funding of terrorist organizations, and intelligence agencies. In 2009, he published his research on the assassination of Hrant Dink, an editor of the Armenian-Turkish language weekly who had been shot dead in broad daylight in 2007. Şener accused the Turkish authorities, and especially the intelligence agency, of not having prevented the killing, and it was suspected that the police had provided the alleged murderer with an incentive to commit the crime. As a result of his actions, the journalist was charged with the illegal dissemination of confidential information, but was acquitted in court. In 2011, Şener and ten other people were arrested and accused of working in the media branch of Ergenekon, an underground organization which was said to have planned a coup against the Erdogan government. He remained in prison until March 2012, for a total of 375 days. He is still regarded as a terrorist in Turkey.


Nedim Sener

Nedim Şener Source: Muzaffer Kantarci



Laureates of the Leipzig Media Award



Aram RadomskiSiegbert Schefke,Roland Jahn and Christoph Wonneberger are essential actors of the “Peaceful Revolution” of 1989 in former East Germany as well as of the oppositional movement in advance of the events. Christoph Wonneberger, who has been a protestant pastor in Dresden (1977 to 1984) and Leipzig (since 1985), coordinated the Monday’s peace prayers in Leipzig’s St. Nicholas Church since 1986 and participated in the work of oppositional movements from within the church. In 1989, he maintained a “Demo-Telefon” (“protest phone”), where western journalist could inform themselves about the events in Leipzig.

On the evening of 9 October 1989, Wonneberger gave an interview to ARD “tagesthemen” (West German news broadcast) and reported about the peaceful demonstration in Leipzig with 70.000 protestors.


Christoph Wonneberger

Christoph Wonneberger Source: private


Roland Jahn was expelled from the university because of his criticism of the expatriation of the famous East German songwriter Wolf Biermann in 1977. He was a co-founder of the “Friedenskreis Jena” (“peace circle Jena”) and was politically persecuted because of his commitment for freedom of expression. In 1982, he was remanded in custody, sentenced and prematurely released because of protests in West Germany. In June 1983, he was then thrown out of East Germany against his own will. Based from West Berlin, he supported the East German opposition financially and logistically e.g. by procuring printing machines or video cameras. As a journalist, he produced numerous contributions for ARD broadcasting (First German Television) about the East German opposition, violation of human rights and environmental pollution and thus essentially contributed to the formation of an opposing public. Since March 2011, Roland Jahn is Bundesbeauftragter of the Stasi-Unterlagen-Behörde (Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records).


Roland Jahn

Roland Jahn Source:BStU/ Ronny Rozum


Siegbert Schefke was one of the founders of the Berlin based “Umweltbibliothek” (“environment library”) where he met Aram Radomski. Together they worked as freelancers for different West German media and particularly documented the decline of historic city centres, the destruction of the environment in East Germany and the burgeoning oppositional movement. From the tower of Leipzig’s Reformed Church near the city centre, they recorded the Monday Demonstration of 9 October with a camera provided by Roland Jahn. West German media published their significant material on 10 October where it was spread into the world and especially reflected back into the GDR. Until today, Schefke works as a TV-editor at Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (Central German Broadcasting). Radomski is CEO of Berlintapete GmbH (Berlin Wallpaper Ltd.).



Siegbert Schefke Source: private & Aram Radomski Picture: Berlintapete


Laureates of the Leipzig Media Award



The British daily newspaper The Guardian and reporter Glenn Greenwald informed the international public about the dimension of global surveillance of digital communication networks in an excellent and journalistically independent manner.

Brigitte Alfter and Ides Debruyne are the initiators of the Founded in 2008, this organization promotes European collaborative research and data journalism.


Jörg Armbruster and Martin Durm risked their lives by reporting authentically for the ARD from Syria, torn by civil war.

Tongam Rina was gunned down and seriously injured after reporting on corruption, questionableconstruction projects, environmental scandals and the oppression of women in her home country of India. 


Ana Lilia Pérez is one of the most renowned investigative reporters in Mexico. Her work is accompanied by persecution, arrest warrants and even death threats.

Balázs Nagy Navarro and Aranka Szávuly have been constantly under attack by state-controlled media since they protested news manipulation on public television in Hungary.

Bettina Rühl has been working as an Africa correspondent since 1988 and has often been exposed to great risks during her work. While investigating, she often needs bodyguards to protect her.



Fahem Boukaddous is considered a symbol of the Jasmine Revolution that unfolded in Tunisia in spring 2011. For many years he has been dedicated to freedom of speech and the press in his home country.


