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SKeyes Statements | Lebanon

The EU launches the 12th edition of the "Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press"
January 31, 2017
During a press conference held today, Tuesday, 31 January 2017 at Le Gray Hotel, Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation, launched the 12th edition of the "Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press" together with Ms Gisèle Khoury-Kassir, President of the Samir Kassir Foundation, and representatives from EU Member States.
The "Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press", which has been awarded by the European Union since 2006, honours the Lebanese journalist and writer Samir Kassir who was assassinated in 2005. The competition for the Award has attracted since its creation more than 1,800 candidates the Middle East, the Gulf and North Africa.
Ambassador Lassen said: "Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are top priorities for the European Union. This is why we have been funding for years various national and regional programmes to promote professional journalism and to help media outlets across the region improve their capacities and further develop the quality and ethical standards of their work. This work is even more important as freedom of the press is under increasing pressure in this region, not only from governments, but also from targeted disinformation campaigns and fake news that try to undermine open, transparent and truthful societal opinion forming processes.”
Mrs Khoury added: "This award comes in an era of walls that are being erected everywhere around the world and not only in our region, and in an era when racism and political affiliations are infiltrating some of the press. We want professional journalism." She added: "We feel that any initiative from civil society reflects us, and that this award contributes to spreading the idea of freedom of expression and human rights. Three journalists who won this award had been imprisoned in their own country but were able to continue on their journalism path thanks to this award."
The press conference was followed by a live social media chat session with bloggers, journalists and activists asking questions to Ambassador Lassen and Ms. Khoury. The discussion focused on topics such as EU support to journalists in Lebanon; the contribution of the Samir Kassir Award to freedom of expression; the danger of fake news and misinformation; and ethical rules of journalism.
The contest is open to candidates from North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf. The deadline for sending in contributions is 10 April 2017. Three awards will be granted for the best:
- Opinion Article
- Investigative Article
- Audiovisual News Report
The contributions must be centred on one or more of the following topics: rule of law, human rights, good governance, fight against corruption, freedom of expression, democratic development and citizen participation. The winner of each of the three categories will receive a prize of €10,000.
The jury will be composed of seven voting members from Arab and European media and one observer representing the European Union. The names of the jury members will be communicated during the prize-awarding ceremony which will take place on 2 June 2017 in Beirut, exactly twelve years after Samir Kassir’s assassination.
The contest regulations, application forms and details of the candidature file are available on the following website:

Information for candidates
Completed applications with all submission materials must be sent by 10 April 2017 at the latest:
- By email (in Word format for articles or WMV or MP4 format for videos) to the following address:; or
- By postal mail (in hard copy or CD-ROM or DVD) in an envelope addressed as follows: "Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press" followed by "Opinion Article Category," "Investigative Reporting Category," or "Audiovisual News Report Category" to the following address:
Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon
490 Harbor Drive Building, Charles Helou Avenue
Saifi - Beirut
P.O.Box 11-4008, Riad el Solh - Lebanon
Incomplete or unsigned files will not be accepted.
Submissions in the wrong category will be disqualified.

The contest is open to all journalists working in or for (daily, weekly, monthly print or online) press or audiovisual media (TV stations, production houses, and online TV networks), nationals of the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Candidates must submit an opinion article, an investigative article, or an audiovisual report centred around one or more of the following topics: rule of law, human rights, good governance, fight against corruption, freedom of expression, democratic development, and citizen participation.
Articles must have been published in a print or online media outlet in one of the countries listed above or in one of the European Union Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, and United Kingdom). Submitted articles must not exceed 25,000 characters and must have been published between 15 March 2016 and 15 March 2017.
Audiovisual News Reports must have been aired on a local or satellite television network or released on an online television network in one of the countries listed above or in one of the European Union Member States. Submitted reports must not exceed 7 minutes and must have been released between 15 March 2016 and 15 March 2017.
Candidates for the Opinion Article and Investigative Article categories can only apply on an individual basis. Candidates for the Audiovisual News Report category must either be the report’s director or the producer and may apply on an individual basis or jointly (director and producer).
The winner in each of the three categories will be awarded €10,000.
All rules and conditions of the contest are available on the website:
Registration closes on 10 April 2017.
For more information:
+32 496 129539