Members of the International Association of Press Clubs (IAPC) – representatives of dozens of press clubs from around the world – presented the IAPC Freedom of Speech Award 2023 to Andrzej Poczobut and Mortaza Behboudi, two journalists imprisoned by authoritarian regimes.
Andrzej Poczobut is a Polish-Belarusian journalist and human rights defender, imprisoned by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko since March 25, 2021. Recently, in a show and fake trial, he was sentenced to 8 years in a labor camp.
Mortaza Behboudi is a Franco-Afghan war correspondent, investigative journalist and reporter who has been imprisoned by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan since Jan. 7, 2023.
The prison cells of both laureates are separated by 5,000 kilometers. Their situation is different, their background is different, but they have one thing in common – a commitment to free, independent journalism and the defense of free speech. For their journalistic work, exposing violations of freedoms and civil rights, and abuses of power, they pay a high price – loss of freedom.
International journalistic organizations are constantly appealing for the release of Andrzej Poczobut and Mortaz Behboudi and nearly 360 other journalists held in prisons around the world.
The Freedom of Speech Award is presented by the IAPC to persons or organizations for their exceptional contributions to the fight for or in defense of free speech, or creating conditions and supporting efforts promoting freedom of speech. The winner is selected by all the IAPC member press clubs, from over 30 countries. Each of the more than 50 clubs has one vote.
The International Association of Press Clubs (IAPC) was formed in 2002 to uphold the ethics of journalism and free access and distribution of information worldwide. Over 50 member Press Clubs and Foreign Correspondents’ Clubs are from Europe, North America, the Far and Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia. The IAPC also supports thousands of press club members in their work as journalists, both in their own countries and as foreign correspondents. The Association supports numerous organizations active in defense of free speech, media workers’ rights and the maintenance of high ethical standards.