Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

An imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist who was arrested in a crackdown on the media in September 2001 and was known for his critical and insightful reporting has won a prestigious United Nations prize dedicated to promoting press freedom.

An independent international jury of media professionals recommended unanimously Dawit Isaak in recognition of his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017.

Mr. Isaak has spent nearly 16 years in jail, without charge or trial.

A playwright, journalist and writer, Mr. Isaak moved in 1987 to Sweden, where he later became a citizen and went into self-imposed exile. After the independence of Eritrea, he returned to his homeland to become one of the founders and reporters of Setit, the first independent newspaper in the country. He was known for his critical and insightful reporting.

The $25,000 Prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogotá, on 17 December 1986. It is funded by the Cano Foundation (Colombia) and the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland).

Year Recipient Country
2017 Dawit Isaak Sweden/Eritrea
2016 Khadija Ismayilova Azerbaijan
2015 Mazen Darwish Syria
2014 Ahmet Şık Turkey
2013 Reeyot Alemu Ethiopia
2012 Eynulla Fatullayev Azerbaijan[1]
2011 Ahmad Zeidabadi Iran
2010 Mónica González Mujica Chile
2009 Lasantha Wickrematunge Sri Lanka (posthumous award)
2008 Lydia Cacho Ribeiro Mexico
2007 Anna Politkovskaya Russia (posthumous award)
2006 May Chidiac Lebanon
2005 Cheng Yizhong China
2004 Raúl Rivero Cuba
2003 Amira Hass Israel
2002 Geoffrey Nyarota Zimbabwe
2001 Win Tin Myanmar
2000 Nizar Nayyouf Syria
1999 Jesús Blancornelas Mexico
1998 Christina Anyanwu Nigeria
1997 Gao Yu China