Azerbaijani journalist Eynulla Fatullayev has won this year’s UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
As a press freedom advocate who was jailed by authorities, Mr. Fatullayev is the former editor-in-chief and founder of the popular independent Russian-language weekly Realny Azerbaijan (Real Azerbaijan) and the Azeri-language daily Gundalik Azarbaycan (Azerbaijan Daily) newspapers.
Reports say Eynulla Fatullayev, 35, was released from prison last year after being imprisoned since 2007 on libel and terrorism charges. He was released by presidential pardon on Azerbaijan’s Republic Day on 26th of May 2011.
The 2012 UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is named in memory of a Colombian newspaper publisher murdered in 1987 for denouncing the activities of powerful drug barons in his country.
In July 2011, he founded the “Public Union for Human Rights,” a non-governmental human rights organization.
According to UNESCO, Mr. Fatullayev has unfailingly and steadfastly spoken out for freedom of the press and freedom of expression throughout his career, he has unfailingly and steadfastly spoken out for freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, created in 1997 by UNESCO’s Executive Board, honours an individual or organization defending or promoting the freedom of expression anywhere in the world, especially if the work puts the person’s life at risk. Candidates are nominated by UN Member States, regional groups or international organizations that work on issues pertaining to freedom of expression.
The award is given out annually on 3 May to coincide with World Press Freedom Day. To mark the tenth anniversary of the Prize, the day will be commemorated in Medellin, Colombia, the hometown of Guillermo Cano, the newspaper publisher for whom the award is named.
To date, the $25,000 Prize has been awarded to May Chidiac of Lebanon in 2006, Cheng Yizhong of China in 2005, Raul Rivero of Cuba in 2004, Amira Hass of Israel in 2003, Geoffrey Nyarota of Zimbabwe in 2002, U Win Tin of Myanmar in 2001, Nizar Nayyouf of Syria in 2000, Jesus Blancornelas of Mexico in 1999, Christina Anyanwu of Nigeria in 1998 and Gao Yu of China in 1997.
In addition, previous recipients of the prize include Ahmad Zeidabadi (Iran, 2011), Monica Gonzalez Mujica (Chile, 2010), Lasantha Wickrematunge (Sri Lanka, 2009), Lydia Cacho (Mexico, 2008) and Anna Politkovskaya (Russia, 2007).