CPJ names detained photojournalist Shawkan for 2016 press award

Amira El-Fekki
2 Min Read
Abou Zeid, commonly known as Shawkan, is suffering from Hepatitis-C, according to his mother. She said that, whilst the 27-year-old suffered from the disease prior to his detention, he has been denied appropriate medical treatment. (Photo Courtesy of Official Freedom for Shawkan Campaign page.)

By Amira El-Fekki

Detained photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid ‘Shawkan’ will be honoured by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in November, as one of four award winners of the International Press Freedom award.

CPJ announced Monday the names of three other awardees as Malini Subramaniam, a freelance journalist from India, Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily ‘Cumhuriyet’, and Óscar Martínez, an investigative reporter for the online newsmagazine El Faro in El Salvador.

“The committee has selected journalists who have been targeted or penalised due to their work and the topics they cover. These four brave journalists have risked their freedom and their lives to report to their societies and the global community about critical news events,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “CPJ is delighted to honour these journalists who, in the face of repression and violence, continue to bring us vital news.”

Christiane Amanpour, the chief international correspondent at CNN, will receive the organisation’s Burton Benjamin Memorial Award.

Shawkan was detained on 14 August 2013 and has been held in prison ever since, without ever receiving a formal sentence by a court. He was covering the security dispersal of pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters in Rabaa Al-Adaweya.

Shawkan spent his first two years in pre-trial detention. A trial is ongoing in which he is co-defendant to more than 700 others, none of whom are reporters.

It is unclear whether Shawkan would be able to attend the awards ceremony. Authorities have refused to release him despite proof that he was on the job and numerous calls by the local Press Syndicate and community of rights and freedom defenders, as well as international press and human rights organisations, advocating for his release.

In June, Shawkan received the annual John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award.


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Journalist in DNE's politics section, focusing on human rights, laws and legislations, press freedom, among other local political issues.
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