Sudan journalist wins Peter Mackler Award

A Sudanese journalist imprisoned for defying the regime of President Omar Al Bashir and speaking out on human rights abuses has been named the recipient of the Peter Mackler Award.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 22 Aug 2013, 9:02 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:15 PM

Faisal Mohammed Salih, 53, won the 2013 Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism, Global Media Forum and the US branch of Reporters Without Borders announced on Thursday.

Salih is an experienced journalist and columnist for various Sudanese publications. He is also director of programmes at Teeba Press, a non-governmental organisation that trains journalists in Sudan.

He was formerly the editor in chief of Al Adwaa Daily and a columnist for several other publications.

Salih was imprisoned for several days in 2012 after an Al Jazeera interview where he was critical of the current regime. In 2011, he was one of several journalists investigated after speaking out against the alleged rape of youth activist Safia Ishag.

The award, the fifth annual prize named for the late Agence France-Presse reporter and editor, will be presented at a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington on October 24.

“As we get ready to celebrate our fifth anniversary, we could not be prouder to recognise such a journalist as Mr. Faisal Salih,” said Camille Mackler, project director for the Peter Mackler Award.

“Our goal for the last five years, as we have built this award programme, has always been to shine a light on the courage and commitment to human rights and dignity that Mr. Salih exhibits every day through his work.

“When a young woman was raped while interrogated by the National Security Service, he could have simply chosen to look the other way and not risk his own life.

“Instead, he reported about it until the same forces tried to silence him as well. This courage and attachment to journalistic ethics is what the Peter Mackler Award seeks to encourage and rewards every year.”

Sudan is currently ranked 170th out of 179 countries in the World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders because of its widespread use of intimidation and violence to censor journalists.

“By awarding Faisal Mohammed Salih, we pay tribute to the courage of those in Sudan who refuse to be silenced. In the face of harsh oppression, Salih remains a steadfast figure of freedom of information,” said Christophe Deloire, Reporters Without Borders director.

The award was begun in June 2008 to honour the memory of Mackler, who died of a heart attack that month at the age of 58.

Mackler worked at AFP for more than 30 years. He also founded Global Media Forum, which has helped to train journalists and non-profit organisations to use the media as a tool for social change.

The prize rewards journalists who fight courageously and ethically to report the news in countries where freedom of the Press is either not guaranteed or not recognised.

The 2012 winner was Lukpan Akhmedyarov of Kazakhstan. Previous recipients were Karla Rivas of Honduras in 2011, Ilya Barabanov of Russia in 2010, and J.S. Tissainayagam of Sri Lanka in 2009.

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