The Editor-in-Chief of Al Dustour
, the daily newspaper in Egypt, has been named the recipient of the 2008 Gebran Tueni Award, the annual prize of the World Association of Newspapers
that honors an editor or publisher in the Arab region. Ibrahim Essa
is recognized for his “commitment to freedom of the press, his courage, leadership, ambition and high managerial and professional standards,” and will receive the award at the 3rd Arab Free Press Forum
, to be held in Beirut next week.
The prize is in memory of Gebran Tueni, the Lebanese publisher and WAN Board Member who was killed by a car bomb in Beirut in December 2005.Essa said he was honored by the award associated with Tueni and WAN, because of their defense of press freedom in the Arab world and beyond, which gives the “kiss of life” to writers in Arab countries who face a “suffocated” press.
Al Dustour was founded in 1995 and closed by Egyptian authorities from 1998-2005 after it published a letter from a militant group. When the paper resumed publishing with its 30 journalists, it had a circulation of 50,000, and is now at 120,000, due “in large part because of Essa’s leadership,” according to WAN.
Essa has faced several attempts of censorship, indictments and court cases at his post, including prison sentences and fines for “general security disturbance,” “defaming the president,” “insulting the president” and “spreading false rumors.”
Despite the setbacks, Essa remains “determined to provide professional and quality coverage of events.”
The award by the international organization carries a €10,000 scholarship for “advanced newspaper leadership training.”