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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Journalists from Egypt, Syria, and Yemen Win the 2024 Samir Kassir Award

Wednesday , 05 June 2024

On 4 June 2024, the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon and the Samir Kassir Foundation announced the results of the 19th edition of the Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press, in a ceremony held at the Sursock Palace Gardens, in Beirut. This Award, established and funded by the European Union, is recognized internationally as a flagship prize for press freedom and the most prestigious journalism award in the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf region. Since 2006, the Award ceremony has been held annually to commemorate the anniversary of Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir’s assassination on 2 June 2005 in Beirut, and celebrate his life, his values, and his memory.


The Samir Kassir Award is open to professional journalists from eighteen countries of North Africa, the Middle East, and the Gulf. This year, a record 354 journalists participated in the competition, hailing from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. 114 candidates competed in the Opinion Piece category, 161 in the Investigative Article category, and 79 in the Audiovisual News Report category. The winner in each of the three categories is awarded a prize of €10,000. Each of the short-listed finalists per category receive a €1,000 prize.


The winners of the 2024 Samir Kassir Award are:


- Opinion Piece category: Abdelrahman Elgendy (born in 1995), from Egypt, for his article entitled “Is There Life Before Death?” published on 2 January 2024 in Al Manassa. This article echoes the struggle of expatriates of Arab origins in the West as they advocate for human rights and defend the values they hold dear, squeezed, as per the author, between the oppression of autocratic regimes at home and the racism they encounter in exile.


- Investigative Article category: Hadeel Arja (born in 1985), from Syria, for her investigation entitled “The Shocking Practice of Forced Puberty in Northern Syria’s Camps” published on 15 March 2024 in Daraj Media and Tiny Hands. This report sheds light on one of the most under-reported abuses that girls face in internally displaced people’s camps in Northern Syria: the administration of hormones to speed up menstruation and forced marriages.


- Audio-visual News Report category: Aseel Sariah (born in 1983), from Yemen, for his report entitled “Encroachment on Historic Sites” aired on Yemen Today, with support from Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) on 9 August 2023. The report focuses on illegal encroachment on historic religious sites belonging to different minority denominations in the Yemeni city of Aden.


The Ambassador of the European Union to Lebanon, Sandra De Waele, said: “The European Union established the Samir Kassir Award to honour his life and what he stood for, and to remind ourselves that he paid the ultimate price for doing his job. Far too many journalists have lost their lives on the job or for simply expressing themselves. On this occasion, allow me to pay tribute to the brave men and women that were killed or injured in recent months, to bring us news from Gaza or southern Lebanon. We can never say this enough. Journalists are not a target.”


Malek Mrowa, Acting President of the Samir Kassir Foundation, emphasized that the Samir Kassir Award brings together some of the brightest young men and women of the region “proving their outstanding maturity and awareness, paving the way for a future of tolerance” in spite of the unfolding tragedy that journalists are facing in the region, in Palestine in particular, and the shattered dream of democracy and human rights more globally. Mr. Mrowa paid tribute to the Foundation’s late president, journalist Gisèle Khoury, who chose culture, knowledge, and freedom to fight darkness, ignorance, and repression.


An independent seven-member jury from the Arab League and European Union member states selected the winners. This year’s jury gathered Rima Abdul Malak (France), former Minister of Culture; Iason Athanasiadis (Greece), award winning author and documentary filmmaker; Abdullah Baabood (Oman), visiting professor at the Faculty of International Research and Education, Waseda University in Tokyo; Lars Boering (Netherlands), Director of the European Journalism Centre; Taghreed El Khodary (Palestine), media consultant, producer, and trainer; Rana Khoury (Lebanon), Director of the Agency for Equality and Samir Kassir Foundation’s representative in the jury; and Bayan Al Tall (Jordan), former Director General of Jordan Radio and TV Corporation.


For the fifth time, the Award included the Students’ Prize, which allowed 11 students from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Syria to get prior access to the finalists’ submissions, interact virtually with them, and debate the issues that were highlighted in the articles and reports. Students voted for their favorite submission following the debate and selected Mohammed Abu Shahma, born in 1988, from Palestine for the investigative article entitled “Middlemen Push Up Prices as Gazans Struggle to Survive.” This report uncovers the monopolistic practices that are contributing to the scarcity of basic goods in the Gaza Strip amid the war ongoing since 7 October 2023.


More information about the 2024 edition of the Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press, the winning articles and audio-visual report, as well as biographies, articles and reports of all previous winners are available on the website


The ceremony was broadcast live on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI). It was hosted by journalist Carolina Nassar, a colleague of SKF’s late president Gisèle Khoury on Sky News Arabia, and was viewed by thousands of people across the region on LBCI’s local network, satellite channel worldwide and online on the Award’s social media accounts.


Follow the Samir Kassir Award on social media:

@SamirKassirAward on Facebook and Instagram.

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