In what has been an action-packed WAN-IFRA Congress this week, the annual press freedom award of the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has been presented to Gazeta Wyborcza and the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation in Poland.
The award recognises a news organisation that stands for independence and agains authoritarianism, and stretches back to 1961.
Facing down numerous challenges to deliver independent journalism and reliable coverage, Gazeta Wyborcza established the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation in 2019 to safeguard the publication’s future and strengthen quality reporting in Poland. Its projects have denounced neo-fascist organisations, fought disinformation, polarisation, and xenophobia, and supported local and regional media to produce investigative journalism.
Over the past year, the Foundation has been coordinating critical financial and technical support to Ukrainian colleagues from across Europe following the Russian invasion.
“The deteriorating condition of Polish democracy means that civic engagement is needed now more than ever,” said Joanna Krawczyk, Head of Partnerships at Gazeta Wyborcza and President of the Board of the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation, who accepted the award from King Felipe VI of Spain yesterday.
“The events of recent months and years have shown with full force the scale of the challenges facing our democracies. I thank you for your support, generosity and unity and call on you to be with us, with any media in need in the years to come. We often say nowadays: be brave like Ukrainian journalists, so let’s be brave in our decision not to leave Ukrainian media alone. Let’s not leave any independent media facing oppression alone.”
Additionally, Faith Zaba – Editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, was named 2022 Laureate for Africa, Diana Moukalled – co-Founder of Daraj Media in Lebanon, 2022 Laureate for the Middle East & North Africa region, and Regina “Ging” Reyes – Senior Vice President and Head of Integrated News and Current Affairs Division of ABS-CBN Corporation in the Philippines, 2022 Laureate for Southeast Asia.
WAN-IFRA CEO, Vincent Peyregne, said: “Equality and inclusion in the media are essential for a healthy and representative society. We are happy to welcome our 2022 laureates, Zaba, Moukalled and Reyes to the group of media leaders who play an exceptional role in making a difference in media while contributing to these fundamental ideals.”