Newsletter No 30 22 June 2006
News from the Media Scene:
Egyptian Journalist Awarded First Samir Kassir Award

Egyptian journalist Dina Abdel-Mooti Darwich has been awarded the first Samir Kassir Prize for an article he wrote on brutality against journalists in Egypt. The article was published in the French-language weekly Al Ahram Hebdo on 10 January 2006.

Samir Kassir, one of Lebanon’s leading journalists, was killed by a car bomb on 2 June 2005. He was a vigorous critic of Syria, its Lebanese allies and Syria’s 29-year military and political presence in Lebanon, which ended with the withdrawal of troops in April 2005. Many have accused Syria and Syrian supporters in Lebanon of involvement in Kassir’s murder, a charge they reject.

The prize, established by the Delegation of the European Commission in Lebanon, aims to perpetuate the slain journalist’s memory and his fight for freedom and the rule of law and against obscurantism. It is awarded annually on 2 June, the anniversary of Kassir’s death.

Darwich was granted with the 15,000 euros prize for “the courage of her article in a particularly difficult context.” The jury also “appreciated the quality and rigor of the information treatment as well as the subject pertinence to the theme of rule of law.”

The jury decided not to grant the award for young researchers in the field of press freedom for lack of pertinence and quality among the candidatures. Exceptionally, a second prize (10,000 euros) in the journalism category was awarded to Habib Battah, journalist for the Lebanese Daily Star for an article on corruption during the Lebanese parliamentary elections in 2005.