Mahmoud Abu Zeid Shawkan
Mahmoud Abu Zeid Shawkan

Egyptian photojournalist, Mahmoud Abu Zeid, has won this year’s UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize.

He was picked for the award by an independent international jury of media professionals.

Zeid has been in jail since August 14, 2013, when he was arrested while covering a demonstration at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in Cairo.

The award was presented at the World Press Freedom Day celebration, held in Ghana’s capital city of Accra, under the theme “Keeping power in check: media, justice and the rule of law.”

The United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions has qualified his arrest and detention as arbitrary and contrary to the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Maria Ressa, President of the Jury said “the choice of Mahmoud Abu Zeid pays tribute to his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.”

The award recognises a person, organisation or institution that had made an outstanding contribution to the defence or promotion of press freedom especially in the face of danger.

It is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist, assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 17, 1986.

Laureates of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize receive US$25,000 and this is funded by the Guillermo Cano Isaza Foundation (Colombia), the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland), and the Namibia Media Trust.

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