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TuniLeaks and Ibrahim Eissa among Index on Censorship award winners

TuniLeaks won Index's 2011 new media award
TuniLeaks won Index's 2011 new media award

Egypt's most famous independent editor and a website that posted a selection of the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables exposing corruption in Tunisia are among this year's winners of Index on Censorship's 2010 Freedom of Expression Awards. The awards pay tribute to people and organisations around the world that have made outstanding contributions to free expression - often at great personal risk.

TuniLeaks, published by independent blog and parent site, Nawaat, was awarded Index's new media prize.

"This award is very important to us. It is given to us the very year we are celebrating the Tunisian revolution and seven years of our existence as a collective blog, which was censored from its launch by Ben Ali's regime," said Sami Ben Gharbia, co-founder of Nawaat.

Ibrahim Eissa, described as a "one-man barometer of Egypt's struggle for political and civic freedom," previously worked as editor of the newspaper "Al Dostour" until he was fired and had his talk show taken off the air following a crackdown on the media in the lead-up to the parliamentary elections in November 2010.

Accepting the Guardian Journalism award, which recognises determined and brave journalism offering a different point of view, Eissa said, "I consider this to be a prize for Tahrir Square."

At a ceremony on 24 March at the Royal Institution in London, Index also honoured Gao Zhisheng, a self-taught lawyer who has been persecuted by China for speaking out on human rights issues, with the Bindmans Law and Campaigning Award.

Indian artist Maqbool Fida Husain, who has been battling against censorship in his native India and elsewhere for close to 20 years for his depiction of Hindu gods, won the Intelligent Life Arts Award.

And Belarus's 42 prisoners of conscience were awarded a "Special Commendation" by Sir Tom Stoppard. The 42 face up to 15 years in jail for organising a "mass disturbance" on the night of the presidential elections in Belarus in December.

the Index on Censorship website

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