Golden Pen of Freedom

The Golden Pen of Freedom recognises the outstanding action, in writing or deed, of an individual, a group or an institution in the cause of press freedom. Behind the names of the laureates lie stories of extraordinary personal courage and self-sacrifice, stories of jail, beatings, bombings, censorship, exile and murder.

by Vincent Peyrègne | February 5, 2022

One of the objectives of the Golden Pen is to turn the spotlight of public attention on repressive governments and journalists who fight them.

Since 1961, the Golden Pen turns the spotlight of public attention on repressive governments and journalists who fight them. The Pen has, on several occasions, secured the release of a publisher or journalist from jail or afforded him or her a degree of protection against further persecution.

(Photo: Asier Alkorta/ WAN-IFRA)

Golden Pen of Freedom 1961-2021

2022 Gazeta Wyborcza and the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation, Poland
2021 Jimmy Lai and the Newsroom Staff of Apple Daily, Hong Kong
2020 Jineth Bedoya Lima, Colombia

Jineth Bedoya

In 2021, Jineth Bedoya Lima won a landmark decision from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that judged the Colombian state responsible for the crimes committed against her.

2019 Jamal Khashoggi (posthumous), Saudi Arabia
2018 Maria Ressa, Philippines
2017 Can Dündar, Turkey
2016 Dmitry Muratov, Russia
2015 Journalists killed in the line of duty, Worldwide
2014 Eskinder Nega, Ethiopia
2013 Than Htut Aung, Myanmar
2012 Anabel Hernández, México
2011 Dawit Isaak, Eritrea/Sweden

Dawit Isaak

Detained since 2001, never convicted, Swedish Eritrean Dawit Isaak is one of the longest serving journalists in prison.

2010 Ahmad Zeidabadi, Iran
2009 Najam Sethi, Pakistan
2008 Li Changqing, China
2007 Shi Tao, China
2006 Akbar Ganji, Iran
2005 Mahjoub Mohamed Salih, Sudan
2004 Ruslan Sharipov, Uzbekistan
2003 Belarusian Association of Journalists, Belarus
2002 Geoffrey Nyarota, Zimbabwe
2001 Win Tin, San San Nweh, Burma
2000 Nizar Nayouf, Syria
1999 Faraj Sarkohi, Iran
1998 Doan Viet Hoat, Vietnam

Đoàn Viết Hoạt

Sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1993, Đoàn Viết Hoạt was found guilty of “founding a reactionary organisation” and “conspiring to overthrow the government”. After significant international pressure, he was eventually released in 1998 and granted US citizenship, allowing him to leave Vietnam.

1997 Naša borbaFeral Tribune, Oslobođenje, Bosnia-Herzogovina
1996 Yndamiro Restano Díaz, Cuba
1995 Gao Yu, China
1994 Omar Belhouchet, Algeria
1993 Pius Njawe, Cameroon
1992 Dai Qing, China
1991 Gitobu Imanyara, Kenya
1990 Luis Gabriel Cano, Colombia
1989 Sergei Grigoryants, Soviet Union
1988 Naji al-Ali (posthumous), Palestinian territories

Naji al-Ali’s cartoons and remains an iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance.

Naji al-Ali was shot on 22 July 1987 while outside the London offices of al-Qabas, a Kuwaiti newspaper for which he drew political caricatures. He died five weeks later. Naji al-Ali drew over 40,000 cartoons, often reflecting Palestinian and Arab public opinion through sharply critical commentaries on Palestinian and Arab politics and political leaders. Handala became the signature of Naji al-Ali’s cartoons and remains an iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance.

1987 Juan Pablo Cárdenas, Chile
1986 Anthony Heard, South Africa
1985 Joaquin Roces, Philippines
1982 P. Joaquin Chamorro Barrios, Nicaragua
1981 José Javier Uranga, Spain
1980 Jacobo Timerman, Argentina
1979 Claude Bellanger (posthumous), France

Claude Bellanger

Claude Bellanger was the founder of FIEJ (today’s WAN-IFRA), and also co-founder and publisher of French newspaper Le Parisien Libéré. He was general secretary of FIEJ from 1948 to 1962, and its president until 1978. His lifetime commitment to a free press, born out of years spent in the Resistance Movement, and dedication to understanding and sharing differences, continues to inspire the work of the organisation to this day.

1978 Donald Woods, Percy Qoboza, South Africa
1977 Robert High Lilley, Northern Ireland
1976 Raul Régo, Portugal
1975 Sang-Man Kim, South Korea
1974 Julio de Mesquita Neto, Brazil
1973 Anton Betz, Germany
1972 Hubert Beuve-Méry, France
1970 Alberto Gainza Paz, Argentina
1969 The Czechoslovak press, Czechoslovakia
1968 Christos Lambrakis, Greece
1967 Mochtar Lubis, Indonesia
1966 Jules Dubois, USA
1965 Esmond Wickremesing, Sri Lanka
1964 Gabriel Makoto, Democratic Republic of the Congo
1963 Guardian Sein Win, Burma
1961 Ahmet Emin Yalman, Turkey

Contact Information

Andrew Heslop
Executive Director, Press Freedom, WAN-IFRA
Paris, France

Vincent Peyrègne

Vincent Peyrègne took up duties as Chief Executive Officer of WAN-IFRA in 2012. Prior to joining WAN-IFRA, he was Head of Development at Edipresse in Switzerland (now Tamedia) with responsibility for audience insights, editorial marketing research and product development, before joining the office of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

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