2019 Free Press Awards holds Thursday, finalists unveiled

Free Press Awards, Netherlands

The 2019 edition of Free Press Awards organised by Free Press Unlimited, a nonprofit organisation based in the Netherlands, will hold on Thursday, October 31st.

Journalists with a strong commitment to press freedom and independent information will be awarded at the award gala scheduled to hold at the De Nieuwe Regentes, Hague, The Netherlands.

The award will also highlight the importance of safety for journalists and the need to end impunity for crimes against journalists.

The categories of the award to be given out include Newcomer of the Year and Most Resilient Journalist of the year.

Prizes include a media scholarship for the Newcomer of the year and EUR15,000 (US$16,770) for the Most Resilient Journalist. Both winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Netherlands.

Most Resilient Journalist Award will be given to a journalist or media professional who has shown extraordinary courage and perseverance to bring the news. The finalists for the award include;

  1. Amira Al-Sharif, pic by Huda Al-SharifOver the past 17 years, Yemeni photographer Amira Al-Sharif has portrayed the beauty and suffering of her beloved country. Last year, she was arrested several times while working on visual stories from the front lines of the war. Here she recorded how hunger and disease affected cities and the countryside. After her camera was seized repeatedly, Al-Sharif fled from Yemen to Tanzania and then to Lebanon to ensure that these stories could reach international media. Before she received an art residency at Cité Internationale des arts in Paris this fall, she participated in the 6×6 Global Talent Program of the World Press Photo Foundation. She published the stories she fought for in National Geographic , The Guardian and others and The Washington Post.
  2. Ali ArkadyAli Arkady is a photojournalist and filmmaker from Knahaqin, Iraq. Ali’s work is aimed at wounded and disabled Iraqis during wartime, as well as the daily life of his countrymen. He made intimate work on the fate of the Yazidis after their expulsion by ISIS. In 2016, Arkady documented evidence of war crimes while reporting on Iraqi troops in the battle for Mosul. After recording torture and murder, Arkady and his family received death threats with the aim of preventing him from publishing the stories. Arkady had to flee Iraq with his wife and two children, knowing that the publication of his work would make it unsafe for him to return someday. He has since moved from apartment to apartment in Europe to stay safe.
  3. Momen FaizMomen Faiz is a photojournalist from Gaza, Palestine. Since 2005 he has been recording images of news events, war and daily life in Gaza. Faiz was shot at by Israeli warplanes in 2008. As a result of his injuries, both his legs were amputated. Faiz returned to his beloved profession in a wheelchair. In 2012 and 2014 he recorded wars between Israel and Gaza, and in 2018 the Great March of Return and border protests in Gaza. Faiz’s work has appeared in publications such as Time, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Le Point and Al Jazeera English. In 2013, Faiz won a prize for ‘Best Human Story’ from the Doha Center for Media Freedom.

The Newcomer of the Year-Hans Verploeg Award will be presented to a new, talented journalist who has delivered strong performances with his or her reporting. The finalists for the award include;

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  1. Elias HuuhtanenElias Huuhtanen (24) is a freelance journalist from southern Finland. He is currently studying Law and European Legal Studies at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, where he moved to in 2016. Huuhtanen’s investigative journalism led to the discovery of the first video evidence of armoured vehicles made in Finland, some equipped with Russian heavy weapons, used in the civil war in Yemen. He has also written extensively about loopholes in EU legislation on biofuels. Before moving to the UK, Huuhtanen completed military service as a parachutist and worked in Iceland and Greenland as a chief and freelance journalist.
  2. Vino LuceroThe Filipino Vino Lucero (25) makes investigative journalism and data stories for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. He examines issues of social importance such as public access to information, President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, national elections, child and women’s issues and transparency. Lucero is the youngest investigative journalist mentioned in the ‘Oust Duterte’ matrix; a network of journalists and civil society people who are accused of wanting to dismiss the Filipino president. The matrix was published in a local newspaper owned by someone appointed by Duterte and endorsed by a spokesperson for the president. Members from Duterte’s cabinet renounced the matrix.
  3. Andersson BoscánAndersson Boscán (27) is an Ecuadorian-Venezuelan investigative journalist. He is the co-founder of La Posta, the largest digital media platform in Ecuador with almost 4 million monthly visitors. La Posta publishes transnational investigations and brings humorous news to millennials. Boscán is currently studying journalism at the Universidad Ecotec in Ecuador. Because of his work, he has been prosecuted in seven cases in the past two years or asked to appear as a witness. Boscán won an Eugenio Espejo journalism prize in 2018 for his research into Ecuadorian vice-president Jorge Glas, currently in prison.

The Best Report Award will be awarded to the maker of the best foreign report that was created with the support of the Postcode Loterij Fonds for journalists. The finalists for the award include;

  1. Hadas Itzkovitch and Anya from LitIn 2018, photography duo Hadas Itzkovitch and Anya van Lit went to South Africa in search of interracial, mixed couples. During apartheid, relationships between people of different races were prohibited by the “law prohibiting mixed marriages”. In ‘Love Zone South Africa’ the duo portrays ten couples from different generations and backgrounds, in images and words. They tell how the years of segregation have affected all residents of South Africa and their love relationship in particular. The photos and stories are part of the ‘Love Zone’ series, portraits and stories of mixed couples in conflict and former conflict areas in Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and South Africa. Itzkovitch and van Lit are based in Amsterdam. They deal with social issues in their work. The work Mixed love in South Africa: “Rarely is assumed that we are together’, was published by Trouw on March 6, 2019.
  2. Olivier van BeemenOlivier van Beemen is an investigative journalist from Amsterdam. He wrote the book Heineken in Africa: A Multinational Unleashed (2019), about the business practices in Africa of the Dutch brewer. His stories on the same subject were published in, among others, The Guardian, Le Monde, NRC, Follow the Money and De Correspondent. The book, translated into different languages, is the result of six years of research, more than 400 interviews and visits to more than 13 African countries where the Dutch multinational operates. For his research, Van Beemen won the Tegel, the most prestigious prize for journalism in the Netherlands, and was nominated for various other prizes. Earlier in his career, he worked as a correspondent in France for Dutch and Belgian media. The work Promotion girls from Heineken sell beer with their bodies, was published by NRC on March 23, 2018.
  3. Jacqueline MarisJacqueline Maris works as a journalist for the written press and radio and makes cross-media stories. Her work has been rewarded with various national and international prizes. For many years she was a senior reporter for the Foreign Department of VPRO radio. Since 2014 she has her own company, InterZone Media. For the story ‘Deforestation and tough arguments about land’, Jacqueline travelled deep on a scooter through the palm oil plantations of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. There she met farmers who fought to preserve or reclaim their land. At the same time as the written story for Trouw, VPRO’s Bureau Buitenland publisheda radio report. Jacqueline recently worked on a project called ‘Follow the oil & meet the people’, a series of stories about the Keystone XL pipeline. The report Deforestation and tough arguments about land: the shadow side of palm oil, was published by Trouw on March 26, 2018.