Two incarcerated Iranian journalists, Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, have been awarded the 2023 WAN-IFRA Golden Pen of Freedom awards at the World News Media Congress held in Taipei, Taiwan.
The awards were announced by the president of the World Editors Forum, Martha Ramos, on Wednesday, 27 June. "Let the press remain free once and for all," she said while announcing the awards.
Hamedi and Mohammadi were among the first journalists to cover the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by Iran's morality police. Her death sparked widespread anti-government protests in the country, leading to countless deaths, human rights violations, and incarcerations.
While Hamedi is a reporter for the Tehran-based Shargh Daily, Mohammadi is a reporter for the newspaper Hammihan. The two – like scores of other journalists arrested by the morality police – continue to remain in Iran's jails for their reporting.
Hamedi was arrested on 22 September 2022, whereas Mohammadi was taken into custody a few days later, on 29 September.
"[Their incarceration] is a desperate attempt to deflect onto two young journalists all the frustration and anger that has risen to the surface because of years of oppression, denial of rights, and control of the narrative."Martha Ramos, while announcing the awards
The award recognises the bravery and determination "of two courageous young women whose journalism kept sight of truth as the Iranian regime attempted to rewrite history," said WAN-IFRA, as per a press release.
The Golden Pen of Freedom is an annual award made by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) to recognise the outstanding action, in writing or deed, of an individual, a group, or an institution in the cause of press freedom, the association's website reads.