Stefan Buchen
reports without cliché and with utmost journalistic attention for the ARD from crisis regions in the Near and Middle East and Northern Africa.

Oleg Kashin is one of Russia’s best-known investigative journalists. He not only tackles democracy deficits, but also deals with social and environmental issues.



Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi denounces the abuse of power by members of the elite and warlords in his home country of Afghanistan.

Kurt Westergaard published a controversial Muhammad cartoon in 2005, insisting on his right to free speech despite two attempts on his life.

Assen Yordanov reports on corruption and organized crime in his home country of Bulgaria and has been threatened and physically attacked for doing so.



Roberto Saviano became world-famous with his book Gomorrha about organized crime in Italy. His life has been in danger ever since.

Dušan Miljuš has defied assault and physical violence for twenty years to continue reporting on the dirty tactics of Balkan mafias and their political entanglements.

Ahmet Altan was chief editor of Taraf (viewpoint), a Turkish investigative and liberal daily. Now, he is once again working as a successful author.



Alan Johnston was kidnapped and held hostage for 114 days by the radical Palestinian Army of Islam while working as a BBC correspondent in 2007.

Susanne Fischer has been training journalists since 2005 on behalf of the British Institute for War and Peace Reporting in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Lebanon.

Win Tin, Burmese journalist and politician, stood up for freedom of speech and spent 19 years in prison for "subversion" and "anti-government propaganda".



Akbar Ganji is one of the best-known Iranian political dissidents. He spent six years in prison in Tehran, was brutally tortured and went on a hunger strike in protest.

Dr. Wolfram Weimer filed a lawsuit at the Federal Constitutional Court as chief editor of the magazine Cicero in order to obtain a judgment against the weakening of the freedom of the press.

Vasil Ivanov is one of the few investigative journalists in Bulgaria. In 2007, a bomb devastated his apartment in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.



Fabrizio Gatti is an undercover journalist who is known throughout Europe, and who revealed disastrous humanitarian conditions in the asylum camp on the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2005.

Alina Anghel had to suffer physical violence as a consequence of her relentless quest to reveal corruption and mismanagement by members of the Moldavian elite.

Professor Volker Lilienthal revealed surreptitious advertising in the public TV station ARD by intensive investigations over years and against fierce judicial resistance.



Seymour M. Hersh has been one of the most renowned U.S. investigators ever since he revealed the massacre of My Lay during the Vietnam War in 1969.

Britta Petersen, chairwoman of the organization Initiative for a Free Press that she herself founded, supports the training of journalists in Afghanistan.

Anna Politkovskaya (†) reported on the Chechen conflict for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gaseta, despite great resistance and the mortal danger it exposed her to. Anna Politkowskaja was shot dead on 7 October, 2006 in Moscow.

Hans-Martin Tillack was the Brussels correspondent for the magazine Stern and revealed several corruption scandals and democratic deficits within institutions of the European Union.


James Nachtwey has been travelling to crisis zones throughout the world for more than 30 years and is arguably one of the most famous war photographers of our age.

Journalisten helfen Journalisten e. V. provides assistance to colleagues who have experienced difficulties, have been obstructed in their work or even abused.

La Voz de Galicia, largest newspaper in Galicia, provided outstanding reporting on the Prestige oil tanker accident and the following oil spill in November of 2002.


Gideon Levy and Daoud Kuttab reported from the occupied areas of Palestine, focusing their critical view on “their own people”.

Volodymyr Mostovyi, editor-in- chief of the Ukrainian daily Zerkalo Nedeli, supports the development of politically independent journalism in his country.

Netzwerk Recherche e. V. is committed to improving research methods in Germany and supports high quality investigative journalism.



Grigory Pasko reported on the Russian navy’s ocean disposal of chemical waste in the Sea of Japan and was convicted of high treason and espionage.

Jolana Voldánová was the face and voice of an editors’ strike at Czech public TV against the attempts of politicians to massively curb independent reporting.

Simone Wendler revealed corruption scandals in municipal real estate companies in Cottbus and brought them to the public’s attention.


David Protess investigated dubious death sentences in the U.S. together with his students and succeeded in securing several appeals.

Thomas Mayer initiated the Leipzig-based fundraiser Kosovo Relief in 1999 and personally took part in the relief-aid transports.

Renate Flottau reported on the war in the Balkans as a Spiegel magazine editor for many years, gaining particular renown for her "War Diary".

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