The Austria-based International Press Institute (IPI) has honored the independent bi-weekly Yemen Times with its 2006 Free Media Pioneer Award for “providing accurate and timely news and information and actively participating in efforts to support press freedom, respect for human rights, political pluralism and democracy.”
The annual Free Media Pioneer Award was established by IPI in 1996 to honor individuals or organizations that have fought to ensure freer and more independent media in their country or region. The award is co-sponsored by the US-based Freedom Forum, a non-partisan, international foundation dedicated to free press and free speech.
The award has taken on more significance when Yemeni press has been suffering a crackdown during the past two years with the imprisonment of journalists, abductions, attacks and closure of independent and opposition newspapers.
Raidan Al Saqqaf, member of the Board of Directors and the youngest son of the Yemen Times founder, will receive the award on behalf of the newspaper at the forthcoming IPI World Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland (27-30 May).
The English-language Yemen Times was founded in 1990 by human rights activist Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf who died in a car accident in 1999. He was awarded with the US-Based National Press Club International Award for Freedom of the Press in 1995.
The newspaper remains in the hands of the family. After the pass-away of its founder, his older son Waleed took over the newspaper during six years before he left Yemen in 2005 for training and post-graduate studies. He was succeeded by his sister Nadia, one of the rare examples of a woman at the head of a newspaper in the Arab countries.
Abdulaziz Al Saqqaf also received the posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award during the Middle East Publishers Conference held in Dubai in March this year. The award was given by the three co-organizers of the conference - the International Federation of Periodical Publishers (FIPP), the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and Dubai Consultancy Research and Media Centre.