The PEC award 2015 honors the fallen journalists in Ukraine

The PEC AWARD 2015 sponsored by the City of Geneva honors this year the fallen journalists in Ukraine and the plight of freedom of the press there.

The annual award goes to Ms Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, and Ms Liudmyla Zlobina, director of the Information Press Center in Kiev and of the Crimean Center for Investigative Reporting, announced the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) yesterday.

The PEC board decided to award Ms Dunja Mijatović for her first class mediation role in the Ukrainian crisis and her exceptional personal commitment for the promotion of freedom of information in the whole region, explained PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen.

The PEC award 2015 honors the fallen journalists in UkraineThe PEC board selected also the non-governmental organization Information Press Center in Kiev, a member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN),  for the dedication and courage of its members which actively defended the freedom of the media in extremely difficult circumstances especially in Crimea.
Since the start of the crisis in Ukraine in January 2014, 13 journalists have been killed in this country, on both sides. Four of them were Russian journalists last year.


An Ukrainian pilot Nadya Savchenko is detained in Russia, charged with involvement in a mortar attack in which last year two Russian journalists were killed near Luhansk. The PEC calls today for a humanitarian gesture.


PEC calls for independent, thorough and quick enquiries on all murders of journalists in order to prosecute those responsible.


“The crisis in Ukraine is very serious and we need factual, balanced and impartial information to understand the situation. The City of Geneva is pleased to support the PEC Award 2015, which rewards the work of two courageous women committed to the defense of the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression in the region”, said the mayor of Geneva Esther Alder.


False information must be countered

“The media freedom situation in Ukraine is very complex. The main media freedom issue in this conflict is journalists’ safety; journalists are being threatened, intimidated and attacked just for doing their job" said Ms Dunja Mijatović receiving the PEC prize at the Swiss Press Club in Geneva.


“False and misleading information must be countered and fought with truthful and factual information, that must the basis encountering and addressing propaganda”, she added.


“I applaud the Press Emblem Campaign and the city of Geneva for organizing this important and timely event and for putting focus on journalists’ safety in these challenging times”, stressed Ms Mijatović.


Forced to leave their home

“Let me first thank the Press Emblem Campaign and the Сity of Geneva for the recognition of our work. It is extremely important to know that Switzerland supports Ukrainian journalists”, said Liudmyla Zlobina, Center’s Executive Director.


“Unfortunately, the need for such support objectively exists. Many Ukrainian journalists from the Crimea and Donbas were forced to leave their homes for other parts of the country to save their lives or freedom. In spite of all the threats, other journalists continue to work heroically in these regions, including journalists from our organization”, she added.


New horizons of cooperation


“Today is an important day that marks the good effort of the PEC to mobilize world opinion towards concrete legal steps to protect journalists in conflict zones and dangerous situations. What marks the importance of the day is that the Ville de  Genève is sponsoring the PEC award ceremony”, said PEC President Hedayat Abdel Nabi in a video message from Cairo.


“The award opening this year to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media marks the importance of new horizons of cooperation. Congratulations to the Kiev Center, congratulations to the Representative”, she added.


According to the PEC figures, the situation on the ground is not improving: 65 journalists have been killed around the world since January this year in 5 months. This is a sharp increase of 22% compared to the same period last year. 


The PEC Prize is given annually in Geneva by the PEC committee to reward a person or an organization who worked for the protection of journalists and the freedom of the press during the past year.


The Award was given in 2014 to the Swiss Foundation Hirondelle for its role in Central African Republic; in 2013 to Media Cartoonist from Honduras, Allan McDonald and Ileana Alamilla, Director of the Centre for Information on Guatemala, Cerigua, the Austrian and Swiss Ambassadors to the UN in Geneva; in 2012 to the representative of the Syrian Democrats Dr Tawfik Chamaa and in absentia the director of the Syrian Center for media and freedom of expression (SCM) Mazen Darwish; in 2011 to the President of the Tunisian syndicate of journalists Neji Bghouri, to Ahmed Abdelaziz, representing the bloggers of the revolution of Egypt and to Khaled Saleh, on behalf of the NGO Libyan Human Rights Solidarity (LHRS); in 2010 to the families of the 32 slain journalists in the 23 November 2009 Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines, and earmarked to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) fund; in 2009 to the Palestinian Center for development and media freedom (MADA) and the first President of the Human Rights Council and Ambassador of Mexico to the UN in Geneva.


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