Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Foreign Press Association Media Awards 2005

Iranian investigative journalist, Akbar Ganji became the first recipient of the "Dialogue of Cultures Award" the Foreign Press Association in London on 29th November.

Also present were leading politicians, celebrities and media personalities including Jack Straw, who gave the keynote speech, Dr Muhammad Abdulghaffar, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Baroness Boothroyd; Sir Bob Geldof; human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger; broadcaster Sue MacGregor; Antonella Notari, global spokeswoman for the ICRC; Lord Owen and FPA external judges Sir Simon Jenkins, and Stewart Purvis.

Guests and Awards nominees were welcomed by Annalisa Piras, President of the Foreign Press Association and correspondent for LA7 TV, Italy and by Nazenin Ansari, Vice President of the Foreign Press Association, Chair of the FPA Media Awards and Diplomatic Correspondent for the Iranian newspaper Kayhan (London).

Statement issued by Mrs. Massoumeh Shafiei, wife of Akbar Ganji on the occasion of
Akbar Ganji receiving the first A Dialogue of Cultures Award from The Foreign Presss Association in London
29th November 2005

"I sincerely thank the Foreign Press Association in London for having chosen Mr. Ganji as the first recipient of the Dialogue of Cultures Award.

International support such as this for the rights that Mr. Ganji has lost is without a doubt extremely helpful. Clearly were it not for the support of the international community, the regime in Tehran would have forced him to vanish without a trace and then disposed of him.

At a time when my husband is in solitary confinement and is denied access to the outside world, this award strengthens and bolsters his resolve, enlivens his spirit and gives us moral boost.

One important point that I should emphasize and draw your attention to is that awards such as this do not belong to Ganji but to all free thinkers and dissidents in the prisons of the regime in Tehran who are living in desperate conditions.

Ganji represents one these political prisoners. Others include Dr. Soltani, Amir Entezam, Tabarzadi, Zarafshan, Massoud Bastani, the Mohammadi brothers, all the students in jail and others whom I have forgotten or do not know their names. I hope they are all set free."

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