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Turkish journalist Zeynep Oral named recipient of first "IPI Press Freedom Dialogue Award"

(IPI/IFEX) - 10 May 2011 - The International Press Institute (IPI) today named Turkish journalist Zeynep Oral the first recipient of its "IPI Press Freedom Dialogue Award".

The award will be handed over at the "Dialogue For Press Freedom" Dinner & Award Presentation, to be held at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, on 14 June 2011, on the occasion of the IPI Israel-Palestinian Journalists' Forum.*

"We're very pleased to announce Zeynep Oral as the first recipient of the 'IPI Press Freedom Dialogue Award'," said IPI Director Alison Bethel McKenzie. "There could be no more deserving or fitting recipient of this award, which we intend to present annually to a journalist, or journalists, who through their devotion to press freedom and their profession have helped advance dialogue between nations and/or peoples."

Zeynep Oral is the co-founder, together with Margarita Papandreou of Greece, of WINPEACE - the Women's Initiative for Peace, which was founded in January 1996, just after the December 1995 Imia Island Crisis, which brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of a military confrontation involving sovereignty rights in the Aegean Sea. According to its mission statement, WINPEACE's "intention is to sustain solidarity and peace in the region. This is our obligation to our children and to the future. We are conscious and we appreciate the efforts made till now by different groups to flourish the friendship and the humanitarian feelings rooted among Greeks and Turks. Now we appeal to all women in both nations to join hands in this effort to know each other, to develop harmonious relations, to nourish peaceful ideas, to produce non-violent actions. Our aim is to create a network for the de-escalation of tensions and in times of crisis to influence our governments with peaceful interventions."

Born in Istanbul, Zeynep Oral is a graduate of the Ecole Superieure de Journalisme in Paris and the Institut des Etudes Theatrales at Sorbonne University. From 1968-2001, she worked for the Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet as a columnist and theatre critic. In 1972, she founded the Milliyet "Cultural Review", a bi-weekly magazine on arts and culture, of which she was the editor-in-chief until 2001. Since 2001, she has been working as a columnist for the Turkish daily, Cumhuriyet. She is the author of 17 books, which include short stories, essays, biographies and travelogues. Her numerous awards include UNESCO's "Mothers for Peace" prize (2000) and the French Minister of Culture's "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres".

The "Dialogue For Press Freedom" Dinner & Award Presentation, to be held on Tuesday, 14 June, at 19:30, at the Hofburg Palace, will officially open the Israeli-Palestinian Journalists' Forum and will feature several prominent speakers, including, Iveta Radicova, Prime Minister of Slovakia; Michael Spindelegger, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for European and International Affairs; Hanan Ashrawi, Member, Third Way Party, and Member, Palestinian Legislative Council; Yossi Beilin, Former Justice Minister and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Israel; and Janis Karklins, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information for UNESCO.

* Israeli-Palestinian Journalists' Forum:

In the context of its six-decades-old mission to foster peace and understanding by bringing journalists closer together, IPI has invited Israeli and Palestinian journalists from across the political spectrum for dialogue talks in Vienna on 15 and 16 June. The two days of closed sessions will be of an introspective nature, dealing with how journalists in the region report, and the degree to which they are able to report freely and fairly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and peace drives. The journalists will also seek to come up with a list of best practice resolutions to which they can unanimously commit in the form of a declaration, as well as recommendations for governments in the context of their interaction with the media.

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